back to article UK getting ready to go it alone on Galileo

The UK is about to press the big red button on its own satellite navigation system as an agreement for access to the EU’s Galileo programme looks more and more unlikely. Following hot on the heels of the release of papers detailing the customs and tax implications of a no-deal Brexit come reports that the UK Treasury has …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    That is going to be one hell of an expensive failure

    So let's see, what is the UK Gov history on hardware accomplishments ?

    Oh yeah, they built a new aircraft carrier, but forgot the catapults.

    Yep, great indicator of confidence there. They'll send up GPS satellites and forget the communication system, or something like that.

    This is the start of a looong popcorn era.

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: That is going to be one hell of an expensive failure

      Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

      1. Roj Blake Silver badge

        Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

        Yes.

        1. AMBxx Silver badge

          Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

          Oddly, if you look at our history BEFORE we joined the EEC, it was a lot better. Jump Jet, Hovercraft, transistor etc etc.

          Going forward, nobody can really know, but it's up to the likes of us.

          1. Lars Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

            "transistor etc etc".

            Julius Edgar Lilienfeld* patented a field-effect transistor in 1926[1] but it was not possible to actually construct a working device at that time. The first practically implemented device was a point-contact transistor invented in 1947 by American physicists John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley....

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transistor

            *a Jewish Austro-Hungarian-born German-American physicist and electronic engineer, credited with the first patents on the field-effect transistor (FET) (1925) and electrolytic capacitor (1931). Because of his failure to publish articles in learned journals and because high-purity semiconductor materials were not available yet, his FET patent never achieved fame, causing confusion for later inventors.

            Also read about the Jump Jet.

            1. steamnut

              Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

              But we did invent the Jet engine that the jump jet uses and then promptly gave the Americans the details for free. Oh, don't forget the magnetron (radar) and the digital computer; although we crushed the evidence and put all of details under top secret for a stupid length of time so the Americans commercialised them before us.

              In fact, going back in history, more was achieved by private entrepreneurs and inventors (Cockroft, Mitchell, Watt, Bolton, Parsons, Brindley, Stephenson, Newcomen, Trevithick ) than by Governments. Maybe we should encourage more entrepreneurs with better tax breaks?

              As for Gallileo, do we really need it anyway?

              1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

                Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

                "But we did invent the Jet engine that the jump jet uses and then promptly gave the Americans the details for free"

                We had no choice. In exchange for American help during WW2 we had to sign over large swathes of advanced technology for free. They profited heavily from the war while we were left in debt for decades.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

                  "They profited heavily from the war while we were left in debt for decades."

                  Yeah, but we won.

                  Didn't we? We won?

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

                    assuredly not, just look out your windows if you're in England.

                    Those who fought your Wars have been betrayed.

                    Anywhoos, before community standards rake me over the coals...

                  2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

                    Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

                    "Didn't we? We won?"

                    Google for pictures of Germany or Japan in autumn 1945. They definitely lost.

                    Whether we, or any of our allies could reasonably be said to have won is left as a philosophical exercise for the reader.

                  3. gypsythief
                    Joke

                    Re: Yeah, but we won.

                    It's an oldie, but a goody...

                    "Didn't we? We won?":

                    The European Commission has announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the EU, rather than German, which was the other contender. Her Majesty's Government conceded that English spelling had room for improvement and has therefore accepted a five-year phasing in of "Euro-English".

                    In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make sivil servants jump for joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of the "k", Which should klear up some konfusion and allow one key less on keyboards.

                    There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f", making words like "fotograf" 20% shorter.

                    In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of the silent "e" is disgrasful.

                    By the fourth yer, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".

                    During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters. After zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubls or difikultis and everivun vil find it ezi to understand ech ozer. ZE DREM VIL FINALI COM TRU!

                    (With all due apologies to all the lovely German folks, especially those who brewed the bier I'm now drinking...:)

                  4. Alan Brown Silver badge

                    Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

                    >> "They profited heavily from the war while we were left in debt for decades."

                    > Yeah, but we won.

                    The USA put shitloads of money into _all_ the european countries after WW2. The UK actually got more under the Marshall plan than Germany or France did, but its politicians chose to piss most of it against the nearest wall instead of spending it wisely.

                    Funnily enough they did the same thing with 1970s oil and gas income.

                    1. werdsmith Silver badge

                      Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

                      The USA put shitloads of money into _all_ the european countries after WW2. The UK actually got more under the Marshall plan than Germany or France did.

                      I would be very happy to give you £2000 to fix your leaky roof now if you will replay me a £billion over the next 60 years and promise to conform to all my political requirements.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

                  We had no choice. In exchange for American help during WW2 we had to sign over large swathes of advanced technology for free.

                  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                  If it brought you supplies, allied troops, planes and ships, food, oil, armaments, ammunition, all in enormous quantities... which it did... then it was hardly giving technology away for free.

                3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                  Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

                  "We had no choice. In exchange for American help during WW2 we had to sign over large swathes of advanced technology for free. They profited heavily from the war while we were left in debt for decades."

                  Under threat of invasion, huge amounts of UK science stuff was sent to the Americans and a lot of people still here who had that knowledge were unknowingly under threat of death from our own side if/when the German invasion happened. It was a sort of last resort, burn the bridges plan.

              2. phuzz Silver badge

                Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

                But we did invent the Jet engine that the jump jet uses and then promptly gave the Americans the details for free.

                I'm guessing you're talking about the Bristol Siddeley (later Rolls Royce) Pegasus as used in the Harrier/AV-8A, which which was licensed (presumably for a lot of money) to Pratt & Whitney, so they could build them for the US version of the Harrier (also sold for money). According to Wikipedia though P&W never built any though, so they were all built by RR instead.

                So no, we didn't 'promptly' give the Americans anything, there was a quite a few years between the first flights of the Kestrel/P.1127 (early 1960's) and collaboration with the US (1970s). There's also no evidence that the license was 'for free'.

                The Harrier and it's engine are actually a rare success story in selling aircraft to the US military, which historically tends to only buy domestic models.

                (That said, by the end of production of the Harrier, it was being built by Boeing and BAE, both of whom are multinational companies and it's tricky to assign knowledge to a particular country.)

                1. Steve Todd

                  Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

                  @phuzz - think before then. The original jet engine, patented and developed by Frank Whittle, was basically handed for free to the US (they paid a flat $1M for total rights IIRC).

                  1. LDS Silver badge

                    "they paid a flat $1M for total rights IIRC"

                    What fools. They could have had German jet engines designs for free a little later...

                    Meanwhile UK really gave Stalin designs and engines for free...

                    1. Steve Todd

                      Re: "they paid a flat $1M for total rights IIRC"

                      @LDS - The German designs of the time were beyond their metallurgy to build reliably. They needed a full overhaul about every 50 hours. The Whittle type (centrifugal rather than axial compressors) would last 3 times longer.

                      1. LDS Silver badge

                        "The German designs of the time were beyond their metallurgy to build reliably."

                        Still, they became operative before any allied plane - and axial compressors were more useful, and became the standard for most modern jet engines. British axial compress designs had more troubles.

                        More than metallurgy - German one was quite advanced-, it was the scarcity of essential components for advanced alloys to require the use of less lasting materials for mass production.

                  2. phuzz Silver badge

                    Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

                    The original jet engine
                    So not the one in the jumpjet then?

                    Don't be mad about selling it to the US (they at least paid, and given the circumstances that wasn't bad), be mad about Rolls Royce straight up giving 40 Nene turbojet engines (plus blueprints) to Russia, after extracting a promise that they would be used for evaluation, and definitely not for military purposes.

                    Of course, within four years the Nene had been reverse engineered to produce the RD-45 (later the VK-1) and was powering the MiG-15.

                    (Later on it was reverse engineered a second time by the Chinese to produce the Wopen WP-5. Which all sounds terrible, but it's not like reverse engineering a jet engine is easy, just easier than having to design one yourself).

                  3. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

                    The original jet engine, patented and developed by Frank Whittle

                    Was this while reading the French patent from nine years earlier? Just as well he wasn't too close to the Norwegian engine from twenty seven years earlier or he might have been distracted by its noise.

                  4. Alan Brown Silver badge

                    Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

                    "The original jet engine, patented and developed by Frank Whittle, was basically handed for free to the US "

                    And apart from a few low powered helicoptor engines, how many centrigual jet engines ever came out of that?

                    $HINT: Axial flow jet engines were a german thing, as found on the ME-262 and the americans took plenty of those home to study after WW2

                2. Yorkshirefoxy

                  Re: UK sales to US

                  Don’t forget we also sold the Canberra bomber and the Hawk trainer to the US as well.

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

                We also gave the best available at the time jet engine to the CCCP. It seems politicians always manage to put the UK on the back foot.

              4. Alan Brown Silver badge

                Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

                "more was achieved by private entrepreneurs and inventors (Cockroft, Mitchell, Watt, Bolton, Parsons, Brindley, Stephenson, Newcomen, Trevithick ) than by Governments. "

                The success rate for both was about the same. The difference being that governments tended to decide what was a "winner" long before fruition and continue to sink stupidly large amounts of money into it long after it had been left hopelessly in the dust, whist ignoring other more promising technology or even destroying it.

                The Brabazon might have been a great R&D aircraft if the air ministry had been paying for it instead of just telling makers what to build and expecting BOAC to buy the results, etc. Instead they quite effectively destroyed the UK independent aviation industry. etc etc.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

            "Oddly, if you look at our history BEFORE we joined the EEC, it was a lot better."

            You're looking at a time just after WWII - and really seeing a continuation of the inventiveness that engendered (radar etc.). After that the arts & PPE graduates took over and they didn't like these little men in brown coats with pens and screwdrivers in their top pockets.

            1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

              Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

              After that the arts & PPE graduates took over and they didn't like these little men in brown coats with pens and screwdrivers in their top pockets.

              So tell me again why it's better to have a central political government like the EU controlling R&D? Apart from a large unaccountable taxpayer-funded budget, I suppose.

              1. Nick Kew Silver badge

                @Phil O'Sophist

                So tell me again why it's better to have a central political government like the EU controlling R&D? Apart from a large unaccountable taxpayer-funded budget, I suppose.

                Compared to what? The total EU budget for 28 countries - including all that agricultural nonsense, as well as waste[1] - is a drop in the ocean of Sir Humphrey's empire, and it's focussed. Science being one of those focuses.

                [1] Both real waste and the product of 30+ years of often-false news from Murdoch et al.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

                It's not either or. I am not aware of an EU directive forbidding private sector R&D. Equally I am not aware that post Brexit UK government R&D will suddenly magically escape central political control. At least Europe has some countries with political systems that support industry and R&D (thinking of you - Germany) - Westminster with it's cadre of professional politicians and failed PPE journalists couldn't organise a project to research the effect of fermentation on cognition in a yeast processing plant.

              3. Yes Me Silver badge
                Headmaster

                Why it's better to have the EU funding R&D

                So tell me again why it's better to have a central political government like the EU controlling R&D? Apart from a large unaccountable taxpayer-funded budget, I suppose.

                Firstly, the EU isn't a 'government'.

                Secondly it doesn't 'control' R&D. It funds some projects and not others, within a general framework that is a consensus between the 28 EU governments. This is a good thing, because it avoids duplication and encourages broad, diverse research teams, which are well known to be more effective than inward-looking local teams.

                Thirdly, it isn't unaccountable. Actually the EU auditors are much more nosy than any national R&D auditors, in my experience. They claw back inappropriate expenditure.

                And finally, as someone else noted, the total EU R&D budget is a drop in the ocean compared to national R&D budgets.

                1. anothercynic Silver badge

                  Re: Why it's better to have the EU funding R&D

                  The EU auditors are a proverbial pain in the ass (but that's good). If you've ever been a partner in an EU-funded science or technology project, you will know what I mean.

          3. 45RPM Silver badge

            Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

            @AMBxx

            You’ve muddled your cause and effect there. The decline in innovation can be ascribed to a short-termist, greed-is-good, attitude which came about, in part, through Thatcherism and imported Reaganism. The banks were supported through deregulation, resulting in the phenomenal rise of the City of London (supported also by being the main financial centre for Europe).

            Sadly, part of the Thatcherist attitude also resulted in the mass sale of public business. In some cases this was good (the automotive industry), in other cases it was forced upon us (by the world bank, as a condition of further investment - we were once ‘the sick man of Europe’, how quickly we forget) and in others it was unnecessary, driven through sheer greed (public-private partnerships, railways &c.)

            We had great, innovative British industry even after we joined the EU. Sinclair, Acorn, Apricot, Inmos, even Rover, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Reliant and more besides. Thanks to the short termist view, and no protection from our government, they were starved of the funds to invest for the future and sold outside of the UK - worse, in many cases, sold out of Europe.

            We still have one or two innovative businesses - they’re the ones that are privately owned. Imagine what they could do if they could raise funds on a healthy stock market, safe in the knowledge that they could rely on government protection.

            1. anothercynic Silver badge

              Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

              The decline in aerospace and other industry started *way* before Thatcher and Reagan. Successive Labour* governments killed off projects like TSR.2, the British space programme (primarily the launchers), the list goes on. Manufacturing was on its knees, was way behind compared to the continent, and starved of money. One thing we did not lack was BRAINS and BOFFINS... Science across the world has benefitted so much from the inventiveness of necessity, and this country has benefitted countlessly from great minds of various nations coming here to study, coming here to do research, and export that knowledge to projects across the globe.

              * I do not subscribe to party policy of any party in this country, just pointing out facts

              1. 45RPM Silver badge

                Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

                @anothercynic

                Of course. What I said doesn’t preclude the possibility that some Thatcherite policies were worthwhile, and nor does it preclude the possibility that other businesses folded / were bought before her either. However, post Thatcher there was a demonstrable increase in the number of businesses failing / leaving British or European control.

                That said, I would argue that some of her banking reforms were necessary, and that it was essential to weaken the unions somewhat (although it would have been an act of vandalism to destroy them utterly) - as with so many things, balance is required. A bit of Union, a bit of government, a bit of socialism, a bit of capitalism, a bit of left, a bit of right.

                It was vandalism to permit so many British businesses go to the wall / be sold off, to reform finance to the point where greed became more desirable than solid investment.

                Similarly, it’s an act of vandalism to leave the EU now - rejoining will not be so easy. Regaining the squandered trust may be impossible.

                1. anothercynic Silver badge

                  Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

                  @45RPM, however to blame it on Thatcher and Reagan is not necessarily appropriate either. Those who didn't grow up and get with the programme (the world reality) went to the wall or flogged themselves off before they did go to the wall. Yes, it's brutal, but mollycoddling a business just because it's home-grown does not fix/change reality.

                  There's much I agree with you on though... things do need balance, and yes, we're going to have to work very hard to regain the trust of our continental neighbours if we do decide to spite our faces by leaving.

            2. MrRimmerSIR!

              Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

              Sorry 45RPM, in your political zeal and general hatred of Thatcher you seem to be a bit confused...

              "The sick man of Europe" label was given to the UK long before Thatch was in power:

              "Throughout the late 1960s and 1970s, the United Kingdom was frequently called the "sick man of Europe", first by foreign commentators, and later at home by critics of the third Wilson/Callaghan ministry, because of industrial strife and poor economic performance compared to other European countries.[9] This era is considered to have started with the devaluation of the pound in 1967, culminating with the Winter of Discontent of 1978–79, the period between the Three-Day Week in 1973-74 and the IMF bailout in 1976 is generally seen by Britons as one of the darkest periods in the country's modern history. At different points throughout the decade, numerous countries such as Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, and Greece were cited by the American press as being "on the verge of sickness" as well. "

              "The banks were supported through deregulation" leading to the banking crisis was Brown's doing=

              https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-13032013. In contrast, Thatchers breaking up of the cosy City old boys network injected much cash into a stagnant part of the economy, making London the financial powerhouse that it remains (so far).

              You are right about the lack of investment as anyone who remembers the Transputer would recognise. Unfortunately all governments, regardless of side, seem to shy away from that sort of investment as it hits the borrowing requirement. This is one reason why the railways etc. were privatised as that allowed them to search for capital outside of government restrictions. 40 year sof state ownership did not leave British Rail in an enviable state.

              1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

                "This is one reason why the railways etc. were privatised as that allowed them to search for capital outside of government restrictions. 40 year sof state ownership did not leave British Rail in an enviable state."

                BR's woes can be far more easily attributed to the factor that when it was "nationalised" the underlaying private companies, manglement and rivalries continued with business as usual instead of becoming a joined-up whole. The resulting clusterfuck was fairly predictable (and the destruction of the Central line plus several other important lines are traceable to those rivalries, not commercial or logistical realities which were already becoming apparant by the 1950s. "I'm alright Jack" was only partly fictional.)

