back to article No fandango for you: EU boots UK off Galileo satellite project

It's official: the UK is going to be booted off the Galileo satellite GPS program as a result of Brexit, despite furious protestations from Britain that it's a special case. The decision was reached by all 27 member states of Europe at a meeting on Tuesday and was confirmed in a slide deck [PDF] released on Wednesday. Just …

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    1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      Re: EU Are Being Vindictive

      This shows the true nature of the EU bureaucrats - vindictive.

      I think that you'll find that bureaucrats (everywhere) are not paid to be vindictive. They are paid to be consistent. That's how bureaucracy works---"computer says no."

    2. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: EU Are Being Vindictive

      Shadmeister, please. Stop playing the "Oh but the EU are being baddies!" card. It is so beneath you. Come up with something better.

    3. Chris 3

      Re: EU Are Being Vindictive

      I'm sure they'll let the UK pay to use it, if it's a key part of our defence.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Hans 1 Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: EU Are Being Vindictive

          We HAVE paid for it, so we should be able to USE it.

          I agree, who we're gonna call ?

          They have the say, we don't, sad and unfair all we want, they do not want other nations to follow suit so will milk us to the bone, in a sense they have no choice, either ... Whose fault ? Ours, sadly ...

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: EU Are Being Vindictive

          "We the British do abide by the rules, and we are punished for it."

          Including the rule about "Non-EU members are NOT allowed access to the military PRS signal"

    4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      WTF?

      I think the UK should build its own system

      Wow.

      Suggested by someone with absolutely no idea what a global navigation system costs or build and/or launch.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: I think the UK should build its own system

          >Or, the UK could start its own consortium with non EU countries who are part of NATO or the commonwealth.

          Well given over the decades the UK has become increasingly dependent upon US weapons systems, for various reasons. I suspect as soon as the UK seriously tries to start a consortium, the US will intervene. So I suggest the only viable way forward will be for the UK to convince the US to join the UK's consortium and for the UK solution to be adopted by NATO. If you can wrap the whole thing up so that it puts "America first" and thus protects US jobs and gives the person in the Whitehouse overall control, it might be a goer...

  1. keithzg

    Wait, that's really his name?

    > Just last week the UK minister in charge of Brexit, David Davis,

    Maybe this is just my colonial Canadian ears being un-used to the kinds of names that preppy tories have over on your side of the pond, but god, even the very names of the people involved with Brexit sound dumb.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: Wait, that's really his name

      Can't wait to know your reaction to Jacob Rees-Mogg if you think that's bad.

      TL;DR Arch-Brexiteer millionaire MP who is currently moving his hedge fund to Ireland to make sure his Brexit impacts are minimised.

      Nothing to do with PRS AFAIK but would not be at all surprised to discover he has some shareholdings impacted by the Galileo decision.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wait, that's really his name?

      Yes - but its ok - Boaty McBoatface will be here to supervise Brexit.

    3. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Wait, that's really his name?

      > Just last week the UK minister in charge of Brexit, David Davis,

      Maybe this is just my colonial Canadian ears being un-used to the kinds of names that preppy tories have over on your side of the pond, but god, even the very names of the people involved with Brexit sound dumb.

      Yeah, it was OK when he was a guitarist in The Kinks.

      Maybe they should all go and live in Punkeydoodles Corners, Ontario.

      https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Punkeydoodles+Corners,+Wilmot,+ON+N3A+3E5,+Canada/@43.353579,-80.7526876,14z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x882c01466c4a4653:0x693d01d69bf0504e!8m2!3d43.3535497!4d-80.7351351

      1. fandom Silver badge

        Re: Wait, that's really his name?

        Maybe it's me being a nerd, but to me "David Davis" sounds like a Stan Lee character name.

        1. Dr_N Silver badge

          Re: Wait, that's really his name?

          >Maybe it's me being a nerd, but to me "David Davis" sounds like a Stan Lee character name.

          More like a character out of an Archie comic.

      2. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: Wait, that's really his name?

        "Yeah, it was OK when he was a guitarist in The Kinks."

        David Davies had wits to stick to his guitars and keep out of politics.

  2. NerryTutkins

    Amazing

    According to brexitters, the EU is a shit show about to fall apart, and yet 27 member states can unanimously agree things like this within a few minutes regarding their brexit position.

    Meanwhile the UK can't even agree itself on what its position is, and they spend days carefully drafting compromises in the vaguest possible terms so as to not actually have to decide between one position or another, and keep everyone thinking their preferred plan is still in play. Worst of all, the official opposition condemns the government's handling of brexit, then insists that it would instead negotiate for full access to the single market and customs union to avoid a hard border, while definitely not accepting freedom of movement. FFS, have they not been paying attention the last two years while the government have been pushing this very same policy, with no possibility of success.

