Ireland’s lack of an independent, strategic airlift capability has been well known for decades but has been particularly evident in the last 18 months. No self-respecting state of our size, particularly an island nation, would allow this situation to occur. Chartering commercial aircraft at short notice, on an ad hoc basis, multiple times a year, is costing the Taxpayer a fortune. These commercial aircraft are rarely available when you need them most and will not fly into contested airspace. It’s high time Ireland had its own military air transport capability rather than constantly begging for lifts off other armed forces. Developed nation-states like ours should not be reduced to the sovereign equivalent of hitchhiking around the globe.