HC Deb 13 December 1999 vol 341 c31W
Mr. Jim Murphy

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on progress in fitting satellite television facilities on Royal Navy ships. [102343]

Mr. Spellar

The majority of the RN's major warships are currently fitted with conventional domestic satellite equipment which provides reception while in harbour in European waters. To allow reception while at sea, two of the aircraft carriers, HMS Invincible and HMS Illustrious, have been fitted with a gyro-stabilised satellite television dish. This type of dish will be also fitted to the third aircraft carrier, HMS Ark Royal, during her current refit at Rosyth. As there is no room to fit these dishes on the remaining major warships, an alternative system, which utilises existing satellite communications equipment, is currently being trialled. This system would allow the ship's crews to see broadcasts within about 12 hours of transmission. If the trials are successful, we plan to commence installation on board the major warships.

The minor war vessels receive terrestrial television, and there are currently no plans to enhance this facility to include satellite television.