                The same problem happened at Leyland. You can't just jam a bunch of rival companies together and _keep_ all the individual groups of rival managment as.... groups of rival management, etc etc.

                British industrial history is full of brilliant inventions followed by half-arsed development and outright shoddy implementations.. It's a cultural problem dating back at least 150 years and is tracable to a fixation on short term profit. It's no wonder that by the 1970s "Made in Britain" was treated as a warning label across the rest of the Commonwealth. (I grew up in one of the ex-colonies and had a chance to compare "quality british products" being foisted on us with stuff that actually worked. That's a lesson that brexiters seem not to have learned)

            3. Lomax

              Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

              > We had great, innovative British industry even after we joined the EU. Sinclair, Acorn, Apricot, Inmos, even Rover, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Reliant and more besides.

              You did mention Acorn, but I think ARM really deserves separate mention; perhaps the single most successful (civilian) (tech) company in (post-colonial) UK history. Still ruling the (electromagnetic) waves today, though sadly now under foreign (convenience) flag.

              My preferred parallel univerb is any one where ARM - and not Microchip - bought Atmel.

          4. graeme leggett

            Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

            The US gave us money to develop the P.1127/Kestrel/Harrier under the guise of Mutual Weapons Development so, among other things, Bristol only had to cover 25% of the cost of engine development.

            Plus the idea was part French.

            Overall it's all so complex

            http://www.airvectors.net/avav8_1.html

          5. henryd

            Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

            Er.. transistor?

          6. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

            Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

            Not to forget HST InterCity 125.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

              Not to forget HST InterCity 125.

              Still holds the world diesel-electric speed record.

            2. anothercynic Silver badge

              Re: Is their hardware history better or worse than their software history?

              @Clunking Fist, don't forget APT (developed around the same time as the HST). As much as the APT was a complete flop for British Rail Engineering, they sold the technology and patents (to reduce the losses of the APT experience) on to... Italy's Fiat, who used and endlessly refined them to develop the Pendolino, which today plies its trade between London Euston and Liverpool/Glasgow, and many countries across the world. Many tilting trains out there in some form owe their existence to the engineers at BREL.

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: That is going to be one hell of an expensive failure

      So let's see, what is the UK Gov history on hardware accomplishments ?

      You mean like building the bits of Galileo that work, unlike, say, the Swiss-built clock modules?

    3. Tinslave_the_Barelegged Silver badge

      Re: That is going to be one hell of an expensive failure

      Oh yeah, they built a new aircraft carrier, but forgot the catapults.

      Don't forget the contract - the "£5billion" will balloon to £15 billion, which will have to change hands whether the system gets built or not. The satellites will end up in a shed in Basingstoke.

      1. Gio Ciampa

        Re: That is going to be one hell of an expensive failure

        "will balloon to £15 billion"

        ...and the rest! ESA or NASA (or the Russians) will have us by the proverbials for a launch system

        We might just about manage to pay for it if we scrap HS2 ... but even then I doubt it

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: That is going to be one hell of an expensive failure

          "...and the rest! ESA or NASA (or the Russians) will have us by the proverbials for a launch system"

          Why? I'm sure Mr Branson will do gov.uk a good deall and launch them from Spaceport UK up in far north of Scotland!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That is going to be one hell of an expensive failure

      "Oh yeah, they built a new aircraft carrier, but forgot the catapults."

      They didn't forget the catapults, they just had nothing to power them with, catapults need steam, the carrier is powered by gas turbines, no steam, they needed a nuclear reactor

      1. bsdnazz

        Re: That is going to be one hell of an expensive failure

        The Yanks are moving to linear magnetic motors for catapults and they just need electricity.

        I spent the weekend at Blackpool on the Icon coaster which uses linear magnetic motors to launch the coaster. If a amusement park can make them work then show should the RN's contractors.

        1. MyffyW Silver badge

          Re: That is going to be one hell of an expensive failure

          Expensive failure - are we talking about SatNav or Brexit preparations?

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: That is going to be one hell of an expensive failure

            "Expensive failure - are we talking about SatNav or Brexit preparations?"

            Yes

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: That is going to be one hell of an expensive failure

          "The Yanks are moving to linear magnetic motors for catapults and they just need electricity."

          They looked at developing them, but don't need them, thier nulcear powered carriers have loads of free steam.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: That is going to be one hell of an expensive failure

            "They looked at developing them, but don't need them, thier nulcear powered carriers have loads of free steam."

            They're still developing them. Steam catapaults require a _LOT_ of maintenance and have two acceleration settings: ON and OFF, unlike electric launchers.

            1. Robert Sneddon

              New CVNs don't have steam to spare

              The new Ford-class nuclear carriers are electric-drive like most if not all modern warships. They don't have external steam generators to provide propulsion steam and catapult steam like the earlier CVNs, instead their self-contained nuclear reactor installations produce electricity for the propeller drive motors in the same way the British QE carriers have gas-turbine generator sets for propulsion and, indeed, the new British Astute subs which do the same thing although they're nuclear-powered.

              The Ford-class carriers have two 300MW output reactors compared to the previous generation of similar-sized carriers which had two 150MW reactors. Part of that extra capacity is to drive the EMALS catapults (though they use a storage system to provide the instantaneous 30-50MW of electricity needed for a launch) but a lot of the extra capacity is because there are a lot more sparkly bits in a big ship like that than there used to be, plus redundancy of course.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That is going to be one hell of an expensive failure

        They didn't forget the catapults, they just had nothing to power them with, catapults need steam, the carrier is powered by gas turbines, no steam, they needed a nuclear reactor

        ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

        Actually, BAE promised them electromagnetic catapults as a later upgrade, then jacked the price to the stratosphere to avoid having to make it work.

        The mistake wasn't catapults, it was where they bought the carriers, and the contracts they accepted.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: That is going to be one hell of an expensive failure

          "BAE promised them electromagnetic catapults as a later upgrade, then jacked the price to the stratosphere to avoid having to make it work."

          The price jackup was more or less what they would have lost in F35B maintenance costs. make of that what you will.

          As for the F35s, they're still in the process of eating the pentagon.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That is going to be one hell of an expensive failure

        "catapults need steam, the carrier is powered by gas turbines, no steam, they needed a nuclear reactor"

        A bit right, but mostly wrong.

        No. Steam catapults need steam, but EM catapults just need electricity.

        Yes. The choice was made to fit gas turbines for propulsion. That was a choice, not inevitable. If the choice had been made to go with a steam turbine mechanical drive or steam turbine electric drive, that would not have been the case.

        A nuclear reactor is in no way needed for a carrier with steam catapults. One could include steam generators, or go with some form of steam propulsion. Steam catapult carriers predate not only nuclear powered ships but any form of controlled fission.

      4. Smooth Newt
        Meh

        Re: That is going to be one hell of an expensive failure

        They didn't forget the catapults, they just had nothing to power them with, catapults need steam, the carrier is powered by gas turbines, no steam, they needed a nuclear reactor.

        No, they don't *need* steam. It was just that between the 1910s and the 1970s high pressure steam was readily available because the usual way of propelling a large warship required lots of boilers. The first aircraft carrier catapults were actually powered by compressed air, not steam, and presumably something similar is still possible. There are chemical solutions too - e.g. German V1s, amongst other things, were launched by steam generated from hydrogen peroxide.

        1. Robert Sneddon

          Not enough energy

          The first aircraft carrier catapults were actually powered by compressed air, not steam, and presumably something similar is still possible.

          A typical aircraft of the 1910-20 period suitable for launch from an aircraft carrier would weigh a couple of tonnes with a low takeoff speed. A mission-ready F-35B or indeed any existing strike fighter can weigh up to 25 tonnes loaded for a mission and can require the plane to be travelling at over 150mph at the end of the catapult to clear the front of the carrier successfully and avoid becoming a sea dart (tm).

          Finding space to fit air or steam plant into the existing carrier spaces and the surplus power to produce stored energy to launch aircraft using some kind of catapult wasn't really a goer for the QE-class carriers. The EMALS electromagnetic launcher was a possibility, it has a lot of good features but it also sucks a lot of electrical power and the QE-class gas turbine engines weren't specced to produce bursts of surplus energy of that size. Some kind of battery/spinning storage might work but again there wasn't much space left to put it somewhere in the hull and if it ever broke then nothing could be launched at all.

          1. anothercynic Silver badge

            Re: Not enough energy

            @Robert Sneddon, and remember that the QE-class carriers were first specced in the late nineties and refined early in the new millennium. A colleague of mine was seconded to BAe in Bristol to look at how to to bring the price of each down by nearly half.

            1. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: Not enough energy

              "A colleague of mine was seconded to BAe in Bristol to look at how to to bring the price of each down by nearly half."

              So BAE saved a shitload, but did they lower the bill?

          2. DropBear Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: Not enough energy

            "Some kind of battery/spinning storage might work but..."

            Looks like we just need to nerd harder. Hmmm... rubber bands?

          3. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Not enough energy

            "A mission-ready F-35B or indeed any existing strike fighter can weigh up to 25 tonnes loaded for a mission and can require the plane to be travelling at over 150mph at the end of the catapult to clear the front of the carrier successfully and avoid becoming a sea dart (tm)."

            Sea dart or not, It's going to need that vertical landing capability to dodge the holes in the deck after the DF21-D or DF26s have paid a visit.

            Battleships were obsolete by 1925, but kept being made for quite a while after that - pretty much until a wee party in 1941 made the point they'd had their day.. Aircraft carriers have passed that knee point too (having a swedish submarine sneak up and "sink" an American supercarrier was a wakeup call for them too, but that's not the primary direction they're vulnerable from ) "Projecting power" is of no use whatsoever if you're forced to keep your boats a "safe distance offshore" that happens to be beyond the operational range of the aircraft that fly off it.

    5. RegGuy1

      Re: That is going to be one hell of an expensive failure

      Oh yeah, they built a new aircraft carrier, but forgot the catapults.

      ... and the aircraft.

      1. Steven 1

        Re: That is going to be one hell of an expensive failure

        It's had aircraft on it since it commenced sea trials...

        If you're referring to F-35B's then we are taking delivery of them right when we need them and in accordance with the test program.

        https://goo.gl/images/TXqAew

  2. Joeman

    Would be a shame if the British satellites included signal jammers for Galileo satellites would it...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Galileo blocking BeiDou

      wouldn't it be a shame if that chinese signal didnt work...

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: Galileo blocking BeiDou

        We don't need to jam Galileo. Without correction, the atomic clocks drift. A small fraction of a second is a meter inaccuracy, so you have a bunch of ground stations that collect data to spot them drifting so they can be updated precisely.

        One such station is located on Ascension Island, and another is on the Falklands Islands. If we depart on bad terms with the EU and somebody pulls the plug then this is quite sufficient to cause Galileo problems without going the extra mile.

        1. bsdnazz

          Re: Galileo blocking BeiDou

          The French and Dutch have enough territories spotted around the world for Galileo base stations.

          Denying the use of Ascension Island and the Falklands Islands is not going to damage Galileo, just result in some more spending for the EU.

          1. Peter2 Silver badge

            Re: Galileo blocking BeiDou

            The French and Dutch have enough territories spotted around the world for Galileo base stations.

            Could you highlight which French or Dutch territories exist in the south Atlantic?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Galileo blocking BeiDou

              Can you highlight the constitutional provisions that would allow the UK government to order the 'independent' governments of these overseas territories to do something like sabotage Galileo?

              And then work out exactly what effect losing two sensor stations (which don't actually uplink anything - they downlink data and send it to Germany and Italy).

              I am fairly sure that the Chileans or Argentinians would happily host the Falklands Sensor station - and push comes to shove, if the Ascension Island station was 'lost' the gap in the network would be no bigger than already exists in the Pacific - so no reason to think it would have material effect,.

              1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

                Re: Galileo blocking BeiDou

                "Can you highlight the constitutional provisions that would allow the UK government to order the 'independent' governments of these overseas territories to do something like sabotage Galileo"

                Wouldn't be necessary since we still cover defence spending of a lot of these overseas territories. They could be convinced to pull the plug quite easily. Then there's always financial incentives...

            2. pklausner

              Re: Galileo blocking BeiDou

              How about https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerguelen_Islands ?

            3. anothercynic Silver badge

              Re: Galileo blocking BeiDou

              @Peter 2, you don't necessarily need territories in the South Atlantic either. The South Pacific works (France), as does the Southern Indian Ocean (France), and if necessary, you make friends with Chile and Argentina (surprisingly, the French have done that before)...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Galileo blocking BeiDou

          That daily mail myth has been well and truly debunked. Galileo would work just fine without the British territories.

        3. Adrian Midgley 1

          Re: Galileo blocking BeiDou

          It might require two ships bieng in those vicinities which otehrwise would not, but it probably wouldn't.

    2. Andrew Moore Silver badge

      doubt it, as they are likely to be sharing the same frequencies...

      1. Why Not?

        doubt it, as they are likely to be sharing the same circuitry...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Would be a shame if the British satellites included signal jammers for Galileo satellites would it..."

      I don't know.

      What the rest of the world would do to the UK for that kind of wholly illegal vandalism would be an excellent lesson to anyone else who was tempted by such idiocy.

  3. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    All a bit unnecessary?

    This seems a lot of money, when the UK won't have any. An alternative...

    Stockpile satnav positions and routes. The government can download a lot of Google Streetview photos, together with their grid refs. Then issue a booklet to everyone with a few sample ones. If you're lost, you flip through the booklet until you find a photo of where you are and bingo. If that doesn't work you phone a special government helpline (usual rates) and describe where you are and the person at the other end of the line (in Mumbai?) will look through the photos for you. They will also then be able to give you turn-by-turn instructions (provided you hold the line)

    1. SolidSquid

      Re: All a bit unnecessary?

      As I understand it, the issue is specifically Military usage of Galileo. Specifically that they won't have the ability to make encrypted queries to the satellites (so could be tracked) and they won't have access to the more accurate data which is only opened up to the military (for things like drone strikes)

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: All a bit unnecessary?

        The military version of the booklet would just need to have 'Aide Memoir' and 'Classified' printed on the cover and perhaps include details of the Brecon Beacons and pubs in Heredfordshire, for the RAF add a section from Google Earth.

        You know BAE are not serious when they quote a 'cheap' figure like £5 billion, they couldn't make a cheese and onion sandwich to UK Gov' specs for that money.

        Oh and the gov' would probably forget to spec the onions.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Cuddles Silver badge

        Re: All a bit unnecessary?

        "As I understand it, the issue is specifically Military usage of Galileo."

        That's the story that gets spun a lot to justify it. It's nonsense.

        "Specifically that they won't have the ability to make encrypted queries to the satellites (so could be tracked)"

        There's no such thing as making queries to GPS satellites, encrypted or otherwise. The satellites simply broadcast a signal that can be picked up by any passive receiver. There is no way to know who might be doing that or to track them in any way.

        "they won't have access to the more accurate data which is only opened up to the military"

        This is the part actually given as justification. It is not true. The Public Regulated Service is identical to the commercial one, with exactly the same accuracy. The only difference is that the commercial one can be turned off, while there is a commitment not to do that for the military one. Unless we go to war with the EU, there is no meaningful difference between the two.

        As is so often the case, the real reason is simply money - the government doesn't want everyone involved in building satellites to up sticks and head to the continent, as Airbus are already doing. Losing access to the PRS goes hand in had with losing contracts to build parts for the satellites, since they both rely on being either in the EU or negotiating to become a partner, and losing those contracts means losing a lot more in the future as industry and experts move away. This "feasibility study" is just the latest desperate attempt to persuade everyone that the UK will totally still be relevant for space industry and there will be real money coming along any minute now if you'll just stay and give us another chance.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: All a bit unnecessary?

          The risk of the commercial service being switched off, meaning that organisations have to use the Public Regulated Service relies on the organisations in question having equipped themselves with sufficient receivers to make use of PRS.

          Compare to the state of GPS during the first Gulf War. The military realised that they didn't have enough receivers and so had to go out and buy off-the-shelf units from outdoor/camping shops. These were only capable of receiving the public GPS signal, and so selective availability was switched off - this allowed the military to operate with the required level of accuracy.

          Fast-forward to present day - it could be likely that bean-counters have prevented military, etc. from buying enough PRS-capable units, and so that reduces the likelihood of the commercial Galileo service being switched off.

      4. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

        Re: All a bit unnecessary?

