HC Deb 27 April 1982 vol 22 c710
5. Mr. Neil Thorne

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he is satisfied that wherever necessary the Armed Forces are able to communicate world-wide without unreasonable delay.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces (Mr. Jerry Wiggin)

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Thorne

Given the importance of long-haul communications—whether by satellite or high frequency systems—to any country with world-wide responsibilities, will my hon. Friend ensure that, in considering whether we need to continue to rely on American satellites, proper credit is given to the enormous potential of both the British Marconi and Plessey communications systems?

Mr. Wiggin

My hon. Friend's views have been noted. Wisely, he has been in correspondence with my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Defence Procurement. We shall bear that point in mind.

Dr. McDonald

When does the Minister expect the British defence satellite to come into operation?

Mr. Wiggin

It is not customary to give details of such operational matters.