I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 25 March 2009, Official Report, column 424W. The UK currently supplements the NATO ISAF Contracted Air Transport with a national contract through SkyLink Aviation.
The figure of 15,680 flying hours related to the period 1 April 2008 to 31 January 2009 and was achieved by a total of 23 Hercules C-130J aircraft.
The Department has had limited discussions with Lockheed Martin Aerospace, without commitment, in relation to possible scope for lease or purchase of additional C-130J aircraft. The discussions are part of wider continuing work to assess all possible options for the temporary mitigation of the capability gap caused by the delay to A400M.
The Department undertakes regular analysis of its key suppliers. These analyses are generally done to ensure financial adequacy at a group level rather than for specific projects or contracts, and do not cover precise sources of funding. They are Departmental interpretations of publicly held financial information (e.g. a company’s published accounts).