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MINISTRY OF DEFENCE 141/95 December 7, 1995 MOD TO ORDER A THIRD MILITARY COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE James Arbuthnot, Minister of State for Defence Procurement, announced today that the Ministry of Defence intends to order a third SKYNET 4 Stage 2 communications satellite, subject to the completion of contractual negotiations with Matra Marconi Space UK Ltd(MMS). Replying to a written Parliamentary Question from Geoffrey Clifton- Brown MP (Cirencester & Tewkesbury), Mr Arbuthnot said: "Subject to the successful completion of contractual negotiations, we intend to place an order worth more than #100m with 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 not be in range of reliable terrestrial communications. The planned order will also provide substantial further work for the British Space Industry." NOTE TO EDITORS: Military satellite communications are the core of communications networks deployed for land, sea and air forces. We must maintain this capability in order to provide effective support to British forces engaged in a wide range of military operations throughout the world. Two SKYNET 4 Stage 2 communications satellites are already on order to replace existing SKYNET 4 Stage 1 satellites. Subject to a satisfactory conclusion of contractual negotiations with Matra Marconi Space UK Ltd (expected to be completed by the end of this year), the Ministry of Defence intends to place an order for a third Stage 2 satellite worth over #100m. This order will be added to the existing firm price contract (worth some #300m) for the first two Stage 2 satellites already under construction at MMS. It is intended that MMS will be the Prime Contractor responsible for both the production and the launch of the satellite. SKYNET 4 Stage 2 satellites will begin to enter service from 1998. In-service date of 3rd satellite expected to be early 2000. These will replace the three Stage 1 satellites, occupying the same geostationary orbits. Improvements in Stage 2 satellites include increased power in communications channels. The SKYNET 4 Stage 2 programme will maintain, into the next century, the required levels of availability and coverage in areas of the world where UK forces are liable to be deployed. A third SKYNET 4 Stage 2 satellite is assessed to be the most cost effective means of meeting the requirement. # = pounds sterling