        So if its just the crypto bits I can hear Turing rolling in his grave "Encrypted you say? Let me have a go!"

      5. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge

        Re: All a bit unnecessary?

        I rather suspect that the moment a war against an opponent who is even slightly clued up about positioning systems goes hot, that opponent will start doing their very best to both jam the signals. A slightly smarter opponent would also, in addition to signal-jamming, start launching false-flag terrorist attacks against major players like the USA and Russia, to encourage them to think of Galileo as a national security risk.

        I am however surprised that the EU is not more mercenary in its approach. The UK cannot get automatic access as a member state, but pay-for access given a set of conditions such as partial upholding of EU military goals and not attacking EU allies could surely be arranged. Indeed, using Galileo as a bargaining chip to keep the UK and its really rather potent military on the EU's side ought to be a goal of the EU.

        1. MyffyW Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: All a bit unnecessary?

          Again - are we talking SatNav or Brexit?

          I'm here all week ... unless somebody offers me £350M (for the NHS - honest)

        2. Jon 37
          FAIL

          Re: All a bit unnecessary?

          > I am however surprised that the EU is not more mercenary in its approach. The UK cannot get automatic access as a member state, but pay-for access given a set of conditions ...

          The rules that the UK helped write say that PRS is only available to EU members, so any work on PRS has to be done in an EU member country. Partner countries can work on Galileo, but not the PRS part of it. The UK insisted on this, to help the UK to win a lot of the PRS-related work.

          Ooops!

          Also, changing the Galileo rules would mean that France and Germany get less work. That's not a votewinner for French or German politicians, and the Brexit deal can't pass without their agreement. Why would they agree to that?

          > such as partial upholding of EU military goals and not attacking EU allies could surely be arranged.

          We're still in NATO, which covers most of that. And we're not going to agree to have our forces fight and die as part of an EU armed forces under EU command, that would clearly be political suicide for the UK government to suggest. So there's nothing significant for us to offer there - certainly nothing to persuade the French or German politicians to vote for it.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: All a bit unnecessary?

            The rules that the UK helped write say that PRS is only available to EU members, so any work on PRS has to be done in an EU member country. Partner countries can work on Galileo, but not the PRS part of it. The UK insisted on this, to help the UK to win a lot of the PRS-related work.

            ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            True, but I have read that the UK was acting as a spear-carrier for the US, and the other purpose of the changes the UK insisted on was to block China from joining Galileo - which the US really didn't like.

        3. Cuddles Silver badge

          Re: All a bit unnecessary?

          "I rather suspect that the moment a war against an opponent who is even slightly clued up about positioning systems goes hot, that opponent will start doing their very best to both jam the signals."

          It probably depends on whether said opponent is also trying to use the same systems.

          "I am however surprised that the EU is not more mercenary in its approach. The UK cannot get automatic access as a member state, but pay-for access given a set of conditions such as partial upholding of EU military goals and not attacking EU allies could surely be arranged."

          Unfortunately it's not the EU's approach that is the problem. Several non-EU countries have already negotiated such access. The key word there being "negotiated". As with so much of the nonsense surrounding Brexit, the problem is not actually inherent to Brexit itself, but has been caused by those at the top basically refusing to acknowledge that anyone could ever have a different opinion from them. If they'd started off with "Technically we'll lose access once we're no longer in the EU, what would it take to come to a deal similar to Israel/Norway/Switzerland/Ukraine/China*/etc.?", it would most likely all be sorted by now. But for some reason just stating "We want this, give it to us now." hasn't had quit the same result. Especially since when the EU replied with a simple "Nope", everyone has apparently been at a complete loss what to do next other than blindly repeat the same demand over and over again.

          * China dropped out fairly early on to do their own system, but it should say something that even they were able to get a deal as a Galileo partner despite all the worries about Chinese companies being security risks.

          1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: All a bit unnecessary?

            If they'd started off with "Technically we'll lose access once we're no longer in the EU, what would it take to come to a deal similar to Israel/Norway/Switzerland/Ukraine/China*/etc.?", it would most likely all be sorted by now.

            That presupposes that the EU wants it sorted, but there is nothing to suggest it does. No matter what the UK asked for, the response would have been "Nope". The EU believes that it has to make an example of the UK to prevent anyone else trying a *exit in the future. The UK cannot be allowed to win from Brexit, so fair negotiations are not on the table.

            1. Smirnov

              Re: All a bit unnecessary?

              "The UK cannot be allowed to win from Brexit, so fair negotiations are not on the table."

              The thing is that this aren't negotiations.

              This isn't like a business deal where both sides try to squeeze out as much as possible, the UK decided to leave so it's up to the UK to declare how it plans to do that, including the Irish border, and what it future status it seeks (mind you that this can't involve talks about trade deals). Simple as that. The EU may offer a little help here and there but from side of the EU there isn't really anything to negotiate, which is why their position has not shifted from day one.

              If only Brits, and especially Britain's government, weren't so utterly clueless about how the EU works, BREXIT wouldn't turn out to be such a drama.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: All a bit unnecessary?

                The thing is that this aren't negotiations.

                Oh they are, EU negotiations:

                "These are our negotiations, so you will negotiate the way we tell you. If you don't, we will make you negotiate again until you get it right."

                1. Lars Silver badge
                  Happy

                  Re: All a bit unnecessary?

                  "These are our negotiations". Well you intend to leave the EU, the EU is not kicking you out. And now you are negotiation on you future relations with the EU. How hard is it to understand that the EU will decide what is possible and what is not for the EU.

                  Britain seemed to be proud of being able to opt out of Galileo to later opt in (proudly!), and now some Brits seem to be upset because they cannot opt in to Galileo just like that when first opting out of the EU.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: All a bit unnecessary?

        As I understand it, the issue is specifically Military usage of Galileo. Specifically that they won't have the ability to make encrypted queries to the satellites (so could be tracked) and they won't have access to the more accurate data which is only opened up to the military (for things like drone strikes)

        --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

        Reality check!

        Is not the civilian Galileo signal accurate to 1 meter?

        Find me an attack drone that needs - and can use - a higher accuracy to any useful effect.

    2. Frenchie Lad

      Re: All a bit unnecessary?

      Goodnes Gracious, I think you meant Bangalore!

    3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: All a bit unnecessary? / booklet

      The booklet would be a truly British solution.

      Probably including having it printed in France, like the blue passports.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK has the resources

    UK has several options, not necessarily satellite based only. For instance eLoran has been discussed and can in many ways be far more resilient than satnav where all systems (GPS, Glonass, Galileo, Beidou, QZSS etc.) all use the same bands while eLoran is on a very different band.

    Also a UK only system can be based on 3 x 3 satellites in Molnya orbits, reusing Japanese QZSS tech. Reusing tried technologies with few satellites would be a lot cheaper than Galileo will be.

    1. Dave Wray

      Re: UK has the resourcesy

      And who builds he the capability into their products to use this bespoke signal?

      Remember all the products that were NTSC only because it just wasn’t feasible to make a PAL offering based on market size?

      It’s a big bleedin mistake in the making.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: UK has the resourcesy

        Remember all the products that were NTSC only because it just wasn’t feasible to make a PAL offering based on market size?

        You mean the PAL system designed by the Germans and used all over Europe (except in France), in parts of S. America, and in much of the Middle East?

        1. Frenchie Lad

          Re: UK has the resourcesy

          Give me SECAM anytime.

          1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: UK has the resourcesy

            Give me SECAM anytime.

            Ah yes, the Système Essentiallement Contre les AMericains... So awkward to handle that the studio editing and switching was done in PAL and only converted to SECAM immediately before broadcast!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: UK has the resourcesy

        > And who builds he the capability into their products to use this bespoke signal?

        So far all the main mobile phone SOC makers have included GPS and Glonass in their systems, and will support Galileo. The underlying principle is the same across all these platforms: tri- or multilateration based on ranging using high precision clocks. and that includes also the Loran-variants.

        It might sound fancy but a hobbyist was quite capable of making his own GPS receiver system from first principles: http://www.aholme.co.uk/GPS/Main.htm

        And his .co.uk address suggests he is British.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: UK has the resourcesy

          "The underlying principle is the same across all these platforms"

          Avoiding import duty on chipsets which don't support XYZ country's chosen navigation system.

          Yes, really. That's exactly why Glonass and Beidou were rolled into phone GNSS chipsets.

          Which only works if XYZ country has a market big enough to justify the investment.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: UK has the resourcesy

        "Remember all the products that were NTSC only because it just wasn’t feasible to make a PAL offering based on market size?"

        Isn't the European market actually bigger than Never Twice Same Colour land? More likely marketing execs in the US don't even realise there are other countries out there let alone know what their standards are.

        1. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: UK has the resourcesy

          Isn't the European market actually bigger than Never Twice Same Colour land? More likely marketing execs in the US don't even realise there are other countries out there let alone know what their standards are.

          Neither know in many cases, nor care from what I can see.

          I think it comes with being encouraged to believe they are living in the greatest country on earth from an early age.

          Anywhere else must just be 'howling ghosts'.

    2. short

      Re: UK has the resources

      +1 for an eLoran style ground-based option, rather than yet another sat system that'll be just as prone to jamming as the rest. Possibly not as good for guiding individual rounds in (is it?) but better at letting squaddies and assets know where they are,

      Edit: Also, third parties are much more likely to chip in to help build out & run an eLoran. Nobody will give a single fuck about yet another GNSS. I'd imagine that any receivers will be for Are Boys (and emergency services) only, hence huge, power hungry and crappy, to the point where they all just use a phone instead.

      1. short

        Re: UK has the resources

        Interesting, what have you all got against eLoran?

        From my reading of it, it seems like a less jammable, nearly as accurate (with modern receivers), lower running cost navigation system that can be rolled out across the globe as needed / wanted / as our empire inevitably restores itself post-brexit.

        Useful antennas currently exist down to 2cm square, and I imagine that'll gently shrink with time - so not as tiny as GPS, but GPS isn't going to stop existing, LORAN would just ride alongside as a less fragile backup for when you really care.

        Educate me, downvoters.

        1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          Re: UK has the resources

          In principle eLoran is not nearly as accurate as GPS-like systems, but in practice it is good enough for many activities where 10m or so is sufficient (like not being lost at sea).

          Main advantage is the high power low frequency system is harder to jam over any significant area, and it would not cost billions to cover the UK. But using it world-wide has the problem of enough ground based transmitters and their running costs (maintenance, power).

          As a fall-back for accurate timing and frequency control in the event of GPS outage for whatever reason it would be great, but again with a small market it is unlikely to be developed and unless it is forced upon operators of critical infrastructure then they won't spend the money to add resilience.

        2. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: UK has the resources

          Interesting, what have you all got against eLoran?

          Maybe the same problem as using GPS ?

          Maybe we should go for eDecca instead. Or eNDB.

          1. Frenchie Lad

            Re: UK has the resources

            Showing your age there with NDB! I made lots of journeys flying via NDB signals; quite fun too even though the routes tended to be somewhat circular and that's before you took the wind into account. Still long for those days of intrepid journeys when you really had to be a real pro to successfully navigate through the clouds.

            All the fun has gone out of navigating with GPS whichever format you use. Personally I'm for dead-reckoning:)

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: UK has the resources

          Interesting, what have you all got against eLoran?

          -----------------------------

          I wouldn't put it that way, but there are issues.

          While any GNSS is available, it provides much better accuracy than eLoran. That means the cost of running a number of high power sites gives no benefit.

          If someone wanted to block navigation systems, eLoran stations are easy to locate, and easy to reach... and a big target. Any nation with its own encrypted GNSS also has cruise missiles with conventional warheads, and the ability to build radio homing guidance systems - indeed, these are a standard air defence suppression tool.

          So... in peacetime it's useless but expensive, and in a shooting war it's very vulnerable. And it only becomes useful if four different GNSS systems (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and Beidou-2) all become unavailable.

          Furthermore, the accuracy is on the order of 100m. This lets you find a harbor or airfield, but it does not provide accuracy enough for reliable road navigation, precision landing, marking hazards, surveying, following a tight navigation channel, and so on... many of the use cases people really find useful.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: UK has the resources

        "Nobody will give a single fuck about yet another GNSS."

        Exactly. Every smartphone will have support for three or four of GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and Beidou-2.

        That means billions of commodity receiver chips for those four... the UK system will depend on special UK only chips that are use nowhere else... nor by 99.9 percent of the UK population.

        A contest between 'cheap as chips, works with everything you need' and 'almost hand carved, massively expensive, and quite possibly buggy'.

    3. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: UK has the resources

      UK has several options, not necessarily satellite based only

      One of which is, and let us not forget this, is for May to write a short letter saying "The UK withdraws our earlier letter regarding our intention to leave the EU under Article 50 of TEU"

      Simples.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: UK has the resources

        One of which is, and let us not forget this, is for May to write a short letter saying "The UK withdraws our earlier letter regarding our intention to leave the EU under Article 50 of TEU"

        Oh the embarrassment. We can't do that. Let's carry on and shit ourselves on the world stage instead.

      2. herman Silver badge

        Re: UK has the resources

        Do you realize that the UK existed and was very successful a long time before the EEC/EU?

        Dropping the continental bunch of socialists isn't exactly an earth shattering problem.

        1. Paul Shirley

          Re: UK has the resources

          very successful a long time before the EEC/EU?

          Those of us old enough remember a very different desperately unsuccessful UK just before (and for years after) it was finally allowed into the EEC.

          1. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

            Re: UK has the resources

            @Paul Shirley

            It has been argued that the UK economy did not get into its stride after World War 2 until Keynesian economics was ditched in the late 1970s. Maybe that made more difference than joining the Common Market.

          2. Frenchie Lad

            Re: UK has the resources

            The cause was too much socialism which brought the UK to its knees and the EU is going the same way so it's best to leave them to sink on their own. Of course we could throw them a liferaft later on.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Those of us old enough remember a very different desperately

            We never had a Three-Day Week here on the Continent... albeit someone would like it today - but with power to charge the mobe, of course...

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
              Joke

              Re: Those of us old enough remember a very different desperately

              "We never had a Three-Day Week here on the Continent."

              Yeah, you just get places like France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece etc. where many workers manage to do three days of work for five days attendance and pay :-)

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Those of us old enough remember a very different desperately

                And, from a sum total of human happiness perspective, is a bad thing because?

        2. HolySchmoley

          Re: UK has the resources

          >Do you realize that the UK existed and was very successful a long time before the EEC/EU?

          Do you realize that the ancient Greeks and the Roman Empire existed and were very successful a long time before the UK?

        3. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: UK has the resources

          Do you realize that the UK existed and was very successful a long time before the EEC/EU?

          Yes, the UK was part of the EFTA before that...

        4. Adrian 4 Silver badge

          Re: UK has the resources

          'Do you realize that the UK existed and was very successful a long time before the EEC/EU?'

          Yes, but that was in the Victorian era (and the succeeding years when we traded off our past). It isn't considered polite to rule and asset-strip third-world countries any more, but the civil service hasn't quite caught on to the new ways of doing things yet. Give them another 500 years and we'll be able to do it with globalisation instead, just like the americans.

          1. MyffyW Silver badge

            Re: UK has the resources

            'Do you realize that the UK existed and was very successful a long time before the EEC/EU?'

            There are many problems in this world, many intractable and difficult to solve. How we relate to 27 other democracies isn't one of them. Send that letter, Theresa ... you know it makes sense.

        5. Smirnov

          Re: UK has the resources

          "Do you realize that the UK existed and was very successful a long time before the EEC/EU?"

          Yes, when it was still plundering other countries.

          At later times, not so much. British goods were generally considered as badly designed, unreliable crap, and the country itself was known as the "Poor Man of Europe", in a worse state than Greece has ever been, which had to seek shelter under the EEC/EU umbrella to save it's sorry asses from declining to true 3rd world status. Somehow this doesn't really ooze 'success' the way you think it does.

          The remarkable bit is that, after flourishing under the EU umbrella, Britain seems to be hellbent to go back to being the "Poor Man of Europe", a wish that appears will soon be granted.

      3. A.P. Veening

        Withdrawal

        Brexit means brexit, goodbye and good riddance.

        1. JoshOvki
          Coat

          Re: goodbye and good riddance

          Is that what the Europeans are saying about the UK?! Kind of makes sense.

          Not a joke, but mine is the one with the useless blue passport in the pocket

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Withdrawal

          "Brexit means brexit, goodbye and good riddance."

          And yet so many Brexiteers can't seem to agree on what Brexit means.

    4. Caff

      Re: UK has the resources

      Re-use?

