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UK is looking to build its own version of GPS upon exit from European Union

By Greg S · 18 replies
Aug 27, 2018
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  1. As Britain continues negotiations to finalize its exit from the European Union, the small details are pointing to massive amounts of work. This time, the UK has learned that it will not have access to the EU's 10 billion euro "Galileo" satellite network being used as a highly accurate alternative to GPS.

    Finance minister Philip Hammond has issued approval for 100 million pounds to be spent on investigating the creation of a new satellite network to service the UK. Although consumer-grade positioning capabilities are available worldwide from the United States, Russia, and now the EU, the most accurate position data runs through encrypted channels and is only available to militaries.

    Standard positioning data is only accurate to within several feet. In many cases, a 10-foot radius is the best available estimate of your exact location. For navigation and routing of vehicles, this is accurate enough. Military grade systems have been shown to pinpoint locations within mere inches of a target to ensure that weapons land precisely.

    Britain has now been excluded from future work deemed sensitive in nature on the Galileo project by the European Commission. Galileo originally started in 2003 and is set for completion by 2020.

    It is believed that it will cost Britain approximately 3 billion pounds to build a comparable system. Should Britain actually go through with building its own satellite network, it will demand 1 billion pounds back from the EU for the work it has contributed to Galileo.

    The UK has until March 29, 2019 at 11pm local time to work out any remaining disputes with the EU. At that time, the British will officially leave the European Union.

    Permalink to story.

  2. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,586   +2,305

    This is complete nonsense. Military GPS is just as accurate and the UK has enjoyed full access to it for 20+ years. There's a lot more to this story than we're being told.
    Lounds, Reehahs and jobeard like this.
  3. Vulcanproject

    Vulcanproject TS Evangelist Posts: 672   +897

    It is true the UK spent a big chunk of money on the Galileo system alongside mostly NATO allies only for Europe to get huffy about it and deny full unconditional access on the basis of the UK leaving the EU.

    It's incredible considering that in Europe, the UK's military equipment and ultimate potential is mostly better than the majority of other countries. They have access to nuclear weapons on SSBNs (which will definitely be renewed for the next half century) and have two brand new, near complete super carriers that will host 5th gen fighters for the next few decades. Only France's capabilities at this highest most expensive level are comparable.

    And Europe/NATO partners think shutting the UK out is a smart strategic move for the region? It seems to be done more out of spite than common sense. Luckily building your own network gets relatively cheaper to do every year, as the general technology improves and launches by private companies decrease the cost
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2018
    Reehahs, Hexic, Burty117 and 2 others like this.
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,674   +1,478

    [A] It takes more than just ONE satellite -- GPS Satellite Constellation: The baseline satellite constellation consists of 24 satellites positioned in six earth-centered orbital planes with four operation satellites and a spare satellite slot in each orbital plane.

    {b} The Global Positioning System (GPS), originally Navstar GPS, is a satellite-based radionavigation system owned by the United States government and operated by the United States Air Force, Not the EU nor the UK.

    So unless the UK is planning for a military attack - - WHO Gives A HOOT! There's certainly no imperative to create another system.
    Lounds, Reehahs and TempleOrion like this.
  5. bandit8623

    bandit8623 TS Addict Posts: 143   +52

    I think you missread. they are losing access to the military side of the gps because of leaving the union.

    and the article states that military gps is much more accurate than civilian.
    TempleOrion likes this.
  6. FF222

    FF222 TS Addict Posts: 158   +95

    By the time this will be completed, the UK has already begged their way back into the EU, on all four.
    TempleOrion likes this.
  7. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,208   +4,876

    That is the case with all topics.
  8. fimbles

    fimbles TS Evangelist Posts: 1,194   +209

    This wont be happening. Unemployment is at the lowest level for years, Immigration is dropping.
    Nice to be in charge of our own laws again, Good luck dropping your USSR era bombs on each other with your fancy satellites.
  9. Bubbajim

    Bubbajim TechSpot Staff Posts: 616   +588

    The EU is not "getting huffy" with us, nor are they "shutting [us] out". People seem to believe that the Leave vote meant we'd get out of a bunch of EU-imposed responsibilities, but keep a bunch of EU-based privileges.

    Also conflating the EU and NATO isn't particularly helpful because they're not the same thing. The only issues with NATO at the moment are (a) Trump being bellicose, (b) Putin being aggressive, (c) NATO not knowing how to respond to either.

    The UK's military capabilities are nothing to do with this decision on GPS.
    Reehahs and TempleOrion like this.
  10. SirCanealot

    SirCanealot TS Rookie

    Except the unemployment figures are basically a complete misuse of statistics with moved goalposts and immigration dropping is already negatively affecting things like the NHS and service industry because we rely on immigration. No idea about our laws: what EU are you first looking forward to getting rid of?
    TempleOrion likes this.
  11. Vulcanproject

    Vulcanproject TS Evangelist Posts: 672   +897

    Your first serious mistake in the context of this system is NOT conflating the EU with NATO's interests in Europe. Of the 28 members of the EU, only 5 aren't fully paid up members of NATO. Those are all either historically non aligned or militarily insignificant.

    The system offers obvious commercial and economical benefits. But the truth is fundamentally just like GPS it was developed and exists for the military. Independent access to a satellite navigation system that cannot just be turned off by one other nation.

    It is not about being cut out of the commercial side, because the UK wasn't going to be. It was the simple fact you cannot operate a modern advanced military force without this capability. This is precisely the reason why the UK would be willing to build and operate their own system despite the cost. It is that serious a deal and why Russia and China have built their own systems.

