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Strategic Lift Capability

Volume 407: debated on Friday 20 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if the Government will make assessment of (a) the risks of relying on the ready availability of civilian strategic lift assets and (b) the possibility of arrangements with civilian suppliers to guarantee strategic lift capacity during times of crisis; and if he will make a statement. [110556]

Strategic air and sealift capability is examined annually by the Department as part of a wider assessment of logistic capabilities. This represents a thorough risk assessment process. The current assessment confirms the benefits of recent major investments in both C-17 aircraft and RoRo shipping, both of which provided strategic lift in support of operations in Iraq.To supplement military lift capability, the Department also has enabling contracts in place with commercial brokers for airlift charter that can be activated at very short notice, as and when required. These arrangements proved to be highly effective during operations in Iraq. Contracts for strategic sealift can also be activated rapidly.