      Are you mad! No, we need proper homegrown British pork none of those imported pork barrels will suffice.

      What are the odds of Mogg, Farage or Jonhson having connections to aerospace consultancy firms?

    5. Tinslave_the_Barelegged Silver badge

      Re: UK has the resources

      Also a UK only system can be based on 3 x 3 satellites

      Unfortunately, the UK military doesn't plan to restrict its bombing to the UK alone.

      1. keithpeter
        Coat

        Re: UK has the resources

        "Unfortunately, the UK military doesn't plan to restrict its bombing to the UK alone"

        Which raises the issue about NATO or UN approved operations and international cooperation. Bit hard with no access to the encrypted signals?

        Coat: mine has a gyroscope in one pocket and an analogue integrator in the other for dead reckoning my way to Morrisons

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: UK has the resources

        >Unfortunately, the UK military doesn't plan to restrict its bombing to the UK alone.

        A 3 x 3 constellation will give far greater coverage than UK alone. The zenith will be about 22000 km up which compared to Earth's diameter of 12000 km means we see almost a hemisphere. To plot what this means go to this page:

        https://ns6t.net/azimuth/azimuth.html

        London is 51.50471, -0.26781. Distance 8000 km gives a good estimate.

        The plot shows you coverage from Angola to the Bering Straight, from Guyana to Mongolia. Not shabby for a simple constellation.

    6. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: UK has the resources

      Setting up something like eLoran in the UK or a small constellation that only provides UK coverage is an interesting idea. Satnavs can always use the civilian signals from GPS, Glonass and Galileo but when the RAF needs to drop bombs with military precision the only place they will be able to do it would be the UK.

      If the planned delivery date is going to be about five years from now I propose 2023-11-05 for the first live ammo test.

    7. Andrew Moore Silver badge

      Re: UK has the resources

      That's what I was thinking- replicate QZSS. However because it's for military applications they would probably need global rather than regional coverage.

    8. Frenchie Lad

      Re: UK has the resources

      Wot about foreign conflicts?

    9. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: UK has the resources

      "a UK only system can be based on 3 x 3 satellites in Molnya orbits, "

      Assuming the UK military only sail/fly/match/drive in circles around the UK.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't see what the fuss is about. We could use the stars to pin point location, sure it will only work at night when it's not cloudy but it'll be a damn sight cheaper.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I have frequently used a star to navigate by, also during daytime. It is called the sun.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        How? I was always told never to look at it.

        1. herman Silver badge

          You can use a backstaff or a sextant. Then you need not look at the sun.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backstaff

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sextant

          It doesn't even need batteries.

          1. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

            The sextant does not give you the longitude.

            1. Lost it

              You use a couple of decent clocks forthat. Set to GMT of course. That's all the RN had for quite a while, wasn't that often they were lost.

              And there are these things called maps. They introduce all kinds of wondrous opportunities not least they would completely prevent articulated lorries driven by foreign nationals following satnags down the garden path.

              And again, before GPS we still managed to arrive where we set out to go.

          2. Bob Magoo

            What do you do when it's raining / cloudly

            1. dajames Silver badge

              What do you do when it's raining / cloudly

              Stay indoors, where it's warm and dry!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Would that be the paper version?

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Trident uses star trackers for navigation.

      Couldn't we just make all the RAF's planes and missiles a teensy little bit bigger and more powerful, so they can just pop up into space - take a navigation fix - then pop down and do whatever bombing/delivering/snooping they were planning.

      All we need is to get the Reaction Engines thingymajig to work, find an aircraft design that can cope with reentry heat, invent a new fuel that doesn't leak, kill everyone or weigh too much and job's a good'un.

      I suggest nuclear powered aeroplanes.

      [cue: Thunderbirds music]

  6. 45RPM Silver badge

    Riiigghhtttt…

    So, the latest happy happy nothing wrong here Tory plans are…

    * Eradicating homelessness

    * Investing more in Africa than any other country (in the wurrrllldd)

    * Investing all the money that we pay to Europe in the NHS

    * Building our own satellite navigation system

    M’kay. So either the magic money tree really does exist, or our government is hiding away in its shelter, with the bombs raining down, and fantasising with its favourite architect how London will be built better than ever, and actually the bombs are a good thing because they’ll save on demolition effort.

    I’m not saying that the governments wishes are bad - just that they’re unacheivable. We’re abandoning the greatest alliance in the history of the world, and fiddling whilst our economy collapses around our ears. And no, America will not ride to our rescue - Trump can’t be trusted, and sane American administrations value us principally as a bridge into Europe.

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      our government is hiding away in its shelter, with the bombs raining down

      It does seem to have a distinct whiff of 'Last Days of Hitler' about it. Sitting in the bunker with the Red Army a mile away, planning for the counter-attack and ultimate victory. How did that turn out?

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        How did that turn out?

        For Hitler, not so well. For Germany, though? I'd say they're doing nicely now.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          For Hitler, not so well. For Germany, though? I'd say they're doing nicely now.

          Maybe UK should threaten to come under the influence of Russia to attract whatever the modern equivalent of Marstall Plan Aid is.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Influence on the UK

            Maybe UK should threaten to come under the influence of Russia to attract whatever the modern equivalent of Marstall Plan Aid is.

            I see that you are writing the manifesto for the Labor party at the next Election (2019)... Jeremy (I can walk on water) Corbyn would love to buddy up to Putin.

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: Influence on the UK

              I see that you are writing the manifesto for the Labor party at the next Election (2019)... Jeremy (I can walk on water) Corbyn would love to buddy up to Putin.

              No, I was just taking the piss.

              Oh, I see what you mean. Same thing.

              1. MyffyW Silver badge

                Re: Influence on the UK

                Ok, so after so many responses it was inevitable we'd go there (the whole Hitler comparison) .... but I do follow your logic Pen-y-Gors .... only problem is: I have a bad feeling we're currently in the early 1930's .... we've got a long time before we get "liberated" by the Red Army. And their idea of wooing a lady differed markedly from my own.

            2. HolySchmoley

              Re: Influence on the UK

              >Corbyn would love to buddy up to Putin

              Too late. Trump already has.

              And Teresa's not really got anyone left to buddy up to, now that the DUP is caching in its share of her Magic Money Tree.

      2. Teiwaz Silver badge

        It does seem to have a distinct whiff of 'Last Days of Hitler' about it. Sitting in the bunker with the Red Army a mile away, planning for the counter-attack and ultimate victory. How did that turn out?

        Don't forget obsessing over the fantastical architectural make-over.

        I suppose this time round it's Rail-links, Customs Systems and Sattelite Navigation arrays....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          ... and the best fighter plane in the world (because we're British)

          ... and the most successful space launch operation (because we're British)

          ... and replacing all the EU spending, grants, and programs in the UK (???)

          ... and ...

      3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

        Re: How did that turn out?

        Worst. Honeymoon. Ever.

    2. JetSetJim Silver badge

      > So either the magic money tree really does exist, or our government is hiding away in its shelter

      Perhaps the tree does exist, and at a later point in time we'll be told of the massive amounts of money printed by the Bank of England to get us through the "initial rough patch*" that is the Brexit fallout.

      (*) - May last several decades...

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: Money tree

        We should adopt the leaf as currency then everyone can have their own money tree.

        1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: We should adopt the leaf as currency

          The tea leaves would keep stealing them though.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: We should adopt the leaf as currency

            "The tea leaves would keep stealing them though."

            And then make Tea with them.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Money tree

          "We should adopt the leaf as currency then everyone can have their own money tree."

          I've always wondered about that. It seems silly when there all those pine needles on the pine trees. If we adopted the pine needle as a currency, we'd all be rich, RICH I TELL YOU!!!!

          I mean, think of the windfall just after Christmas. Instead of being in debt, we'd just have to empty the hoover bag and be rich again.

    3. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

      @45RPM

      There were many "think tank" types of reasons for joining "the greatest alliance in history". But ordinary English folk have always instinctively felt that there was something not quite right.

      Compare that "greatest alliance" with the United States: its parliament is ineffective compared with Congress; and it is effectively run by EU civil servants rather than by elected politicians. Fifty years after it started in 1957 it needed a new constiution (just as the US is on number two). But all we got was more of the same.

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        @Primus etc

        its parliament is ineffective compared with Congress;

        Are you suggesting that the US Congress is effective? For heaven's sake, they can't even manage to impeach Drumpf!

      2. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Compare that "greatest alliance" with the United States: its parliament is ineffective compared with Congress

        Wait, Congress is effective...?

        Of course the EU is mostly not very Democratic, most of the member states government don't want to give much in they way of electorial power to the EU Parliament either.

        The UK system is also flawed when the only slightly larger group can dominate policy, and is also run by civil servants (and of a much narrower mindset and educational background).

      3. NerryTutkins

        The UK doesn't even have one constitution. At least not in writing, so the government of the day largely does as it pleases and gets its own lawyer to say it's fine.

        And look at the mess this has got us in.

    4. Alfie
      Trollface

      RE: magic money tree

      M’kay. So either the magic money tree really does exist

      Shhh! You know you arent allowed to mention it by its real name.

      You are only ever allowed to refer to it as Quantative Easing.

    5. Chris G Silver badge

      @ 45RPM Just these two;

      "* Eradicating homelessness

      * Investing more in Africa than any other country (in the wurrrllldd)"

      Currently the UK is about 3.91 million homes short of a full set.

      In Africa according to the FT; China put £10 billion into Africa in 2000. By 2014, that had risen more than 20-fold to $220bn

      Match that Ms May!

      With that kind of money the UK could have catapults on it's aircraft carriers and even aircraft.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Investing more in Africa than any other country (in the wurrrllldd)"

      I wonder how they think they can buy/finance enough trade to pay for the bribes?

      Or why they think they can win an investment war with China.

    7. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "Tory plans are…

      * Eradicating homelessness"

      The plan for this one seems to be via "letting the homeless freeze/starve/otherwise die horribly"

      I'd rather not return to 19th century values, thanks.

  7. Herring` Silver badge

    Wait, what?

    £92m on a feasibility study?

    For a start, most people thought the "We're going to build our own satellite navigation system. With blackjack. And hookers" was just dick waving/sour grapes.

    But £92m seems like a hell of a lot of money to find out how a positioning system works when you can just look it up on Wikipedia (maybe I should bid for the contract). You need some clocks and some rockets. There. Done.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Wait, what?

      £92m on a feasibility study?

      Want to join my UK First GPS Feasibility Study Consulting company? Who cares how stupid it is: all aboard the gravy train!

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Wait, what?

      But £92m seems like a hell of a lot of money to find out how a positioning system works when you can just look it up on Wikipedia (maybe I should bid for the contract). You need some clocks and some rockets. There. Done.

      How much does it cost to copy and paste the Galileo documentation?

    3. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Wait, what?

      Very short report.

      TL;DR

      1) Of course it's bloody feasible. How do you think the Americans, the Russians and the EU managed it? Pixie-dust?

      2) It's an insane waste of money.

      [Not bad, that's nearly £4 million a word. Even BoZo doesn't get that much from the Torygraph for his shit]

      1. codejunky Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Wait, what?

        @ Pen-y-gors

        "1) Of course it's bloody feasible. How do you think the Americans, the Russians and the EU managed it? Pixie-dust?

        2) It's an insane waste of money."

        I kinda expected something like this to be the very first comment to this article.

      2. John Styles

        Re: Wait, what?

        No it's not, there's no frequencies available.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Wait, what?

          No it's not, there's no frequencies available.

          ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

          I was wondering if someone would notice that issue.

          Neither frequencies nor orbital positions are infinite - indeed, the preferred ones are a scare resource that is getting smaller all the time.

          I am wondering if the international organizations that allocate these things would consider a fifth GNSS a priority use, or whether it would be shuffled off into the less useful spaces and frequencies.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Wait, what?

            "Neither frequencies nor orbital positions are infinite - indeed, the preferred ones are a scare resource that is getting smaller all the time."

            Maybe all satellites should be mandated with tow points at one end and tow bars at the other so they can all just connect together. Hey boys, I think we got us a convoy!

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Wait, what?

              "Neither frequencies nor orbital positions are infinite - indeed, the preferred ones are a scare resource that is getting smaller all the time."

              Maybe all satellites should be mandated with tow points at one end and tow bars at the other so they can all just connect together. Hey boys, I think we got us a convoy!

              ----------------------------------------------------------

              At that point, unfortunately, the proximity stifles frequency re-use... like putting cell sites too close together.

              The frequency and position issues are not actually completely independent.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wait, what?

      You have to pay someone to fill the brown envelopes or grease palms, preferably a tennis player good at backhanders.

      1. HolySchmoley

        Re: Wait, what?

        >You have to pay someone to fill the brown envelopes or grease palms, preferably a tennis player good at backhanders.

        Nice little earner for a Member's family member.

    5. Crisp Silver badge

      Re: £92m on a feasibility study

      I could give them the same answer for half that.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: £92m on a feasibility study

        I could give them the right answer for a tenth of that.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: £92m on a feasibility study

          Airbus Defence and Space in Portsmouth, Guildford and Stevenage will be happy to undertake the feasibility study and deliver that £92 million safely back to HQ in Ottobrun suburb of München,.

        2. HolySchmoley

          Re: £92m on a feasibility study

          I could give them half the answer for ten times that, and my uncle says he'll make sure I get the contract.

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: £92m on a feasibility study

          Steady on there, chaps. Don't go undercutting each other.

        4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: £92m on a feasibility study

          I could give them the right answer for a tenth of that.

          Ah, but who would take you seriously? Got to be a serious figure and an appropriate volume of pages to show the public that the government is getting value for money.

  8. David Roberts Silver badge
    WTF?

    I say chaps, where are we going?

    New formal start of any NATO joint exercise.

    This will also, presumably, have already been translated into Turkish.

    Given that the public features will be in all phones in a few years, I presume that this spat is all about future manufacturing contracts and not about civilian or military end users. Unless the UK version of the F35 has the satnav taken out? GPS it is, then.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I say chaps, where are we going?

      You make a good point there, how on earth is NATO supposed to function if everyone is using their own GPS?

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: I say chaps, where are we going?

        You make a good point there, how on earth is NATO supposed to function if everyone is using their own GPS?

        Well, presumably if the armies all show up in the right place at the right time no-one will care. Just like they did when they used their own maps in the pre-GNSS days.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I say chaps, where are we going?

        You make a good point there, how on earth is NATO supposed to function if everyone is using their own GPS?

        -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

        Quite irrelevant.

        Just like it wasn't a problem when various people were using their own copies of maps, or even editions/sources as long as they were accurate.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: I say chaps, where are we going?

      "Unless the UK version of the F35 has the satnav taken out? "

      Nope, but the bomb bay is full of the UK avionics extension to the GNSS system, so there's no room for internal ordinance - and the tubby wee thing with stubby wee wings loses stealth with external stores as well as losing manouverability and speed.

      Seems quite appropriate for an aircraft to be deployed on HMS Sitting Duck or HMS White Elephant.

  9. Thesheep
    Pirate

    Space Force!

    Great, we will end up with more satellites than ships! Can I be a Space Admiral?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Space Force!

      Why not? We already have more admirals than ships.

  10. Potemkine! Silver badge

    £92m on a feasibility study

    That's money well spent.... ROTFL

    Going straight from taxpayers' pockets to government's friends.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: £92m on a feasibility study

      Going straight from taxpayers' pockets to government's friends.

      You'd prefer it go to their enemies?

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: £92m on a feasibility study

        "You'd prefer it go to their enemies?"

        Well, yes, actually. I consider myself to be an enemy of the government most days.

  11. Joeman

    its the VHS/Betamax scenario all over again but with three players not two..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      With the UK system being V2000?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        or blue ray system.

        Add in a killer laser app and this time we wont be sending Bond out to recover the diamonds.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "With the UK system being V2000?"

        You could argue that position was taken by Beidou v1 or the original prototype French Navigation system that became DORIS.

        This would be more like Knock-off Nigel No-mates one which has "Quality Bru^Hitish Merchandise" labels hastily plastered over the "Made in North Bumfuckistan's second-finest sweatshops" labels, where every side of the enclosure is a slightly different shade of "mixed up from all the leftover paint in the cupboard" none of the panels line up when new and the moment you open the cover all the wiring explodes outwards, making it impossible to close it again. "But it's BRITISH mate, you can't get better than that!"

        Sometime after being "convinced" to pay twenty times as much for this monstrosity as for anything off the high street in dresden by NIgel's extremely large and persuasive older brother Fat Tony, you discover it only gives directions in Gumby and has t be programmed using Ecky-thump.