    Something like 1/6 of the cost of the entire system for the 28 states has been shouldered by the UK, a huge chunk of the pie because they understood this importance. Considering this significant outlay it is completely unacceptable that the UK would only have restricted access to the system whereas another small state with limited contributions to the security of Europe with NATO that paid peanuts has full access!

    It is in the best interests of the EU and especially NATO in Europe to come to an agreement to sort it out.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2018
    fimbles likes this.
  12. gamerk2

    gamerk2 TS Addict Posts: 204   +126

    The UK has gone from the fastest growing European economy, to the slowest. Economic growth is mostly flat, and you already see manufacturing bailing. The UK is going to regret it's decision in VERY short order.
    TempleOrion likes this.
  13. ChrisH1

    ChrisH1 TS Addict Posts: 130   +67

    Seems to me that there should be some sort of compromise available that would be intermediate in cost, e.g. they keep access to it but have to pay something. It's not like brexit means Britain is physically no longer in Europe, there would be military advantages to having everything still co-ordinated.
    TempleOrion likes this.
  14. FF222

    FF222 TS Addict Posts: 158   +95

    You realize the UK didn't even leave the EU yet, don't you? Let's get back to the state of the UK a year after they've actually left. I doubt you'll have *anything* to cheer about.
  15. fimbles

    fimbles TS Evangelist Posts: 1,194   +209

    Funny how the prime minister is off making trade deals with africa this week......The mood in the UK at the moment is very much " Hard brexit" Its what the people voted for and what will be delivered. They said the UK would be on its kness after the original vote, Yet after a dip in the value of the pound, We bounced back and have continued to do so. Any businesses have had 12 months notice of what is about to occur yet are still here. I am not worried.

    You do realise it cost us £252 million a week in 2016 to stay in the Eu with only us and germany footing most of the bill of 28 nations? And we have PAID an estimated half a trillion ponds since we joined in the 70s.. I am really really not worried.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2018
  16. Bubbajim

    Bubbajim TechSpot Staff Posts: 616   +588

    The Pound is also weaker than it's been since the mid-1980s, inflation is up which has led to interest rate changes that'll make millions of people poorer (given the £300 billion of consumer debt), staff shortages are already looming in key industries, immigration is mainly down from EU countries rather than non-EU countries so it's the generally more skilled labour we're losing, not unskilled. We've also already lost a ton of credibility and clout on the international stage, we're on the verge of an Irish crisis if the border question isn't solved, our own Brexit minister has talked about having to stockpile food and medicine, and, as this article sets out, we're being left out of massive scientific and engineering projects even if we were instrumental in their conception. And all this before we've even left the Union.

    Which EU laws would you like to repeal to make all of the above worthwhile?
  17. FF222

    FF222 TS Addict Posts: 158   +95

    How many times do you need to be told that the Brexit did't happen yet, until you get a grasp on that? Anything you say _is now_ is irrelevant to what _will be_, once the Brexit actually happens.

    No, that was not what it "cost" the UK to be part of the EU. The UK might have paid hundreds of million of pounds into the EU budget, but in return, millions of UK businesses gained free trade, could export their products and services without being subject to import taxes in all the 28 nations - therefore generating billions of pounds of revenue, and hundreds of millions in taxes, they paid to the UK government.

    So, all in all, being part of the EU did not only not cost anything for the UK, but resulted in actually a net gain - which will be gone with the Brexit.
    Bubbajim likes this.
  18. fimbles

    fimbles TS Evangelist Posts: 1,194   +209

    We sell a lot of stuff abroad. But we import more. There is a persistent deficit in our balance of trade. Actually it's a deficit in goods, partly offset by a smaller surplus on trade in services.

    • The UK had an overall trade deficit of -£67 billion with the EU in 2017. A surplus of £28 billion on trade in services was outweighed by a deficit of -£95 billion on trade in goods.
    • The UK had a trade surplus of £41 billion with non-EU countries. A surplus of £83 billion on trade in services outweighed a deficit of -£42 billion on trade in goods.
    Sources: Uk government : https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7851
    OEC: https://atlas.media.mit.edu/en/
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2018
  19. Bubbajim

    Bubbajim TechSpot Staff Posts: 616   +588

    I disagree with your interpretation of these statistics that you're using here. This situation won't be improved by leaving the EU, the deficit will become worse. We won't suddenly not want all the products that we've been used to, so we'll still get them though likely at higher costs, but our exports will be much less cost-effective for the rest of the EU, so we'll export less. The trade deficit will worsen.

    As for services, the thing that buoys us up at the moment, at best the situation stays the same if we can agree with the EU to keep matching regulatory frameworks, as a medium option there may be some barriers to trade that make the situation only slightly worse, but the worst case scenario is that the service firms (particularly financial services) just relocate because they can do business anywhere, and we lose out on billions from loss of the businesses, and losses of jobs. So at best this is neutral, at worst it's pretty terrible.

    Then finally, to your last point about non-EU trade, yes, great, let's hope we can expand our trade deals with other nations and find a new place in the global order. I'd be happy to see that happen. Unfortunately, history tells us that trade deals take year and years and years to draft and implement, and countries that are in pretty weak positions (which we, economically speaking, will be once we leave the EU) tend not to do so well in new trade negotiations. Proof: our current negotiations with the EU itself.

    Make whatever arguments you want to to try and validate a Leave vote - you're entitled to, of course. But the economic arguments are all bad ones to go for. Before the vote all the promises were of a brighter, shinier, freer society with a booming economy. Now we're losing many of our brightest EU citizens, xenophobic attacks are up, and our PM is saying the future "won't be the end of the world".

    FF222 likes this.

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