Defence secretary Dr Liam Fox commented on the letter, published in the Telegraph, where military chiefs criticised the SDSR's cuts:
"We have the right military assets in place to assist the Foreign Office led evacuation of British nationals from Libya. That work continues with Hercules C-130 aircraft having lifted 51 UK citizens to safety yesterday with more than 100 on their way to Malta on HMS Cumberland.
"None of our allies have seen fit to position an aircraft carrier off the coast of Libya as this is not the tool required for this task; there is no requirement for ground attack aircraft, but even if there were we would use our extensive regional basing and over flight rights.
"Difficult decisions had to be taken to tackle the £38 billion deficit left by Labour at the MoD and the SDSR will not be reopened.
"For our future carrier strike capability, it makes strategic sense to move towards greater inter-operability with the US and France and installing catapult and arrestor gear will deliver this. Sustaining both Tornado and Harrier would be prohibitively expensive in this current economic climate and Tornado continues to provide vital support to the frontline in Afghanistan."