        Curiousity gets the better of you and you open it up to find a small commercial GNSS receiver stuck to the inside with doublesided tape, butchered with a mountain of strange wiring coming out of it into some kind of vacuum tube based elecronics which doesn't appear to actually do anything except get hot.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "its the VHS/Betamax scenario all over again but with three players not two.."

      You mean five players not four, don't you?

      There are already four global GNSS systems up or spinning up.

      Who can recall the fifth place early videotape tech?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In a way this probably makes some sense (even if it isn't ideal) considering the UK is already looking to develop its space capabilities to include launching satellites and would have to invest in that anyway to grow the sector and gain the necessary skills. I'm guessing this is just a diversion and speeding-up of that already-planned investment anyway rather than new money. The UK has been crying out for some public investment for a long time and putting it in a growing sector like this should pay for itself and give it a head start over other European countries who are also looking to develop their space sectors.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But isn't it more expensive to launch the further you are away from the equator and hence why Ariane launches from French Guiana rather than anywhere in Europe?

      If the UK do their own GPS, I would have though launching from India would have been a better bet and since they already managed to launch 104 satellites on one rocket, it wouldn't be that expensive (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qajruk4-3p4)

      I would have thought the UK investment might be more to do with commercial development of the Sabre engine https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SABRE_(rocket_engine)

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        But isn't it more expensive to launch the further you are away from the equator and hence why Ariane launches from French Guiana rather than anywhere in Europe?

        Depends where you want the orbit to be but for geostationery stuff, the equator has a higher angular velocity.

        1. Lost it

          How would they know where to put the satellites without GPS?

          It means "Global Posittioning System" doesn't it?

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "But isn't it more expensive to launch the further you are away from the equator and hence why Ariane launches from French Guiana rather than anywhere in Europe?"

        That depends on the orbit: it's true for equatorial orbits such as geostationary satellites. Navigation satellites are in polar orbit so one place is as good as another with a preference for there being uninhabited areas downrange where bits of rocket fall. The proposed spaceport in NW Scotland is fine for that as there's a lot of sea downrange.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Navigation satellites are in polar orbit so one place is as good as another

          ------------------------------------

          You would be somewhat correct if GNSS satellites were in a polar orbit, but...

          Polar orbit inclination: 90 deg

          GPS orbital inclination 55 deg

          GLONASS orbital inclination 64 deg 8 min

          Galileo orbital inclination 56 deg

          ... so all of them get a boost from the earth's rotation.

          Also, while orbital mechanics is not my specialty, I seem to recall that a common technique is to put something up first (energy intensive) and then tweak the orbital plane (energy efficient)... for a net win over initially inserting into a non-equatorial orbit. There may be one or two steps I missed (? launch, tweak plane at perigee, circularize orbit?)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "putting it in a growing sector like this should pay for itself and give it a head start over other European countries who are also looking to develop their space sectors."

      ---------------------------------------------

      That makes no sense.

      The UK is in a bad location for a launch facility... too far from the equator, no safe ocean clearance to the east (be prepared to pay big time for dropping failed rockets into someone else's city), potential weather issues, high density of air traffic...

      They are playing catch-up behind at least six or seven current space launch vendors... many of whom have decades of experience at it.

      AFAIK, not only does the UK lack a facility, it lacks a reliable, tested, mature launch vehicle.

      Why do they seem to think it will be easy to become a major player in the market? They don't even build their own ICBMs - a good starting point for early launch vehicles.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Why do they seem to think it will be easy to become a major player in the market?

        Perhaps because it already is? Do try & keep up at the back there.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Why do they seem to think it will be easy to become a major player in the market?

          --- Perhaps because it already is? Do try & keep up at the back there.

          -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

          No, it isn`t.

          They are talking about building a launch facility and starting to sell launches.

          You seem to have missed that their whole plan is to enter a market they where they do not have a significant presence.

          I was only able to find reference to two UK attempts at an orbital launch vehicle - Black Arrow which on its fourth launch managed to orbit a 66 kg satellite in 1971 - the UK`s only successful launch using their vehicle, and Black Prince aka Blue Streak Satellite Launch Vehicle, which was cancelled somewhere around 1960.

          Given that Galileo satellites mass 675 kg each, and they are being launched 4 at a time, the UK has never actually orbited something even 3% of the required mass to duplicate this (even not counting the mass of the satellite `dispenser` unit).

          The successful launch groups seem to be the US, two or three private American corporations, Russia, Europe, China, India, and maybe Japan.

          Tell us again why the fantasy of launching 2000 satellites in the next several years without either a launch vehicle or launch facility yet is a reasonable and feasible scheme to out-compete the existing players.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Google Skylon Sabre

  13. Bavaria Blu
    Flame

    Theresa May is a parochial girl from the boondocks

    I know Theresa May grew up in a village and calls people who go abroad on holiday "citizens of nowhere" but this is ridiculous. Our own GPS system? What does the G in GPS stand for? Surely for Brexiteers an evil source of globalising influence. GPS will turn us into citizens of nowhere! We won't be leaving the UK as the pound is so worthless, so why do we need a global navigation system? Why not just have a home counties navigation system, HoCoNS? Surely for the typical Tory MP navigation is something your driver or the au pair does on the school run anyway?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Theresa May is a parochial girl from the boondocks

      HOme Counties UNiversal Topography System.

  14. Ru'

    Typical EU bad-losing stuff. Norway for example seem to be on board despite not being EU members (if Wikipedia is yo be believed).

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Norway is on board for the general navigation stuff, not for the access to the encrypted core signals. And it's exactly the access to the encrypted bits that Britain is going to lose (which you'd know if you bothered reading the article...)

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "And it's exactly the access to the encrypted bits that Britain is going to lose"

        And just who was it insisted not-EU countries shouldn't have that access?

      2. Ru'

        Article read and understood, thanks. I can't find anything in it relating to Norway's lack of military access, nor can I find anything elsewhere on the topic (brief search only as I'm only on my phone i'm afraid).

  15. DavCrav Silver badge

    "The UK Government has found it difficult to understand that if one stops being a member of a club, one loses access to that club’s facilities."

    Considering we are still part of NATO, it's more like telling the fire service they aren't allowed access to your water to put out a fire in your building.

    I have no problem with the EU chucking the UK out of Galileo, but then the UK (and the US) should send a bill to the EU for their defence (and their defense), and if it doesn't get paid, pull out. It's just a form of insurance.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >I have no problem with the EU chucking the UK out of Galileo, but then the UK (and the US) should send a bill to the EU for their defence (and their defense), and if it doesn't get paid, pull out. It's just a form of insurance.

      Last time EU wanted to defend something was in Srebrenica. I hope nobody has forgotten how that ended.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Last time EU wanted to defend something..."

        Now, if only UK stayed at home instead of bombing Libya...

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      send a bill to the EU for their defence

      Get back in your box, Donald. Leave international affairs to adults who understand what the phrase 'long-term interests' means.

      1. Chinashaw

        Despite his loathsome behaviour, he is right. Europe has ridden the coat tails of other peoples defence spending for decades. Germany in particular has had to train with broom sticks and barely has an airforce or tank regiment that works. He is also correct to point out that NATO has a minimum spend target of 2% and people really should hit that, especially rich countries like Germany.

        So perhaps Rich 11, you should get back in your patronising little box and leave the international affairs to adults who understand what the phrase 'long term interests' means.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Germany in particular has had to train with broom sticks and barely has an airforce or tank regiment that works

          Jesus fucking wept! Do you think there might possibly be a good reason for Germany having a shit army for all those years? And where's the threat supposed to come from since the Soviet army bankupted the USSR? De-escalation is a very reasoanable tactic.

          Anyway, larger defence budgets don't mean necessarily mean safer. What have all those trillions (yes, 10^12 was passed some time ago) done for Afghanistan?

          America's huge military presence has been used to enforce its global hegemony: having the world's reserve currency is very good for trade and keeps borrowing costs down a lot.

          1. Chinashaw

            You are right, Jesus wept.

            I merely pointed out that Germany is not meeting its legal obligations as per an agreement it has signed. As for the the threat, well we only need to look at Georgia, Ukraine, the odd aeroplane, threats to the Baltic states, the murder of individuals in allied countries, to see that there is a rather large country fairly close by that is making all sorts of military decisions that impact Germany's allies in NATO as well as behaving in a militarily threatening manner. Therefore, they have an obligation to help them and to do so requires a functioning military. As for the shit military, it is because they were covered by the US, French, British militaries as well as having a handy land buffer in Poland that enabled them to have quite such a shit military. On top of which, it wants the EU to have a functioning military force, rather tricky when you don't actually have one yourself.

            I couldn't agree more, de-escalation is a great concept and if we lived in a world where we could ensure that we 'de escalated' together then it is a wonderful idea. It's just that we don't. Ask how our trade partners in Asia feel about China building its own little island airbase or anyone blown up, run down or whatever by your local resistance/terrorist member..

            Oh and given the increasingly interconnected world we live in, with lovely trade routes and integrated supply chains, the ability to keep those flowing is rather critical to our economy and our lives. So the ability to stop them is also rather handy.

            Then we also enter the realm of 'why do we need tanks?' and I agree but then again in getting rid of them (because we don't invade countries anymore etc etc) are we guilty of preparing for today's war/combat and not understanding what is coming next?

            And at no time have I said that larger defence budgets make for a safer world. Though you could argue that MAD in its own odd way, did keep the peace between the two largest, scariest militaries of the time.

            Don't disagree on the last point though, you could also argue that their economic might has also been rather useful in keeping their hegemony going. And is that such an awful thing (current president excepted)? Could have been worse, we could have had a Russian Hegemony (that was lovely for those Eastern bloc states) or a Maoist one (great for Sparrows and starvation.) I cannot think of any other major power that was close in size to creating a Hegemony.

            1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

              I merely pointed out that Germany is not meeting its legal obligations as per an agreement it has signed.

              Are you referring the NATO comminiqués about "2% for defence"? Firstly, these are statements and not binding treatments: the German government may not by law sign any such binding agreements because the army is responsible to the parliament only. And secondly, the statements have set 2% only as a target.

          2. Frenchie Lad

            "Do you think there might possibly be a good reason for Germany having a shit army for all those years? And where's the threat supposed to come from since the Soviet army bankupted the USSR?"

            The reason for US army bases in Germany is to remind the Boch of its place militarily however that shouldn't stop Germany from have a working army & airforce. Other countries have similar readiness issues.

            You forget Russia's recent actions all around its territory including annexation of Crimea and earlier parts of Georgia and even Moldavia. In other countries including many European ones it's purpose is one of generating chaos; think of the Balkans. Putin's using the old tactic of foreign agression abroad to bolster his position @ home. A clear readiness to respond to any aggression is paramount for one's safety and having decent armed forces is one of them.

            1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

              however that shouldn't stop Germany from have a working army & airforce.

              It doesn't but respect for countries like Poland and the Czech Republic do.

              You forget Russia's recent actions all around its territory including annexation of Crimea and earlier parts of Georgia and even Moldavia.

              Nope. But seeing as all the US' massive firepower hasn't dissuaded Putin from invasions, I fail to see what a few more German planes and tanks would do.

              Putin's using the old tactic of foreign agression abroad to bolster his position @ home.

              Yes, and finding out that it's bloody expensive (Crimea is a real money pit for Moscow). Russia can cause trouble and has enough planes and missiles to invade most of its neighbours. But it has nowhere near enough good troops to hold anywhere. Hence the stalemate in Ukraine and the not so subtle attempts for a rapprochement with Europe. Presumably before it all kicks off again in the Causcuses

          3. DavCrav Silver badge

            "And where's the threat supposed to come from since the Soviet army bankupted [sic] the USSR?"

            I don't know. You could try asking the people of Georgia, the Crimea, Ukraine, Estonia, Moldova, and so on, where they see some military threat.

            "De-escalation is a very reasoanable [sic] tactic."

            Then you will support the UK pulling out of NATO, as mission accomplished, right?

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              The EU wrote a report blaming Georgia for the troubles in S.Ossettia. Ass.Sec Nuland had some choice words about the EU in Ukraine whilst picking it's new government.

              But Crimea's created a reason why there are RAF Typhoons based out of Romania patrolling EU.. I mean NATO airspace over the Black Sea. Perhaps that's something the UK will have to cancel if services are withdrawn by the EU.

        2. LDS Silver badge

          "Germany in particular has had to train with broom sticks"

          It is true Germany for a long time found useful that nobody wanted it heavily armed, and used it at its own advantage, and now it has to change course and meet its obligation in defending itself and NATO allies.

          Just, looking at the raise of AfD, one starts to wonder if that's really a good idea...

      2. DavCrav Silver badge

        "Get back in your box, Donald. Leave international affairs to adults who understand what the phrase 'long-term interests' means."

        It's not in the UK's long-term interest to leave the EU. But if we're going to do that, we seriously need to be saving money. Long-term interests are one thing, but spending billions on international aid and Europe's defence when we will need that to pay for medicine and food for the destitute millions is not a good idea.

  16. Rupert Fiennes Bronze badge

    Gaileo was willy waving

    Given GPS was available to us as US allies, it was hard to see why we needed to duplicate it: no European military could conduct a major military operation without US support, even ourselves and the French, and if you wanted to re-establish that capability, a "new GPS" would not be what you would start with: you would fill out military logistic support organisations, start running large military exercises again to rebuild the "corporate knowledge", and increase ammunition and spare part holdings to increase readiness. You can understand why Baidu and GLONASS were built, but not Galileo.

    If we really feel the need to loft loads of military satellites, I suggest communication birds look far more useful.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Gaileo was willy waving

      "no European military could conduct a major military operation without US support"

      That's a way of saying without US approval and GPS is a part of that. It reduces the Europe to being simply vassals of US foreign policy. Now do you see why they wanted Galileo?

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Gaileo was willy waving

        @ Doctor Syntax

        "That's a way of saying without US approval and GPS is a part of that. It reduces the Europe to being simply vassals of US foreign policy. Now do you see why they wanted Galileo?"

        Willy wagging. Do you really think the EU has the balls or the lack of braincells to go to war without the US being ok with it? If the US really disagreed with the EU going to war the EU would put its tail between its legs faster than the EU committee could figure out which direction they are going.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Gaileo was willy waving

          "If the US really disagreed with the EU going to war the EU would put its tail between its legs faster than the EU committee could figure out which direction they are going."

          -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

          You may well be right. Today.

          That's why Galileo and the joint European military force are a step in the right direction.

          With the right evolution, the EU could become one of the top 5 or 6 world powers.... which might add some needed balance.

          1. Rupert Fiennes Bronze badge

            Re: Gaileo was willy waving

            Well, it's nearly thirty years since we were told the EU was going to "handle" Bosnia. EU deployable forces now are a fraction of what was available then, and in the end they still required the US to take the decisions and supply the forces. The EU talks a lot about how it's planning on becoming a superpower, but experience shows it utterly lacks the will to do so: there has been no sign of them either spending or developing the backbone required. It's long past time to ignore these fantasies.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Gaileo was willy waving

        It reduces the Europe to being simply vassals of US foreign policy. Now do you see why they wanted Galileo?

        So it could see which way it should have been going?

      3. Rupert Fiennes Bronze badge

        Re: Gaileo was willy waving

        "Now do you see why they wanted Galileo?"

        They wanted to pretend they were actually able to mount independent operations without spending much money? As I pointed out, actually having that capability means serious spending over a medium to large period of time. There's no sign of that happening outside the likes of Eastern Europe.

      4. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Gaileo was willy waving

        Doctor Syntax,

        That's all very well - but without the military investment the satellite capablity is a joke. Only Britain and France have any serious deployment capability at all - and we'd both be pretty overstretched by anything large nowadays.

        Since the Commission decided to start shitting all over our post Brexit security cooperation (will be interesting to see how much of that stands when the Council of Ministers do the final deciding), Europe's defence capabilities look even weaker. For example (going from memory here) 13 out of 14 EU military deployments have been HQed out of Northwood. But that's ending next year, unless minds change. As the Commission's current position is that once we leave the EU, and not even during the transition period, we not only can't run joint HQs for missions we've been running for years - but even if we commit troops, we'll be allowed no joint decision making in how they're used. Which pretty much is saying, "fuck off we don't want your help" - as that's a pretty much unacceptable positon to take for a country committing forces. Even to the sort of peacekeeping stuff that the EU mostly does. The surprise of that decision seems to have come down to the weird negotiating strategy, where the Commission decided that the one important bit of Brexit was that the UK pay over loads of cash. And all other talking should be left to the last minute.

