The Prime Minister insisted ministers were not "hiding behind civil servants" when major projects went wrong and suggested that the buck stopped with him.
Last week, the Herald revealed that officials had been given just hours to calculate the cost of changing the type of plane that will fly from the carriers. It followed a damning report by MPs which said "basic errors" were made when ministers decided to change the type of plane.
Mr Cameron's comments came as he was grilled by MPs on the Commons Liaison Committee. On the aircraft carriers, Mr Cameron said: "I take full responsibility for that in the end."
He admitted that the U-turn was "awkward politically" but he said his attitude was to "take the pain".