British PM Theresa May is increasing pressure to the E.U. with a £92M navigation system pledge. The U.K. risks losing its access to the E.U. Galileo satellite navigation system after Brexit.
“Sovereign” Navigation System
Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged £92 million for a “sovereign” navigation system. The United Kingdom can’t risk exclusion from the E.U.’s Galileo satellite navigation system’s core development. Since losing all access to the E.U.’s satnav system is something the country could not afford to do, the prime minister chose to create its own, said May.
The P.M. said that the investment would be put into place unless Brussels makes it possible for the U.K. to be included in contract negotiations and security discussions during the creation of Galileo. May explained that ideally, the United Kingdom would prefer to continue taking part in Galileo following Brexit. However, she also said it would be unacceptable to “be an ‘end user’, shut out from security discussions and contracts, and without critical information about the systems security”.
The Galileo Satellite Navigation System
Galileo is the name of a European satellite navigation system. It was created to rival the GPS system in the United States. The system is slated to launch in 2020. It will be released with a civilian variant and a military variant. It is composed of 24 satellites that will need to remain in orbit to ensure reliable operation.
The U.K. has been a part of the Galileo project until now. In fact, it has already made £1.2 billion in contributions. That said, the E.U. has started to exclude the United Kingdom from certain components of Galileo’s development, such as its security elements. Great Britain had been planning to use a combination of that tech along with GPS for its military.
A British Global Navigation Satellite System
It would cost several billion pounds for the United Kingdom to create its own British Global Navigation Satellite System. The prime minister is hoping that her strategy of committing funds to the development of a sovereign system will encourage the E.U. to back down.
“So unless we receive assurance that we can collaborate on a close basis in the future – like the close security partners we aspire to be – we are clear that we will withdraw UK support for Galileo and pursue our own sovereign satellite system. And this is not an idle threat to achieve our negotiating objectives,” said May.