        Running a joint forces, multi-national HQ can't be all that hard, these mostly aren't that complex missions. But it is suggestive that there's almost no existing EU HQ capacity.

        Then we get to one of the most sensible bits of EU defence integration. The idea that as most EU countries have lower defence spending, they each specialise in certain capabiliites. Which can then be shared at need. It's a great idea in theory, as you get much better capabilities for smaller investment, rather then countries trying to do everything badly, and on a small scale. Except that when France called on Germany during the Libya campaign, for air transport/tanker assets, Germany said no. Since when, France has been trying to get much better bilateral military cooperation going with the UK - as France have rarely been happy to work through NATO, and the EU route hasn't borne that much fruit. Remember that France and Germany have joint military formations, and were supposedly the big two committing to EU defence cooperation.

        The German foreign minister (later publicly shot down by Merkel) and French President both said in speeches last week that Europe can't rely on the US under Trump. Which leads to the question, what to do about it? I suspect Merkel contradicted that interview because her policy is not to increase defence spending very much at all. Germany's current budget is that it rise from 1.1% of GDP now, to 1.3% by 2020 - then start dropping again - so my suspicion is that current German policy is to do little and hope for the best. Trump being a one-term President and Russia not upping the ante anymore.

        But there is a worry in Eastern Europe about security. Them being closer to Russia and all. Especially if Trump does manage 2 terms, and carries on being so erratic.

        Britain went into Brexit negotiations pretty much accepting that we couldn't bargain our security cooperation for a better deal. What I don't think we were expecting was for the Commission to take the initiative and make post Brexit security cooperation so hard. In the case of Galileo of course there's hi-tech jobs for France and Germany to nick off us, but the other stuff seems to be nonsensical. Will be interesting to see how long that lasts? That's actually as likely to damage NATO as Trump's stupid antics. I've no idea what will happen. A deal on Galileo seems perfectly sensible, we've paid a huge chunk of the costs so far - and I think the UK government were gernally surprised at the decision, on the grounds that this was the security cooperation the EU were begging us not to mix up with Brexit.

        We have an MOD satellite comms system called Skynet. I think we should threaten to give this GPS capability and then start building robot soldiers with human skin over metal endoskeletons. That should get everyone worried...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Gaileo was willy waving

          "Only Britain and France have any serious deployment capability at all"

          More importantly, only France has a truly independent strategic nuclear capability.

          And it has an air force that does not need spare parts from the US (F35, I'm looking at you).

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Gaileo was willy waving

          "But it is suggestive that there's almost no existing EU HQ capacity."

          Probably because the US wants NATO - always run by a US general - to be the only multinational force in Europe.

          It wasn't a coincidence that the Americans were dead set against Galileo, too, or that they want to basically take over the manufacturing of western fighter jets by pushing F-35s on all and sundry to saturate the market.

          How long do you think an F-35 fleet would function without US support?

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: Gaileo was willy waving

            Europe is perfectly able to build its own fighter. The problem is that there are no economies of scale. Total Eurofighter orders from the 4 partners were not much more than 400. The US Marines alone are buying about that number of F35s.

            Also there's no money for Eurofighter development, as even when the RAF have cash, Germany won't play. It would be easier if France would join, or at least not leave in a huff when they can't get 60% of the build contracts... But with Germany unwilling to spend, and France unwilling to cooperate, NATO are left with only the US.

            1. Rupert Fiennes Bronze badge

              Re: Gaileo was willy waving

              If there's one thing that both Tornado and particularly Eurofighter have proved is that European programs are a big failure. The overhead of these collaborative programs is such that they take multiples of the cost and time a single country led scheme would require. Plus, the French will never join: ever. It's noticeable that the only really successful Euro fighters are single country developments (the Gripen and the Rafale).

              1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

                Re: Gaileo was willy waving

                Rupert Fiennes,

                If there's one thing that both Tornado and particularly Eurofighter have proved is that European programs are a big failure.

                Tornado can in no sense be called a failure. The program was started in the late sixties, and into operational deployment ten years later, which is perfectly reasonable. There was also a decent amount of development of the aircraft as time went on. Though admittedly not as much as if you've got something bigger-selling like the F16/F18. This is partly a problem as Germany and Italy are the two other biggest customers in Europe, and they won't spend that money. Which then means that other small European airforces choose to buy American - as that means their aircraft are kept current for longer.

                But Tornado produced a good strike aircraft a decent air-defence supression one and an OK interceptor. For the UK role of defending the Greenland-Iceland-UK gap against Soviet long range naval aviation it was pretty good - you wouldn't want to dogfight in one though.

                Eurofighter has turned out to be a decent enough aircraft. It could again do with more development spending, it's got the capability for variable direction thrust for example - but nobody will ante-up the cash. On the other hand, I suspect that dogfighting is over-rated, and is more for the Top Trumps school of aircraft selection. Had the partner nations not slashed their orders for aircraft, it would have come out decently priced as well. And it's not as if the planners were expecting the Cold War to end less than a decade after they placed orders for the thing.

                France were even induced to join a successful and cheap scheme, which was Jaguar. Otherwise though they've been more noticeable for joining up, wasting everybody's time, then buggering off.

                So I'm sure it could be done. With Eastern Europe now looking to replace ageing Soviet kit - there could have been a market for a decent European aircraft. But that would have needed willingness from Germany to open their cheque book, and pull their weight in defence terms. With Germany and the UK cooperating, it could have been done (even without France).

                1. Lars Silver badge
                  Go

                  Re: Gaileo was willy waving

                  @ I ain't Spartacus

                  You might have missed that not so long ago France and Germany agreed to build the next gen fighter together. Too lazy to provide a link or two.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Gaileo was willy waving

                the only really successful Euro fighters are single country developments (the Gripen and the Rafale).

                ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

                True.

                The E/F Gripens look like they could be a good choice - particularly if you spend the same amount of money and thus have more aircraft. Plus an operating cost of about 20% that of the F35 with a much higher availability.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gaileo was willy waving

      "no European military could conduct a major military operation without US support, even ourselves and the French, and if you wanted to re-establish that capability, a "new GPS" would not be what you would start with: you would fill out military logistic support organisations, start running large military exercises again to rebuild the "corporate knowledge", and increase ammunition and spare part holdings to increase readiness. You can understand why Baidu and GLONASS were built, but not Galileo.'

      I think you are missing the point.

      While a GNSS is useful in conventional military operations its unique value is improving the flexibility of long range nuclear strikes.

      If you want a credible counter-force deterrent, you need accurate ICBMs, SLBMs and cruise missiles.

      A counterforce capable deterrent is more credible than a countervalue deterrent because people find it harder to believe that you are willing to escalate to mutual city destruction.

      The interesting thing is that a nuclear deterrent is both more effective and much less expensive than a conventional force capable of fighting a major war.... but to make it really believable, you want a GNSS that is not controlled by someone else, who may decide to stop you.

      Anyone read the history of the Suez Crisis?

      1. Rupert Fiennes Bronze badge

        Re: Gaileo was willy waving

        There is *no way* we are going to utilise either the British or French deterrents as counterforce forces. We have a fraction of the missiles required to even make a small impact on say China, let alone Russia. Those nukes are city busters only, doomsday weapons.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Gaileo was willy waving

          Rupert Fiennes,

          The British and French have sufficient nuclear weapons (of sufficient accuracy) to use as counter-force against any similar sized or smaller force. So India, North Korea, Israel, Pakistan and China are perfectly possible. The Chinese have been pretty moderate in their nuclear posture - pretty much going for the same level of making it unacceptably costly to attack them as we did.

          Only the US and Russia have gone down the total overkill path. They both have sufficiently large forces to be practically unstoppable. Although with the low levels of Russian military spending for the two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, you do wonder how much of their older stuff still works.

          I understand that the fiction in UK nuclear planning is still that we target important military installations - even if those do just happen to be in/near major cities.

          On the other hand, once the other side have some portion of their deterrent on a submarine, counter-force becomes useless, unless you can find the damned thing (and hold the contact until the correct moment).

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Gaileo was willy waving

          We have a fraction of the missiles required to even make a small impact on say China, let alone Russia.

          -------------------------

          So your position is that losing a hundred military bases and communications / logistics centers would have no effect on the ability of Russia to sustain an invasion of Europe?

          Which would still leave missiles for city busting.

          Please share your analysis.

      2. Robert Sneddon

        Trust

        Long-range weapon systems like ICBMs and cruise missiles don't use GPS as a primary source of targetting information because it can be spoofed close to the target. They use internal accelerometer systems and, in the case of ballistic missiles a star-tracking system to provide final course correction before re-entry.

        GPS can be used before launch of mobile weapons such as cruise missiles to initialise the on-board tracking systems but that's done in friendly territory where spoofing is less likely to occur since it relies on flooding the local area with carefully degraded GPS signals for the receiver to pick up and accept as valid data.

    3. Claverhouse Bronze badge

      Re: Gaileo was willy waving

      Given GPS was available to us as US allies, it was hard to see why we needed to duplicate it: no European military could conduct a major military operation without US support, even ourselves and the French, and if you wanted to re-establish that capability, a "new GPS" would not be what you would start with: you would fill out military logistic support organisations, start running large military exercises again to rebuild the "corporate knowledge", and increase ammunition and spare part holdings to increase readiness. You can understand why Baidu and GLONASS were built, but not Galileo.

      You do understand that America won't be around in 100 years, and that American World Military Dominance will prolly go in 50 --- as has happened in the end to every other dominant power, even those with far stronger polities than that of the USA ?

      Soon or late the rest of us have to make our own accommodations with shifting power and our military positions --- even if every other country too shape-changes and adopts new political systems --- so, it is better to stick to near Europe than an alien far power such as America or Russia, whatever the cost to our realizations of loss of importance.

      .

      America... 'Mistah Kurtz, he dead' : More people worship the rising than the setting sun, as Pompey Magnus told Sulla Felix.

  17. Bloodbeastterror

    The morons "in charge"...

    ...hark back to the Victorian era and still dream that the UK is a world power {and the populace are just walking wallets). It isn't. We're on an insignificant dot on the map.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The morons "in charge"...

      We're on an insignificant dot on the map.

      And the 9th biggest economy on the planet (or the 5th, depending on which numbers you use), but don't let facts spoil your inferiority complex.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: The morons "in charge"...

        Size of economy and size of influence are not the same thing. Nor is military capability.

        1. Chinashaw

          Re: The morons "in charge"...

          Really? So big economy gives you big bucks to spend with countries and so influence them. Small economy gives you less and tends to mean you have less influence. As for the military, really, a strong military gives you no influence? Go ask Vietnam, Cambodia, The Philippines how they feel about China building a massive military base in waters that technically do not belong to them.

          The EU has influence precisely because it is a massive economic market, not because it is some beacon of moral rectitude.

      2. illuminatus

        Re: The morons "in charge"...

        and falling.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: The morons "in charge"...

        "And the 9th biggest economy on the planet (or the 5th, depending on which numbers you use)"

        Not for much longer once Moggonomics takes full control.

    2. itzman

      Re: The morons "in charge"...

      ...hark back to the Victorian era and still think that a European Empire such as Napoleon, and Hitler dreamed of can be achieved and is in fact desirable

      Meanwhile in the exiting UK in the 21st century, people are looking FORWARD...

  18. Secta_Protecta

    Laughable

    Oh yeah, 92 million quid just to have a feasibility study into having UK's own Galileo program. Thank goodness for the 250 million a day/week/month/never that will be saved by leaving the EU...

  19. rg287 Bronze badge

    "The UK Government has found it difficult to understand that if one stops being a member of a club, one loses access to that club’s facilities."

    We're an ESA member and a NATO member.

    Norway is in the Galileo programme (though the EU is still dragging their heels on whether to grant them PRN access), so there is little reason to question the UK's continued involvement.

    Even if they wanted to remove work-share from the UK, the notion of withholding a resource like PRN from key strategic defence allies like the UK and Norway is bizarre. Who controls the GIUK gap? France? Germany? Nah, that'd be us and Iceland. How about the North Sea? Us and Norway. Dear EU: You're welcome.

    EU Defence != European Defence.

    If the EU wishes to become a federal state (as they obviously do), they need to learn to take a more nuanced and diplomatic approach to different types of diplomacy. Defence =! Trade. Your defence partners and allies are not necessarily people who have signed up to a particular trade treaty. Granting access to defence assets based on trade-treaty status is downright silly.

    1. Chinashaw

      The other point here, is that the EU and Barnier announced during the initial divorce talks that how dare the UK bring military, security and anti terrorism support as negotiating points to the table. Funny how it is acceptable for the EU to do so.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        @ Chinashaw

        "The other point here, is that the EU and Barnier announced during the initial divorce talks that how dare the UK bring military, security and anti terrorism support as negotiating points to the table"

        Those morons are the same ones who insisted money, Irish border and invaded sovereignty had to be agreed before anything, against their own rules that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. But then we are using article 50 which apparently exists but was never intended to be used so they argue it may need to be removed or rewritten.

        1. Frenchie Lad

          Re: @ Chinashaw

          The Irish Border is an EU issue not a UK one. The UK will just continue with no border and let the EU work out how to handle the issue without upsetting the Irish by imposing customs between Eire and the rest of the EU. Should be entertaining to watch.

          1. Teiwaz Silver badge

            Re: @ Chinashaw

            The Irish Border is an EU issue not a UK one. The UK will just continue with no border and let the EU work out how to handle the issue without upsetting the Irish by imposing customs between Eire and the rest of the EU. Should be entertaining to watch.

            The Irish Border is a UK problem while Northern Ireland is still a part of the UK (while there is still a UK, the whole Brexit thing seems to be an English idea). A hard border between North and South could well kick off the troubles again.

            Nothing has been healed there, merely stitched together, as the population keeps voting the same idiot parties in (but then, people keep voting the same idiots in everywhere, as the alternative idiots are assumed to be more dangerous, and the alternatives are judged to small/ineffective/untried).

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @ Chinashaw

              The Irish Border is a UK problem while Northern Ireland is still a part of the UK (while there is still a UK, the whole Brexit thing seems to be an English idea). A hard border between North and South could well kick off the troubles again.

              Nothing has been healed there, merely stitched together, as the population keeps voting the same idiot parties in (but then, people keep voting the same idiots in everywhere, as the alternative idiots are assumed to be more dangerous, and the alternatives are judged to small/ineffective/untried).

              -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

              The UK has always seemed weirdly divided and fragmented by geography, class, local grudges, etc.

              And somehow, these things seem to linger for centuries without much real progress.

              Seen from a safe distance, it looks like a case where major restructuring is in order... probably starting with eradicating class/dialect/accent/wealth/status differentiation. Not sure how you would do it, but really, it has to be done.

              Otherwise, social attitudes look to stay stuck in the 17th century.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @ Chinashaw

                The UK has always seemed weirdly divided and fragmented by geography, class, local grudges, etc.

                Only for outsiders who make assumptions without understanding the facts.

                Seen from a safe distance,

                Enough said...

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: @ Chinashaw

                  Actually he has it spot on. I've lived in the UK my entire life. Ask scousers what they think of Manchester. Maccams what they think of Newcastle. Weegies what they think of Edinburgh. Or England. Most of the country what they think of London. Londoners whether they have heard of any of these places outside London.

                  And so on. And the country is more divided than ever. Scotland will be independent within a decade. We'll give Ireland the rest of their country back. No idea what will happen with Wales. They never seem to know what they want.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: @ Chinashaw

                    We'll give Ireland the rest of their country back

                    There's no "back". The only time Ireland has ever been a united country was under British rule, prior to that it was 4 separate kingdoms. Then Dermot invited the anglo-normans in, and the rest is history...

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: @ Chinashaw

                  The UK has always seemed weirdly divided and fragmented by geography, class, local grudges, etc.

                  Only for outsiders who make assumptions without understanding the facts.

                  Seen from a safe distance,

                  Enough said...

                  ----------------------------------------------------------------------

                  Looking at something from the outside usually limits personal experience and observation, thus reducing 'zero effort knowledge'.

                  It also has a tendency to increase objectivity.

                  Human nature being what it is, it is usually easier to acquire more information than to acquire more objectivity.... and humans are at least as good at recognizing their lack of information as they are at recognizing their lack of objectivity, and usually better.

          2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: @ Chinashaw

            "The UK will just continue with no border..."

            For a day or so, until the Daily Mail runs with some screaming headline about how bazillions of (shudder) foreigners are using Eire as a back-door into the UK.

