EU states have hit upon a compromise deal that will allow them to fund the Galileo satellite project, and save some face. States voted to back a €2.4bn funding deal, drawing cash from unused farming subsidies, and restructuring research and industrial spending for the year. This means the European rival to the US military's GPS …
Hopefully now will Progress be Coordinated to Beam Benefit Anywhere and Everywhere.
All as it should be
Efficient government at its best. After all it's not as though 2.4 billion Euros is a large amount of money so not surprising they are able to identify a few unnecessary areas of existing spend from which to scrape it together. Of course they will have to contend with sniping from the usual crowd of cynical observers who will claim the budget was padded to begin with.
Galileo is a waste of money anyway! If you really want extreme precision you can get it from the existing GPS (down to millimetre accuracy). If you want accurate real time positioning you can get it to metre level (ample for any realistic application) from existing GPS, with a little investment in infrastructure. Surely a far better use of the money would be to buy into the existing GPS infrastructure, getting governments to negotiate transfer of the existing, perfectly adequate system to a suitable international corporation and then planning a sensible upgrade path. Duplicating a perfectly adequate system for mainly political ends is a pretty stupid use of money.
Unused farming subsidies?
Otherwise known as over-taxation they haven't spent yet? No wonder they aren't worried about the debt crisis...
Oh my goodness !
Germany has excess funds to give back to the member states ?! How on Earth do they do that ? Never heard of that in France in any case.
One Eye is Myopic ....Two is Kaleidoscopic
"Duplicating a perfectly adequate system for mainly political ends is a pretty stupid use of money."
Galileo Monitors and Mentors to GPS too. AI Special Relationship Bond Thing.
"Germany has excess funds to give back to the member states" ... How very Generous and Considerate of them. A Teutonic Trait, I Believe.
No wonder the auditors recently refused to sign off the EU accounts for the 13th year running. It seems to me this is the latest example of how they make things up as they go along.
If farming money is left over why not give what's left to farmers?! Such a crazy idea it just might work...
I agree with your initial statement but
"Surely a far better use of the money would be to buy into the existing GPS infrastructure, getting governments to negotiate transfer of the existing, perfectly adequate system to a suitable international corporation and then planning a sensible upgrade path."
can only illicit the response: "hahahahahahahaahhahahahahahahahahahahahhahahhaaahahahha". Would you like to meet the Americans? They LOVE sharing their militry kit and why, yes, they would simply adore the chance to share control with an international body! ;)
I didn't say it was likely!
But we are getting to the heart of the politics here. On one side the system is seen as primarily military; on the other it is seen as primarily civil. And the main argument for Galileo (as far as I can see) is that it takes control of a safety critical system from the military and gives it to a civil authority. Now, the USA has already partially acknowledged that GPS is civil technology; it effectively did that when President Clinton announced the withdrawal of Selective Availability (or rather, it being turned down to zero). After that announcement, it would be extremely difficult for the USA if an aircraft crashed because GPS was turned off or SA increased to large numbers. AFAIR, President Clinton effectively guaranteed that neither of these would happen. On the other side, I doubt if being controlled by a civil authority would stop said civil authority being "leaned on" in case of military need!
As far as battlefield operations go, it is ridiculously easy to jam GPS. The signal strength is tiny, and even with dual frequency systems, well, there are only two to block. Ionospheric noise can do quite a good job! It has been jammed on an experimental basis (reported in El Reg: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/06/06/mod_gps_jamming_trial_cornwall/), and there are plenty of apocryphal stories about less publicized "outages" suspected of being due to military operations. And if you jammed it (cunning plan warning!) with a pseudo random signal that your receivers had the key to, then you could even preserve its utility to "your" side while blocking it to the "other" side. Watch out for the black helicopters if I've just guessed the top secret strategy!
By the way, El Reg, can we possibly have threaded display of messages?
High Noon in Dodge City .... OK.
And here's another very good reason to have an independent presence in Space .... "Everybody in the world has been watching this Iraq war, and the Gulf War before that," said Lt. Col. White in an interview after the ceremony. "And they know what space does for the U.S. military. That is a key enabler. Without space, we're back to World War II. Anyone who wants to take on the United States knows they've got to handle us in space." ... http://cndyorks.gn.apc.org/mhs/
lest we forget
It is so easy to overlook one of the primary objectives of galileo, isn't it? By using it to institute EU wide vehicle tracking (sold as "navigation assistance") they would be able to in effect produce an EU owned tax stream with unlimited upside to their income. As this is a non starter, this is now just an expensive, taxpayer funded, big willy competition with the US. The private sector walked because they know there is no money to be made from licences to use Galileo as long as GPS is about. And so the Lisbon not-a-constitutional treaty was specially modified so that Peter could be robbed to pay Paul, and no country (far less the auditors) can effectively stop them doing this.
Yep, the EU is a wonderful thing.
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