HC Deb 23 February 1982 vol 18 c738
9. Mr. Michael Marshall

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will set out his Department's responsibilities for the defence aspects of the United Kingdom's space policy.

Mr. Pattie

My Department is responsible for military space requirements, which are, wherever possible, formulated in co-operation with our NATO allies, and for assessing the military implications of developments in space technology. This covers a wide spectrum of activities, including in particular communications and navigation technology. My Department is represented on the inter-departmental committee on space, chaired by my hon. Friend the Minister for Industry and Information Technology.

Mr. Marshall

While thanking my hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask whether he agrees that part of his defence policy has been to bring together British Aerospace and Marconi in the placing of the all-British defence satellite, worth about £55 million? Looking to the future, will he confirm that he hopes that it will have some beneficial and continuing effect in getting a share of NATO defence satellites?

Mr. Pattie

My hon. Friend is right to draw the attention of the House once again to another example of co-operation between those two major British companies. He is also right to say that itwill enhance our prospects of further opportunities in NATO and elsewhere.

Mr. Alan Clark

Does my hon. Friend agree that if we are to have a genuinely independent strategic deterrent system we shall require satellites for own own targeting? In view of the disputations and uncertainties at present surrounding the successor system, should he not take at least prelinlinary steps to set this in train?

Mr. Pattie

I do not think that that arises directly out of the question about Ministry of Defence space involvement, but I shall be happy to debate it outside with my hon. Friend.

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