            In other words ... no.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @ Chinashaw

          Nothing is agreed till everything is agreed means we can walk out and not pay a dime.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Funny how it is acceptable for the EU to do so.

        Not really. They've finally figured out that the "EU Says No!" approach isn't going to make the UK see the light, apologize, and withdraw it's departure, so now Barnier & company have to find some other things to pick on.

    2. Lost it

      Well........ Last couple of "world wars" last century were between countries that were huge trading partners with each other. I suggest if history tells us anything, it tells us that the people we hurt economically are the ones that start aggressive maneuvers. Hence if what is left of the EU after we leave will be doing it's darndest to damage the UK, then this "Galileo" nonense is just that. They are the ones we need to protect ourselves from (NATO not withstanding).

      I still believe that the EU's biggest worry is that other nations will follow us out. Destroying Germany's great federation plan designed to have every other member making them riches beyond measure.

      That's really all we need to accept.

      1. rg287 Bronze badge

        I still believe that the EU's biggest worry is that other nations will follow us out. Destroying Germany's great federation plan designed to have every other member making them riches beyond measure.

        Of course it is. With hindsight, it should have been obvious that the EU would angle for no deal - not just a bad deal for the UK, but a no-deal Brexit because they're terrified of others following. A colleague was in Italy working during the referendum and woke up wondering what the reception would be like when he got into the Italian office he was visiting. He was met with a rousing cheer of "now we can leave too!".

        It's the same reason that various EU countries started piping up around the time of the Scottish IndyRef stating that Scotland joining the EU as an independent state would not be a shoe-in and they'd have to apply like everyone else and wouldn't be fast-tracked as a former bit of Britain. Funnily enough, those countries tended to be the ones with bolshy separatists angling for independence like Spain (Basque Country & Catalonia), Italy (South Tyrol), Belgium (Wallonia) who don't want precedent set and want to squash any hopes separatist movements might have of joining the EU as Independent States. Brexit is just the same principle scaled up a tier.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Who controls the GIUK gap?

      I like your implied definition of 'control'. Perhaps in 1970, we controlled a bit of it, although the Americans in Keflavik and the Norwegians had a tiny role to play.

      Today if it ever came to an all out shooting war I'm sure we could go it alone. Basically we can moor Reese Mogg in a dinghy off Murmansk, and the localised time warp he generates will spirit up a Dreadnought (1906 version or two) - to teach the Tsar a lesson he won't forget before tea and crumpets.

  20. MJI Silver badge

    More to the point

    If the UK is kicked out they will be entitled to a refund.

    Also what about the encryption technology?

    I have read we can disable it as UK technology.

    I get the feeling kicking UK out will cost EU more than UK building a new one.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: More to the point

      We can't "disable" it but there was talk of withholding an export license for any new satellites, etc.

      I suspect it would just be added to the Brexit divorce bill if we did as I guess we were contracted to supply it and *we* were the ones who decided to pull out of the agreements.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: More to the point

      "If the UK is kicked out they will be entitled to a refund."

      Refund for what? Some UK companies have been contracted to do work on the project and they will be paid according to those contracts. There will be no refund for being in a sulk.

      1. Robert Sneddon

        Money all spent

        The funding of the Galileo work was spent in the countries that contributed it, basically. The money that Britain has put into the project has already been paid to British companies building the Giove test satellites and other parts of the system. There's no funds left to refund. Since Britain is leaving the EU and thus the Galileo project we won't be contributing any more funds to it but we won't be getting contracts to build any more of it either. Out means out, as the Leave campaign said.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Money all spent

          There's no funds left to refund.

          But I still want my cake!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More to the point

      "I have read we can disable it as UK technology."

      If true, I can understand why the EU doesn't want a third country anywhere near the control systems.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More to the point

      "If the UK is kicked out they will be entitled to a refund."

      No.

      If you quit the club, you can't get all the dues you paid for the years you were a member back.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More to the point

      "If the UK is kicked out they will be entitled to a refund."

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      The UK was *not* kicked out.

      It quit the club, against the advice of the other members, and many others.

      Then it decided it wanted to keep some of the extras perqs, which broke the rules it insisted on writing into the deal, so it should have know that Quiting Means Quiting.

      The resultant whining is totally unjustified.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    <cough>Bluff<cough>

    Does May really think this and the other "We can handle No Deal" bluffs will fool the EU ?

    It should at least not fool the intelligent readers of The Register, who must surely realise that no real money will be spent, because such a system will be way too expensive for what will be a poor country after Brexit.

    Bluff called.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: <cough>Bluff<cough>

      Bless!

  22. JuJuBalt

    "The UK Government has found it difficult to understand that if one stops being a member of a club, one loses access to that club’s facilities."

    And if rather than just "hiring" the Gym you actually paid to construct part of your Gym's building and the equipment you reckon they should keep it all then ?

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      @JuJuBalt

      When a sensible person contributes towards the construction costs of a gym they make certain they are legally entitled to a share of the profits.

      Now withdraw your pension plan in cash and tell me which MP you would trust invest it on your behalf.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: @JuJuBalt

        The gym argument is stupid. As is the divorce one. We're actually negotiating leaving the EU. It's a unique situation. It's as silly as all those car analogies for music piracy / copyright.

        But two can play at being stupid, and there is another side to said gym argument. i.e. why would we pay a bill to leave the EU? The EU has legal personality - so technically is liable for its own bills. So there's no reason for us not to pay up to the day we leave the "gym" and then pay not a penny more? That is how membership of a club works, if that's the argument you want to make. As I understand it this is the actual legal position. Perhaps the Commission need to play a bit carefully on how they negotiate this?

        I believe we did individually guarantee some loans to Ukraine, which will probably not get paid back in full, and I'm sure there's a few other wrinkles, where the UK government is directly liable for certain spending committments. But in general the EU is liable for what it's guaranteed to spend, and then responsible for collecting the required money from its member governments.

        1. strum Silver badge

          Re: @JuJuBalt

          >We're actually negotiating leaving the EU.

          No. We're (feebly) negotiating the aftermath of leaving - trying to limit the damage. Different thing entirely.

          >why would we pay a bill to leave the EU?

          No. We aren't paying to leave. We're fulfilling longterm commitments (if we have any sense of honour left).

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: @JuJuBalt

            No. We aren't paying to leave. We're fulfilling longterm commitments (if we have any sense of honour left).

            The EU does its accounts in a very odd way. In that the Commission authorises a lot of speculative spending, which can in rare cases take over a decade to happen, or often not happen at all. They work on the same principal as airlines over-selling seats on fully booked planes, because some people always fail to turn up. So the Commission will authorise more spending committments than it has budget for, as the project can't go ahead unless their funding is matched in-country, and then wait to see what happens. Makes the budget a right old mess. This leads to a lot of under and over spends, which will hopefully net off against each other.

            Anyway, the Commission's argument is that we're still on the hook for a bunch of these projects that were authorised while we were members. But we're not due any of the benefits from the things we paid for while members. Which is utterly illogical. Apart from the pensions of EU civil servants and the loan guarantees to Ukraine, I can't think of any other major financial committments we are morally or legally on the hook for (though I'm sure there are a bunch of smaller ones).

            The EU has legal personality since the Lisbon constitution treaty. - so makes all its financial committments in its own name. Therefore if it's a club, we owe the fees while we're a member and not afterwards. Otherwise, if we owe ongoing fees, we also own our share of the assets. And should net our share off against our liabilities.

            I think the legal position is very clear. And so, I suspect, do the Commission. Which is why they refused to even start to negotiate anything else, before getting a huge financial committment agreed.

            So no, morally I don't think we're on the hook for £35 billion. Or legally either.

            I wouldn't have done the negotiations like this. I'd have offered a settlement for EU citizens living in the UK (guaranteed whatever the outcome) and a large payment to cover this stuff at the beginning, and a couple of options/suggestions on the ongoing trade relationship and let the negotiations start from there. But actually it hasn't been the British government that have made the negotiations so adversarial - that's been pretty much all down to the Commission. They've been the ones doing the leaking (and what looks like some outright lies) on a regular basis, while May didn't stoop to that level (perhaps she should have?). It looks like pretty much the same playbook as in the negotiations with Greece. And they were the ones who started deliberatly with talk of a £100bn UK payment in order to be politically unacceptable and poison the atmosphere - when it was obvious to anyone that a payment could have been negotiated in parallel with everything else - on the simple grounds of no payment no goodies. Doing it simultaneously makes it a lot easier to sell, so it was pretty clear they were deliberaly trying to make political difficulties for May's government. Which may well have backfired - and led to a situation where no deal is now quite likely. Though the treaty is clear that the Commision does not have the comptetence to negotiate the exit deal, that is in the competence of the Council of Ministers, so it could just be a bit of good cop bad cop thing.

            Oh, and you're wrong. We're not negotiating the aftermath of leaving. We're negotiating the exit. The Commission have refused to do that until the transition period - i.e. once we've actually left.

            Article 50 states that the Council of Ministers shall negotiate a withdrawal agreement which takes account of the future relationship with the leaving country. But a future trade deal is entirely within the legal competence of the Commission, and they've refused to even discuss that until we're a third country. i.e. during the transition period. So what we're currently negotiating is all the nitty-gritty of how to leave and all the institutional fall-out from that. With an outline of the future trade/security arrangements to be agreed later. Then, after we've left, we negotiate the detail of that outline understanding - during the transition period. When we'll trade as if we're still in the EU, but not be part of it. Hence the security relationship now going titsup, because that isn't part of the transition agreement, but the Commission has barely even started talking to us about that and has surprised us with its initial uncooperative position. Given our current position is to offer full cooperation at no cost (i.e. a huge benefit to other EU members) and the Commission's current position appears to be to reject some of that free cooperation and demand we pay a cost to offer some of the other things we contribute.

            I thought "no deal" was a 5-10% chance back in 2016. It's looking like 30-50% at the moment. But I'm seeing rumours of Barnier losing influence - so I wonder if he's pushed a bit harder than he was supposed to? We shall see. At the moment even a Canada style trade deal is off the table, which I do find a bit surprising.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @JuJuBalt

              Good analysis.

              But I'm seeing rumours of Barnier losing influence - so I wonder if he's pushed a bit harder than he was supposed to?

              Could be. Barnier & Macron are now starting to talk about a "very special" deal for the UK. They may have finally realised that stonewalling in the expectation that the UK will give up & stay was never going to work, and that "no deal" really is something we're willing to risk. Pity Theresa May didn't have the balls to make that clearer at the start, indeed.

              1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

                Re: @JuJuBalt

                Pity Theresa May didn't have the balls to make that clearer at the start, indeed.

                On that I disagree. The priority of the EU27 is the continuing integrity and success of the EU. Which is perfectly reasonable, and not something we should seek to disturb - even though we're leaving. Obviously the EU has major problems, mainly the Euro clusterfuck - but in general it's still a reasonably useful organisation, despite many drawbacks.

                So going in all adversarial and trying to pit us against them was always going to fail as a tactic - and make compromise harder, not easier. Remember governments have to sell the deal to their populations, just as the UK did. This was why the Greeks were fucked when Syriza won. Varoufakis was actually making somer very sensible proposals, but the creditor countries weren't even willing to listen at the point, because their poplulations believed that the Greeks were lazy good-for-nothings who deserved everything they got. Now admittedly a lot of the reason for that is that the German government deliberately painted the issue that way, in order to avoid the first bail-out and to avoid admitting that the Euro is a continuing clusterfuck that needs to be massively reformed or abandonded... But I digress.

                The point is that we probably should have been even more reasonable and fluffy. People like Johnson and Fox should have been told to be helpful, shut the fuck up or be sacked. We should have started with a generous offer and said that we can't accept full freedom of movement and that if they aren't willing to give single market access without it - then we'd like the closest relationship they were willing to offer within those terms.

                I think the Commission have over-played their hand, in almost trying to force May to stay in the Single Market - while also trying to undermine her authority - despite the fact that she'd be the person that has to get any deal through Parliament. And I'm not sure if a generous start to proceedings would have made any difference, but in PR terms it would have made the Commission look as petty as they're actually being.

                At the moment we're in a situation with no exits, because I don't think anyone can get full Single Market membership through the Commons, and the Commission have pushed so hard on the Irish border issue that we don't currently even have the option of no special deal, but just to leave and do a Canada style free trade deal. I suppose Corbyn might be willing to basically create an internal legal and customs border between two parts of the UK - but could he persuade the rest of Labour, let alone a numnber of Conservatives and the DUP?

                Even then no deal probably means lots of little deals. There are lots of mostly non-political meetings going on about things like mutual airline recognition. I know it's a common remainer trope to portray May as utterly incompetent and the EU as great, but given we have the same legal code as when we were members and we've guaranteed EU flights continuing access to our airspace - would it really be us who were a laughing stock if next year the EU refuse to allow our planes into their airspace? Or would it be them who looked vindictive and incompetent?

                It's not like they've got massive economic growth and us none, so deliberately massively disrupting our common trade is also not a good look. As well as risking a sudden recession. It might be worse here, but we don't have the handicap of the Eurozone. Pushing Italy into recession would be a really bad idea. So I'm not optimistic for a great deal, but I'm hoping that common sense means something will get cobbled together that isn't awful for anyone - even if it doesn't please anyone either.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: @JuJuBalt

                  On that I disagree.

                  ...

                  So going in all adversarial and trying to pit us against them was always going to fail as a tactic

                  Oh, that wasn't what I meant. It clearly is a failed tactic, it's what the EU tried on us, and it hasn't worked.

                  My comment on May lacking balls was more that she didn't make it clear from the start that we were willing to walk away with no deal rather than accept a bad one. Instead she gave the impression that we would allow ourselves to be pushed into a bad deal. That left Barnier & co. thinking that they could be adversarial, and it's taken much too long to get to the point of real discussion because of that. I do think that Johnson & Davis would have set the tone for the negotiations on a much more realistic basis at the start, if they had been allowed to do so.

                  Other than that I agree with the rest of your post.

                  1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

                    Re: @JuJuBalt

                    I see what you mean.

                    However, if May had said she was happy with no deal, would anybody believe her? In fact she did in her initial speeches say that no deal was better than a bad deal - but the problem is there's almost no deal that's so bad that leaving in complete chaos is better. Admittedly leaving in complete chaos is unlikely, as lots of the little stuff is non-controversial and could be sorted out by direct civil service to civil service contact. But encouraging talk of no-deal could even lead to stuff like that being held hostage. If you completely break the relationship, anything could happen. And nobody likes dealing with threats - apart from anything else it makes selling the eventual deal to your electorate very hard.

                    There's no point in trying to say something that isn't true - if the other side know it isn't true. Anyway this isn't poker, the deal has to get done but also has to survive in the long term. What you win by dodgy tactics now, will only get snatched away as the future relationship deteriorates. As Barnier may just be realising...

                    Plus you have to remember that May campaigned for remain. Also, despite the Conservative party being quite anti the EU justice portfolio (on which we had an opt-out) - May signed us back up to most of it as Home Secretary. Not only that, she persuaded a cabinet with quite a lot of eurosceptics in it to sign off on that. She actually made quite a few friends in Brussels at the time (about 2012-13 IIRC).

                    I think her attitude to the EU is mostly pragmatic (a proper Conservative view in my book - idealism is higher risk). A view shared by a majority of voters - only a minority have strong opinions on the EU either way. But her cost-benefit calculation came out for remain. So I supect that she'd feel a no-deal messy exit would be a disaster, and she might personally be happy with EEA membership - but has made the calculation that unlimited freedom of movement isn't acceptable to the electorate. So on that basis, to threaten it would be hard to believe - and I suspect she'd feel, irresponsible. After all, she is a cautious middle-of-the-road conservative type.

                    Also it's very easy to say, "take the big risk and play for the big stakes" when it's not you that has to make the decision. It's a bit different when you've got a whole department of civil servants advising you to be cautious - and whatever you think of their opinion on the EU, there are good reasons to be cautious. Particularly when that decision is so big that historians and political theorists will be writing fat books on your decisions for the next century. That's quite a lot of pressure...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "And if rather than just "hiring" the Gym you actually paid to construct part of your Gym's building and the equipment you reckon they should keep it all then ?"

      That's the way it works in the real world.

      *Every* club I have ever interacted with worked that way.

      If you want to use the club's facilities, stay a member and keep paying your dues.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        My gym has just had its restaurant refurbished. So any of the workmen working on it should be able to demand free gym membership?

        If this also extends to IT then a lot of FTSE100 companies owe me a significant amount of shares and dividends as do plenty of companies overseas. Looking forward to this windfall.