    1. David Webb

      Re: Amazing

      Shh, logic has no place in the Brexiteers mindset! Use emotion and lies!

    2. JassMan Silver badge

      Re: Amazing @ NerryTutkins

      Worst of all, the official opposition condemns the government's handling of brexit, then insists that it would instead negotiate for full access to the single market and customs union to avoid a hard border, while definitely not accepting freedom of movement.

      If you had ever listened to Corbin you would have heard him say repeatedly that even if we are part of A customs union rather than THE customs union that he want full freedom of movement to continue.

      Unlike Farage who has gotten himself a German passport, and Nigel Lawson who has applied for his French "Carte de Sejour" both so that they can leave the sinking ship.

    3. Frenchie Lad

      Re: Amazing

      The EU is not at all coherent- examples abound probably the worst is that over immigration: Germany invites and southern Europe assumes (wanted to use another word but we need to be PC).

      The Germans lost the war and are now winning economically - the UK is well to avoid the coming fate of France and Greece has already been taken over and on the cheap! The rest will will follow. The new members in the Balkans are just cannon fodder for Angela.

      1. Mooseman Bronze badge

        Re: Amazing

        "The Germans lost the war and are now winning economically - the UK is well to avoid the coming fate of France and Greece has already been taken over and on the cheap! The rest will will follow. The new members in the Balkans are just cannon fodder for Angela"

        This is hilarious. Keep going, I've nearly got brexit bingo.

        So far you've had -

        ridiculous claims about classification of fish

        French unemployed being sent to the uk

        the germans lost the war and are taking over by economic means

        All you're missing is "they need us more than we need them!"

    4. jonathan keith

      Re: Amazing

      The single reason for those compromises being written in the vaguest possible language is to delay the inevitable fiery self-destruction of the Conservative Party for a few more hours.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Amazing

      According to brexitters, the EU is a shit show about to fall apart, and yet 27 member states can unanimously agree things like this within a few minutes regarding their brexit position.

      Getting 27 members to agree not to a allow a soon to be ex-member of the club access to a facility is hardly a groundbreaking diplomatic achievement.

      Solving skyrocketing debt-to-GDP ratios and a surge in support for anti-EU populist parties right across the continent are much bigger existential challenges.

    6. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Coat

      "according to brexitters,..EU..shit show.., and yet 27..states can unanimously agree things

      like this within a few minutes"

      Funny how that works.

      You'd think somehow there was a problem with the British political system, not the EU's.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why do we need GPS? I know where I am, I know how to get to Blackpool without GPS or a whippet and I can get me gravy from the local shop. What more do I need?

    1. Bogle
      Joke

      Home time

      You'll need the whippet to get you home from the pub, shurely?

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Home time

        He'll need the whippet to get to the pub; without the whippet he can't say "just taking the dog for a walk"...

  4. Gordon 10 Silver badge
    Joke

    Well that wasnt unexpected.

    Whilst I agree we've been royally hoisted on our own petards a more mischievous part of me kinda wishes that one of 2 things happen.

    1. The ESA decision turns out to be illegal under the byzantine EU procurement rules.

    2. We knock a new constellation up in double quick time for half the price without the need to fund the ESA pork barrel, with some help from Elons cut price rocket business.*

    * Yes in my magical fairyland the UK doesnt do pork barrel politics *cough* BAE *cough*

  5. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Holmes

    GPS

    General Purpose Statement.

    That is a possible course of action but would cost the UK far, far more than ______ – billions of pounds more – and take it until at least ____ to get up and running, probably much longer.

    Just fill in the blanks

  6. YARR
    Megaphone

    In perspective, Galileo isn't important

    I've concluded that this forum is being used to spread anti-Brexit opinions without basis in reason. The same appears to be the case with the attempt in the wider media to link Brexit with Russia using political actors. This may be to discourage other EU members from leaving or to manufacture a false narrative for reversing Brexit.

    Galileo is a minor issue in perspective, but regaining the political independence to control our borders will significantly benefit the lives of the majority of ordinary British people, if implemented effectively.

    I remain ignorant - of a practical application for why we need high precision (sub-1 metre) satellite positioning. It's claimed our military or emergency services need it, but why? (Seriously)

    Without a reason, high precision Galileo is no loss, nor is there much to gain by creating yet another satellite positioning system. The costs to the taxpayer of the Brexit transition are significant, therefore non-essential costs such as this should be avoided.

    The lesson to be learned from this is that in any future international co-operation, lawyers must clearly set out guarantees to continued participation in a project from the outset. Allowing another partner to join a project at a later date, then change the terms to exclude an an existing partner is NOT ACCEPTABLE.

