Funny you say that, I saw a banner advert for 'Paras' when I was checking my email earlier. Turns out, it was for the RAF regiment. It always make me chuckle to think that some of the security guards are parachute trained.
For the carrier thing, why spend £6bn on a half-arsed ski ramp thing that can only fly jumpjets, and spend loads more getting the F35 JSF in a jump jet set-up, when we could just build a proper carrier and stuff it full of FA-18 Super Hornets and F-15 Eagles from the Americans, for probably alot cheaper? More bang for the bucks. I was reading something written by an Argentine Admiral, and he said if we'd still had the carriers we had in the Seventies (flying, I think, F4 Phantoms) at the time of the Falklands, they wouldn't even have invaded.
We've used "Off the shelf" US aircraft before such as Phantoms, Wessex, Seaking, Whirlwind, then there's the land-based aircraft such as the Apache, Chinook, Hercules, the current AWACS, Tristars, together with loads of WWII stuff such as Buffalos.
There's a lot to it though and whenever you use overseas technology you can be held to ransom. The UK built two Type 42 Destroyers for Argentina for example- guess who had snags getting the bits to fix them?
Yeah, but anything we build today, such as aircraft carriers and aircaft ends up as a Euro-collaboration, with quite a few different European partners, and is still stuffed full of tech we have to buy from the Americans (and usually ends up costing anything from double the price upwards of what we would've payed buying it straight from the Americans, and more likely than not doesen't work half as well)! So not only are we giving the Americans a veto on how we use the stuff, we're also giving our Euro partners a veto (French, Germans, Spanish etc). Foreign policy wise, who're we more likely to go along with, the Americans, or the various European states we've had to partner with?
We probably did ourselves a big favour selling those Type 42's to the Argentinians! They might have spent the millions on something useful, like infantry, A4 Skyhawks, or even Exocets. In the Falklands, didn't we just use the Type 42's as big, multi-million pound missile and bomb traps? Surely there's cheaper ships to use as sandbags?
Sorry if I come off a bit 'uppity', Ninja. I realise you've got a lot more first-hand experience of this than me.