  23. Old Tom

    Cooperation

    The UK Government has found it difficult to understand that if one stops being a member of a club, one loses access to that club’s facilities.

    I find it difficult to understand that the EU aren't happy to agree a simple treaty with us to continue partnership on this. Are they going to go without the Falklands and Ascension ground stations? Do they wish to undermine our military cooperation with France and other EU27 NATO members? Looks quite like toys flying out of the pram.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Cooperation

      I find it difficult to understand that the EU aren't happy to agree a simple treaty with us to continue partnership on this.

      Why do you think the treaty would be simple? The rules for Galileo, including who gets access to privileged data, were drawn up with the UK's full involvement and approval.

      Looks quite like toys flying out of the pram.

      That would be the referendum and all the calls that "no deal is better than a bad deal!".

      1. John Styles

        Re: Cooperation

        Almost every response by the 'no deal will be great' crowd is 'well, there will be a deal for that' e.g. nuclear medicines, aircraft etc. etc.

    2. Robert Sneddon

      Ground stations

      There are more than two ground stations involved in the Galileo error correction system and the Falklands and Ascencion Islands stations can be replaced to fill in gaps since we're leaving the EU and the Galileo programme.

      As for a "simple treaty", go ahead. Getting 27 separate national governments to change their minds on this exclusivity because we want to stay in just this bit of the EU after March 2019 is going to be tricky.

    3. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: Cooperation

      @Old Tom

      I find it difficult to understand that the EU aren't happy to agree a simple treaty

      Who says they aren't?

      It's the UK that's walking out of both the existing treaty (as per Cameron's stunt) and the legal framework underlying it (completely separate to any question that was voted on). Do we know how the EU would react if the UK were to propose some alternative treaty reinstating the necessary foundations? Of course, they'd be up against a whole new raft of red tape, and who could blame them for raising an eyebrow at the cost and complexity of reinventing legal and contractual wheels?

    4. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Cooperation

      I find it difficult to understand that the EU aren't happy to agree a simple treaty with us to continue partnership on this.

      The EU doesn't want partnership, it needs victory. A partnership would suggest that a post-Brexit UK is a serious partner worth working with, which undermines the worldview that only the EU can save Europe. Any suggestion which accepts that Brexit might work creates too much risk that other countries would eventually follow.

      It's a perfectly reasonable point of view from the EU, survival-wise, but doesn't lend itself to meaningful or fair negotiations. Theresa May seems to be too naive to realise this.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cooperation

        It's a perfectly reasonable point of view from the EU, survival-wise, but doesn't lend itself to meaningful or fair negotiations.

        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

        You have no way to know this, and you won't until the UK:

        1) Agrees among themselves what they want.

        2) Starts generating proposals that amount to something other than 'give us everything we want the way we want it, even if we don't know yet what that may be, no matter how much it may cost you, because we want it, and we deserve it because we think we do'.

      2. strum Silver badge

        Re: Cooperation

        >The EU doesn't want partnership, it needs victory.

        Bollocks. Amid the petty posturing of Brexiteers, the EU have remained calm, quiet and undemonstrative. The worst they've done is to frown sadly at our childishness.

        On the other hand, the EU has a responsibility to protect the interests of its remaining members. It has no responsibility to accede to the demands of a bunch of surly ex-members.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Cooperation

          the EU have remained calm, quiet and undemonstrative.

          Indeed, they have their heels well dug in, and they are sitting back quietly refusing to take any part in the negotiations they insisted on.

          The worst they've done is to frown sadly at our childishness.

          Yes, in that condescending, patronizing way that says "we know what's best for you, so just go back to your room and behave, and stop making noise". Most kids have left home by 25, we're doing so now.

    5. This post has been deleted by its author

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cooperation

      "Do they wish to undermine our military cooperation with France and other EU27 NATO members? Looks quite like toys flying out of the pram."

      Of course not, but if the UK insists on wailing and tossing toys, it is not the EU's fault.

      The hardest part to understand - as someone from neither the EU nor the UK - is how the UK government, politicians and parts of the popular press can be so impervious to understanding any of the fundamental realities of the situation.

      Particularly when a lot of this was obvious to anyone spending a little time to read and analyze things, two years ago.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cooperation

        The hardest part to understand - as someone from neither the EU nor the UK - is how the UK government, politicians and parts of the popular press can be so impervious to understanding any of the fundamental realities of the situation.

        Perhaps it's you, as an outsider, who dosn't understand the situation, or the deep-seated feelings behind it?

      2. Nick Kew Silver badge

        Re: Cooperation

        The hardest part to understand - as someone from neither the EU nor the UK - is how the UK government, politicians and parts of the popular press can be so impervious to understanding any of the fundamental realities of the situation.

        It's because they can't agree among themselves.

        The referendum presented two options: the status quo (remain) vs a blank canvas (leave). Those who campaigned and voted for leave had wildly differing and mutually incompatible expectations of what they were voting for. To take just one question, the traditional nationalists like BNP/UKIP are firmly anti-immigration, whereas Tim Martin (who campaigned for "leave" through his chain of hundreds of big pubs) told the world he expected leave to lead to more immigration, to the benefit of businesses like his.

        The equivalent in a general election would be to lump together all votes for parties other than the incumbent Conservatives, and hand the government to whoever shouts loudest. It's no wonder they're all screaming now.

        1. NerryTutkins

          Re: Cooperation

          I think this is only part of the story.

          More than anything, most votes outside of a general election are seen as an opportunity to protest - and give the PM/government of the day a black eye.

          Cameron went out and pushed for a 'remain' vote. So a lot of people who didn't really care much about Europe one way or the other (it was previously a very marginal issue, only of interest to some wingnuts in the Tory party) went out and voted against what Cameron told them to do, instinctively.

          Much was made about Labour constituencies voting for brexit. Recently, polls have indicated these places have switched en masse to 'remain', and against brexit. Various pundits have explained this as people there realising the end result is not what they were being promised. But I'd suggest the reason the shift is biggest in those labour constituencies is simply because brexit is now quite clearly a Tory party policy, so they're now instinctively against it.

          If there is a second referendum, we have to hope Theresa May recommends people to vote 'out'. Because that will be guaranteed to get those labour constituencies that voted leave to turn out for 'in'. And that should sink Brexit, May and even Corbyn in one fell swoop. Result. No wonder they don't want a referendum on the actual deal, and prefer to accept the one which promised an unrivalled new era of prosperity instead of the now more realistic "not the end of the world".

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Cooperation

            Cameron went out and pushed for a 'remain' vote. So a lot of people who didn't really care much about Europe one way or the other ... went out and voted against what Cameron told them to do, instinctively.

            Every time there's a referendum on something, the losing side always try to justify their loss by finding some excuse why the winners didn't know what they were voting for, and would have made the "right" decision if only they had understood it properly. That may be true for some, but it's equally likely to have worked in the opposite direction. How many people voted "remain" just because Farage told them not to?

            Recently, polls have indicated these places have switched en masse to 'remain', and against brexit.

            Recent independent polls show that the situation is just as finely balanced as before, roughly equal leave/remain with a large enough number of "undecideds" that a second vote would be like the first, too close to call and down to the wire on the night.

            1. strum Silver badge

              Re: Cooperation

              >Every time there's a referendum

              ...politics has failed.

        2. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: Cooperation

          @ Nick Kew

          "The referendum presented two options: the status quo (remain) vs a blank canvas (leave)."

          Now thats a wet dream if ever I heard one. Status quo? Since when has the EU been in status quo? They are in multiple self inflicted crisis and the only response from those morons is 'more europe!'. It is anything but status quo. Ever creeping and ever reaching and ever breaking its own rules and agreements.

          The referendum was remain (and whatever that entails) or leave (and whatever that entails).

          "Those who campaigned and voted for leave had wildly differing and mutually incompatible expectations of what they were voting for"

          Those voting remain were voting for a utopian union/crap but needs us, a socialist paradise/capitalistic juggernaut, global trade/protection from foreigners, common market/federalising force, multicultural/cultural convergence and so on.

          The idea remain is some unified group is amusing but very wrong.

          1. strum Silver badge

            Re: Cooperation

            Since when has the EU been in status quo?

            The status quo was a system of negotiation, analysis and legislation - which we could influence (and in many cases, veto), from within. That some Europeans saw a federation as a far-distant objective was never a reality (and we could always have vetoed it, anyway).

            Instead we're going to be subject to a bunch of rules we have no say in forming (not just from the EU).

        3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: Cooperation

          The referendum presented two options: the status quo (remain) vs a blank canvas (leave).

          There is no "status quo" in that sense, that would imply some static situation. In or out, the future is constantly changing. The choice was between remaining in and letting the direction of that future be set by Brussels, or leaving and setting our direction ourselves. Neither has the clear predictable outcome that "status quo" would imply.

    7. strum Silver badge

      Re: Cooperation

      >I find it difficult to understand that the EU aren't happy to agree a simple treaty with us to continue partnership on this.

      Do you understand rules? The EU has rules about dealings with third countries, one of which is about to be us. These rules preclude secure access to its systems (as any sensible entity would do).

      After all, if the UK were to go ahead with its own system, would we give full access to Nigeria, on the basis that they were once part of the Empire?

  24. EastFinchleyite

    Name Calling

    WOT! No comments so far about Satnav McSatnavface.? I am utterly disappointed with my fellow countrymen. This is The most important issue of all.

    A far better name for the UK Imperial satnav system would be Barberini.

    (Go look it up)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Barberini

      A far better name for the UK Imperial satnav system would be Barberini.

      (Go look it up)

      I did and am no less mystified

      1. EastFinchleyite

        Re: Barberini

        Mafeo Barberini became Pope Urban VIII and it was he that set the Inquisition on Galileo and had him locked up under house arrest for the last 10 years of his life.

        TL:DR

        Barberini screwed Galileo

  25. illuminatus

    ::head desk::

    This is apparently a "serious" proposal.

    Not from where I'm standing.

  26. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    The big mistake here is having it as an unmanned system. I'd like to nominate the crew. We wouldn't, of course, have a means of crew return and the launch vehicle might have "B Ark" written on the side.

  27. John Robson Silver badge

    I could do a feasibility study for a lot less than that

    I might want a week or so with the Galileo team...

    And some tea and biscuits.

    The answer will be - its stupidly impractical for a single small country.

    It's the details of the report that need fleshing out...

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let me guess.

    The article's author is not an unbiased technical journalist. He fervently Believes in Remoaning.

  29. John Styles

    I do think that feasibility studies for things that are unaffordable is a giant scam and part of the general corruption in this country. That league tables don't show this country as being incredibly corrupt is indicative to me that the measures are meaningless. We are probably reasonably non-corrupt in the 'brown envelopes full of cash' sense but not in the 'doing favours for the right sort of people in the justified expectation that favours will be done for you because you're the right sort of person' sense.

    See also the enormous trade in feasibility studies for transport schemes that are never going to happen.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I do think that feasibility studies for things that are unaffordable is a giant scam and part of the general corruption in this country."

      But for only 92,000,000 GBP the government gets to claim that they 'could' build such a system, possibly pushing the scam past the date of the next election.

  30. Spook

    Go the full distance

    While we're at it, bring back Black Arrow Mk 2 to launch it.

  31. JLV Silver badge

    losing club gear access

    Far from me to say that Brexit wasn’t a fine bit of democratically-decided foot targetting.

    However, as the UK military is -carriers aside - quite a lot more veteran and capable than the next big European combat fish, France, the EU choosing to cut off Galileo access as a matter of principle seems rather unwise.

    One would almost suspect immature political peevishness or the lobbying of other European arms suppliers.

    Or both.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: losing club gear access

      What a lot of people seem to be incapable of doing here, as with other things Brexit related, is trying to put yourself in the position of others.

      Suppose France was leaving the EU and had publicly said it wanted to move its business away from the EU and to its former colonies and the US. Suppose it had already sent delegations to India and China, seeking to do what it takes to increase inward investment.

      Would we really want them to have full access to our military systems?

      1. JLV Silver badge

        Re: losing club gear access

        I'm French originally and I can "put myself in the position of others" well enough to understand Europe playing hardball on other negotiation points, thank you very much. Galileo-related squabbling however seems highly counterproductive.

        What you don't seem to be capable of doing here is to realize that, in objective terms, it is in Europe's best military interests to have its military well-integrated with UK system. Because of the relative importance of the UK's armed forces in Europe's defense capabilities. Replace "UK" with "Italy" for example and I would not offer this opinion.

        There has already been a precedent for this type of screw up and it was the lackluster integration of French military systems to NATO gear, once France left NATO. That, I believe, has been somewhat corrected, but it has hampered both French operations and weapons sales.

        There have also been enough friendly fire incidents in modern wars that the troops themselves probably don't see incompatible satnav systems as a genius idea.

        That has very little to do with Brexit per se. Nor does it have much to do with giving potential adversaries access to one's sensitive military secrets, unless you'd stretch your point to say that the UK should now be considered unfriendly.

  32. Sil

    Money wasted.

    Apart perhaps from the USA and China, the financial burden of a navigation system is too big for a country.

    UK will probably have to make more concessions to get into Gallileo.

    1. shaunhw

      Can't we just lob a few modified Raspberry Pi's (you know, the one designed by some clever and charitable Brits for free) into space, along with some (good) atomic clocks somehow, and use those ?

      That could do the trick! ;-)

      One should remember which country invented the ARM chip the Pi uses, which also now drives most of the worlds phones and tablets. It wasn't the Americans, the French or the Germans, or even the Japanese (even though they own it now, which says it all I guess) was it?

      No it was a tiny computer firm in Cambridge called Acorn, and the brainchild of one brilliant person - Sophie Wilson. I'm not for brexit at all, but we've collectively made our decision and will have to make the best of it.

      We've still got some brilliant people here, and we Brits tend to pull together when the chips (pun intended) are down. We'll be OK. Or at least I hope we will.

      I was watching a video about how the Americans refused to share the technology of nuclear bombs after the war even though we'd helped them with it. So then we just made our own without their help, one way and another with a team led by Dr William Penney. They weren't pleased but I think it taught them a bit of a lesson.

  33. Domquark

    Out of interest..

    Why not construct a GPS receiver that picks up on all 3 [Public] systems (GPS/GLONASS/Galileo) and uses all three to augment each other to increase positional accuracy?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Out of interest..

      Gosh - what a good idea. Basically one that is already implemented in just about any GNSS chip in any phone or GPS. And probably about the level of good idea that we will get for £80 million quids worth of feasibility study.

      There is no sane navigation/security issue for a BrexitPS. No feasible war where an extra 20 cms (*sorry 8 inches) left or right will make a bag of beans difference, even if we had armed forces left to project force beyond Aldershot on a weekday.

      There might be a sane reason to invest public money in the UK space industry, but lets do something fun with it - like go to the Moon or Mars. We can waste just as much money and annoy the Americans and Russians to boot.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Out of interest..

        "There is no sane navigation/security issue for a BrexitPS. No feasible war where an extra 20 cms (*sorry 8 inches) left or right will make a bag of beans difference"

        Ummm.... mapping mines and booby traps for subsequent clearing?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Out of interest..

          And Galileo will do that? We don't use land mines because Lady Di. And somehow I doubt that The Taliban are meticulous record keepers. But if you want to trust your life to a GPS coordinate ....

          'Two paces forward - one pace left' -'Bang - Ow' - "Oh - did I say 2, it was actually a 5 - my bad!'

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Out of interest..

            'Two paces forward - one pace left' -'Bang - Ow' - "Oh - did I say 2, it was actually a 5 - my bad!'

            --------------------------------------------------

            ROFL!

            You are absolutely correct. I should not have discounted the inevitability of human error.

            Murphy rules!

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It seems that instead of being a world power largely without militaristic aims Europe is being dissected to enable China, Russia and America to prosper. Apart from some southern good ol' boys I don't see any signs of any US states looking for their version of Brexit. The UK is just a state in the republic of Europe and we ought to accept it before we become more of an irrelevance.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >The UK is just a state in the republic of Europe and we ought to accept it before we become more of an irrelevance.

      Irony? It is not as if EU ever had a grip on the conflicts that ravaged the Balkans. In fact the EU was pretty much irrelevant until the US and Russia air lifted own troops into the region. Internationally, that was a major embarrassment.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What can you expect from our clueless so-called leaders?

    Errr...ummm...nothing.

  36. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Trump threatens to pull US out of World Trade Organization

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-45364150

    Oh dear, UK may not even be able to rely on WTO rules if Brexit.

    "Please Mr Barnier, can we pretend Article 50 never happened, or send us an Article 49 form to fill out ASAP?"

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