Written evidence submitted by the Ministry of Defence


While it is true that the number of airframes across the Air Mobility Force will reduce, it has always been the role of the Defence Support Chain Operations and Movements (DSCOM) to undertake Strategic Lift planning not only with in house assets like the RAF Air Mobility Force and the Strategic Sealift but also through international agencies and agreements, such as the Multinational Co-ordination Centre Europe (MCCE).


It is essential that effective movement planning and preparation takes place at the earliest opportunity to identify all relevant considerations. The complexities associated with the multitude of Defence organisations and establishments, coupled with the intricacies of the supply chain process, demand that key factors must be identified and addressed if the movement of materiel from consignor to consignee is to be executed as planned. 


While Air Freight provides speed and reach, it is also often the most expensive option.  Therefore, DSCOM and all MOD logistic elements undertake routine careful planning on logistic timescales and cost, as to whether prioritisation with other forms of surface or sea transportation or pre-positioning, noting their greater timescales but lessor cost, provide the desired logistical requirements.


In terms of the Indo-Pacific region, the C-17 and Voyager offer the greatest range to reach that region in the most efficient manner.  It has often been the case that Hercules has operated in shorter range tactical roles, often as a hub and spoke linking with the Strategic Intercontinental advantages of C-17 and Voyager or military sealift.  That would form a major part of DSCOM planning.  Atlas has already proved adept at this, it proved this capability in Op PITTING Kabul, and numerous humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in the Caribbean, Indonesia and Turkey.


Turning to parachuting, early retirement of the C-130J Hercules in June 2023 required the acceptance of some capability gaps. However, we have accelerated delivery of several key capabilities that are now due in service up to 5 years earlier than the originally planned.  I can confirm Atlas is cleared for high altitude personnel parachuting ready for Hercules C130J retirement in June 2023. Low Level personnel parachuting trials remain on-going, but we expect an initial clearance later this month, and ahead of Hercules leaving service.





2nd June 2023