§ Mr. Clifton-Brown
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for further orders for military communications satellites. 
§ Mr. Arbuthnot
Subject to the successful completion of contractual negotiations, we intend to place an order worth more than £100 million Matra Marconi Space UK Ltd., for a third Skynet 4 stage 2 communications satellite. The stage 2 satellites will start coming into service from 1998. The Skynet 4 stage 2 programme will enable us to maintain dedicated satellite communications into the next century for British forces deployed throughout the world, in theatres as diverse as Bosnia, the middle east and the Falkland Islands. Such a capability is of great importance to mobile operations, including those of the joint rapid deployment force, where military units may be in range of reliable terrestrial communications. The planned order will also provide substantial further work for the British space industry.