    The fact is political union is not required for international co-operation. In reality we and the rest of the world can "have our cake and eat it" but a cabal who want to centralise political power globally are determined to deny us this. They attempt to convince us with false arguments that it's not possible. If we were to hypothetically create another satellite positioning system with non-EU partners, must we surrender to a new political union to achieve this?

    PS. Rather than downvote, please reply with facts and reasoning.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: In perspective, Galileo isn't important

      "Allowing another partner to join a project at a later date, then change the terms to exclude an an existing partner is NOT ACCEPTABLE."

      I'm not sure who this other partner joining at a later date and changing the terms is but it's quite clear who's responsible for excluding the UK. It's the UK. We (by a small percentage of those who voted) decided to leave.

      1. YARR

        Re: In perspective, Galileo isn't important

        We voted to leave the EU, not ESA or Galileo or access to high precision Galileo.

        Britain is a founder member of the Galileo project, the EU is not.

        The EU later joined Galileo and changed the participation requirements so only EU members can have access to high precision positioning. Why did lawyers representing the original participants accept this?

        If lawyers failed to guarantee participant's rights, could another international organisation join ESA, claim control over a project like Galileo then bar access to the EU or another member if they left said international organisation?

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: In perspective, Galileo isn't important

          @YARR

          Britain is a founder member of the Galileo project, the EU is not.

          The EU later joined Galileo and changed the participation requirements so only EU members can have access to high precision positioning. Why did lawyers representing the original participants accept this?

          Good questions, I suspect you need to ask the UK government why it and its lawyers agreed the to EU's demmands...

        2. stephanh Silver badge

          Re: In perspective, Galileo isn't important

          "The EU later joined Galileo and changed the participation requirements so only EU members can have access to high precision positioning. Why did lawyers representing the original participants accept this?"

          May I suggest the UK fire a nuke at the nefarious country which was responsible for this change? It would only require a very short-range rocket.

        3. YARR

          I appreciate the constructive replies. High precision Galileo is accurate to ~10cm while the standard precision is about ~1 metre. So what new applications does this precision offer? What current applications are improved?

          1. Cruise missiles / Precision-guided munition

          - Guided weapons will destroy everything within 10's of metres, so targetting more accurately than 1 meter makes negligible difference.

          - Mobile targets require weapons with localised target tracking

          2. Avoiding collateral damage - eg schools being blown up rather than the nearby military target

          - 1 metre precision is sufficient to avoid this.

          3. Surveying

          - building surveyors need much greater precision than 10cm, so conventional survey equipment must still be used.

          - surveying natural geography could benefit - but isn't worth investing £billions

          4. Transport system & autonomous vehicles.

          - 1 metre accuracy is sufficient for route planning

          - high precision positioning cannot replace the need for lidar / camera sensors to respond to surroundings

          5. mapping minefields and paths through them

          - 10 cm is better than 1m, but is it sufficient to guarantee avoiding mines without the use of other sensors?

          6. "Power of a state / country is measured against their capability (and resolve), and without precision gps, UK's already lost."

          - It's up to every state to decide their own priorities. I disagree that higher precision GPS (below 1m) offers much advantage. Ownership of a satellite positioning system does not guarantee access. Dependence on satellite positioning should be avoided.

          > "people who disagree with me are even allowed to express their opinions"

          I don't advocate censorship, but respected opinions should be founded on accurate information and reasoning.

    2. Kurt Meyer

      Re: In perspective, Galileo isn't important

      @ YARR

      Brevity is your friend.

      You had me at - "I remain ignorant... "

    3. HPCJohn

      Re: In perspective, Galileo isn't important

      I rather thought 1metre positioning was needed if you are aiming a cruise missile at Saddams underground bunker. Or some such.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In perspective, Galileo isn't important

        no, you don't need a sub-metre precision to nuke Saddam (or Bernier). But you might need that precision, and more, to lob a round of low-yield guided ammo at window No 3, rather than No 4, or let semi-smart ammo navigate without bumping into obstacles. Power of a state / country is measured against their capability (and resolve), and without precision gps, UK's already lost.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: In perspective, Galileo isn't important

        "I rather thought 1metre positioning was needed if you are aiming a cruise missile at Saddams underground bunker. "

        Navstar GPS has been adequate for that for some time.

        You need far better accuracy than 1 metre if you're going to have self-driving cars trundling around.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: In perspective, Galileo isn't important

          "You need far better accuracy than 1 metre if you're going to have self-driving cars trundling around."

          Wrong.

          The accuracy needed for autonomous vehicles just needs to know where you are and what lane you are in. If lane centers are 3 m apart, then 1 m accuracy will do that quite nicely.

          The precision lane-keeping, vehicle avoidance, etc, uses radar, lidar, vision systems, and sonar. That's why these cars often want painted line markers.

