'Budgetary constraints' cause concern for 2014 Afghan operations

The National Audit Office said there would be some "critical gaps" in air-to-air refuelling and tactical air transport until 2017, and a one-third shortfall in the MoD's stated requirement for tactical air transport aircraft after 2022.

The delays in introducing the new aircraft and budgetary constraints have caused critical shortfalls in some capability areas.

This is particularly apparent up to the end of UK combat operations in Afghanistan in 2014, when both air transport and refuelling aircraft will be extremely busy, but also from 2022 for air transport, when the Hercules C130J aircraft goes out of service early.

– National Audit Office

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MoD warned over 'shortfalls'

The armed forces are facing "critical shortfalls" in air transport and air-to-air refuelling capabilities because of delays in delivering new aircraft, the Whitehall spending watchdog has warned.