          My GPS is quite reliable - much more so than my previous unit - at determining which lane with an accuracy that is never claimed to be better than 3 or 4 meters.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: In perspective, Galileo isn't important

            "You need far better accuracy than 1 metre if you're going to have self-driving cars trundling around."

            Wrong.

            Perhaps, not entirely wrong. IF you had sub 1m accuracy, I suspect some will want to do away with the other systems and naturally with positional accuracy such cars wouldn't need white lines etc.

            Yes I know its daft - as I write this I see allsorts of problems, but since we are living in the age of stupid and politicians have blind faith in AI and self-driving technology...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In perspective, Galileo isn't important

        "I rather thought 1metre positioning was needed if you are aiming a cruise missile at Saddams underground bunker. Or some such."

        For that accuracy the obvious military uses are PGMs aimed at armoured vehicles, radars, gun emplacements, etc.

        Another military use would be mapping minefields and paths through them for both sides, and the lcoation of each mine, for the side emplacing them and probably clearing them later.

        If you move to nukes, gas, and thermobaric weapons you don't need to be that accurate, but if you are striking hardened targets with precision ballistic missiles, you do need a GNSS that other people will not turn off when you launch.

    4. fandom Silver badge

      Re: In perspective, Galileo isn't important

      "I've concluded that this forum is being used to spread anti-Brexit opinions"

      Yep, I've also noticed that people who disagree with me are even allowed to express their opinions.

      What has the workd come to?!! How can they possibly think they are entitled to freedom of speech?!!!!!

      Mark my words, this is conspiracy most foul.

    5. Dr_N Silver badge

      Re: In perspective, Galileo isn't important

      >I remain ignorant - of a practical application for why we need high precision (sub-1 metre) satellite positioning. It's claimed our military or emergency services need it, but why?

      Surveying (Although that doesn't need to be real time.)

      Transport system & autonomous vehicles.

      Two areas that the UK would do well to invest in.

      Both infrastructure and vehicles. (And the underlying technology too.)

      Piggybacking off US largess for such a fundemental foundation of future systems would be a dumb move.

    6. Mooseman Bronze badge

      Re: In perspective, Galileo isn't important

      "I've concluded that this forum is being used to spread anti-Brexit opinions "

      It's a forum, you numpty. You and a couple of others are spreading pro brexit opinions. So that's ok but nobody is allowed to hold the opposing point of view? Standard leave mentality right there - "anything that contradicts what we say is treachery/hysterical nonsense/blah blah blah"

      As has been pointed out several times, Galileo was specifically blocked from non EU countries. Like GB will be. Have our cake and eat it? Are you still buying into that fairy story? We have separated ourselves and alienated ourselves from the single biggest trading bloc in the world. According to the leave mouthpieces negotiating new trade deals will be the simplest, easiest thing in the world. I don't see anyone queuing up to make trade deals.

    7. Mark Dempster

      Re: In perspective, Galileo isn't important

      >I remain ignorant - of a practical application for why we need high precision (sub-1 metre) satellite positioning. It's claimed our military or emergency services need it, but why? (Seriously)<

      Because if you don't have that accuracy, you end up with much more collateral damage - eg schools being blown up rather than the nearby military target. And, even if you ignore the moral aspects of that, in this age of full-coverage journalism of such attacks it would be a PR disaster

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In perspective, Galileo isn't important

        "Because if you don't have that accuracy, you end up with much more collateral damage - eg schools being blown up rather than the nearby military target"

        Not really.

        If you look at the blast/fragment radius of an artillery shell, SDB (small diameter bomb) or an ASM, there is no real benefit to an accuracy less than 10m, as the danger radius is 10 times that or more. Explosive weapon effects do not magically stop at a shrot distance from the center,

  7. Nick Kew Silver badge

    Someone remind me

    I have a recollection of people asking why the EU was wasting billions on replicating something that essentially already exists in GPS (and GLONASS). Indeed, I seem to recollect it cited as an example of EU profligacy.

    Does anyone recollect exactly who was saying that? Are any of them the same people who are now upset about getting booted out, or even those saying we should go it along?

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Someone remind me

      Damn, typos. s/along/alone/ at the end.

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Someone remind me

      I don't recall exactly, but I am pretty sure that they are the same people.

      The UK also pushed very hard for the rules that explicitly exclude non-EU countries from building any part of Galileo.

      So the Government knew, and the EU have simply decided that they are going to follow the rules that the UK wrote and agreed upon back when Galileo was first being funded.

      Oh, and the EU can grant non-EU states access to the high-precision signal - on a time-limited basis and at their discretion, and can withdraw it whenever they feel like.

      The difference is that EU members get it automatically, all the time.

      That's what "taking back control" means. Their project, their rules. Leaving a club means you no longer get to use the bar whenever you like.

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