The first tenders for the new satellite navigation system are expected by the end of this year with the UK looking to collaborate with countries in the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence alliance.

The Five Eyes brings the UK, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand into the world’s most complete and comprehensive intelligence alliance. The Five Eyes is widely regarded as the world’s most significant intelligence alliance. The origins of it can be traced back to the context of the Second World War and by its necessity of sharing vital information mainly between Britain and the United States so both countries could enhance their close war effort.

The Financial Times has reported that Britain is to press ahead with its own satellite navigation system should the European Union continue to insist that the UK be barred from secure elements of Galileo.

According to the Financial Times:

“Under EU rules, non-member states cannot access or work on Galileo’s military-grade signal, known as the public regulated service, without a defence and security agreement. However, British-based companies such as CGI UK have largely designed and developed the security around this highly encrypted service while Airbus Defence and Space in the UK has managed Galileo’s ground control centres. Surrey Satellite Technologies manufactures the satellite payloads.

This work will now have to be transferred out of the UK when it leaves the EU in March 2019, and UK companies are already being excluded from discussions on the system’s future development.”

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“We must make sure we are primed and ready to deter and counter the intensifying threats to our everyday life that are emerging in space. That’s why today I’m announcing the RAF is taking the lead in this area and why we plan to increase the number of personnel covering space.

Satellite technology is not just a crucial tool for our Armed Forces but vital to our way of life, whether that be access to our mobile phones, the internet or television. It is essential we protect our interests and assets from potential adversaries who seek to cause major disruption and do us harm.

Britain is a world leader in the space industry and our defence scientists and military personnel have played a central role in the development of the EU’s Galileo satellite programme alongside British companies, so it is important we also review our contribution and how we plan for alternative systems in this crucial area.”

As part of the EU’s Galileo programme, UK companies have led the way in developing innovative satellite technology, with a focus on the encryption side of things. The UK has contributed £1.2bn in funding to the programme and provided vital ground infrastructure in the Falklands and the Ascension Islands say the MoD.

An MoD release states:

“Participation in Galileo with the appropriate level of access and involvement remains our preferred option, however we are working on alternative options, and as part of this the MOD will work with the UK Space Agency to explore opportunities for UK companies.”

Speaking at the conference, Defence Minister Guto Bebb said:

“Space is a vital part our economy, with an industry worth £14 billion a year. With the launch of this Strategy, we are setting our aspirations much higher, to ensure that our industry continues to benefit from this growth in satellite technology. We are investing millions into Britain’s most innovative companies to help us launch forward in the space domain.”


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Levi Goldsteinberg

Didn’t know we had that kind of money to piss away; you’d think we’d just stay in the Yank system or join Europe’s


Hard when they don’t want you.


No it’s says quite clearly that we need a security agreent with the EU. god Brexit is such a Farse


(Chris H) Andrew – No its not Brexit that is a farce at all. What is a total farce is how we managed to get our country locked into a foreign power’s tentacles for so long and none of us were told what the implications were. And none of us voted for it either. Now for the record we have offered the EU the most comprehensive security arrangements and the EU are being rather dumb by not signing up for it. But then the EU is playing politics with other Nation’s best interests. As always. We should just get the… Read more »




So correct Chris. Pity we have already given so much useful and sensitive information to the b*stards of Brussels.


We are currently part of the European Galileo project, but it appears that Brexit is going to put an end to that, unless the government can negotiate continued access. I wouldn’t hold your breath.

David Steeper

Dan brexit isn’t putting an end to it the EU is !


If the EU put an end to UK access to Galileo then the UK will put an end to the essential upgrade to Galileo in order to make it useful for the future.

ie it is unlikely the UK will not be part of the Galileo project. The EU forgot that they do not have ultimate power.

David E Flandry

Also put an end to EU using any UK facilities on Ascension Island, Falklands, or anywhere else.

[…] post Britain looking to develop own satellite navigation system appeared first on UK Defence […]


Particularly since satellite based navigation systems will be obsolete once quantum based navigation (non satellite) is fully developed in the near future.



For the near future quantum bases navigation will be an adjunct to satellite based systems. You still need something that tells you where you are or started from even if the quantum based system can tell you how far and in what direction you have moved.


Hi Jonathan, perhaps they can establish the Initial Point the way we did years ago for USAF aircraft. Each revetment had the exact Lat Long coordinates painted on the wall to be input into the inertial nav system by the aircrew to to provide the navigation basis for the aircraft mission. The modern equivalent could be a secure coordinate download from an ultra exact positioning station established at the home stations and other military facilities which are kept secure as the nav basis by an onboard analog of the old ship’s chronometer. I can see some continuing use of the… Read more »


I believe the RN has been doing QN trials on Astutes.

Maybe we’re that tech has a part in this plan?


*we’re planning to use* head faster than fingers




OK, lets withdraw all support from Galileo and look ahead to the replacement project. This is also proof that we cannot trust the French or other EU “allies” and should not partner with them on any project that is considered vital to our national defence. If they can have us over a barrel, they will do it and we will look like fools on the international scene asking “Why, why did they do that to us (again) ?”


(Chris H) Steven – Amen to all that …


Voted for staying in, in the referendum, but we need to all get behind the country now. If we are playing silly buggers, let’s create our own GNSS. It is possible to do this on our own nowadays. “Under EU rules, non-member states cannot access or work on Galileo’s military-grade signal, known as the public regulated service, without a defence and security agreement.” Rules can be changed! The country voted in a democratic way – respect it. However it is clear that the strategy is try and make it as difficult you can for the UK to deter others. So… Read more »


With that too


That is a reslly interesting idea to use Ascension island – could it be done?
It would royally screw the French if so.


Ditto Chris.

Daniele Mandelli

If the EU countries want to play hard ball let them.

They are not part of 5 eyes. We are.

Germany is classed as a 2nd tier partner in 5 eyes.

We should go all in with our Anglo Saxon brethren and let France and Germany get on with it, or try to.

Problem with this is our government seem weak and desperate to appease at every turn.

Nathan Dale

Muddling along is the British way, it is how Britain was formed, how an empire was created and disbanded, how our institutions and legal system developed. It works because it is organic, evolutionary and holds very little sacred. Yes it is messy but it avoids bloody revolutions, extremist tendencies and ultimately gets the job done. Principle is all very well but look at how many people have been murdered on the continent on the basis of principle. I like our muddled approach, I just wish the left and our media outlets would stop the constant berating of ugly democracy in… Read more »

Geoffrey Roach

Hi Daniele,
I voted to stay but now we’re leaving I really do believe that we should, if need be, just walk away, take our twelve billion and show the rest of them how to run a free market economy. What is is we’re so nervous about. What has Europe got that we cannot do ourselves if we put our minds to it. How long would tariffs last in European if we cut ours?

Daniele Mandelli

For me, that “we” that you mention being so nervous is Teresa May desperate to hold her position and juggle remain with leave, a compromise that gets us nowhere. And you say we are leaving. I’m not convinced I’m sad to say, with so many of HM opposition playing party politics, an upper unelected house that keeps voting against the government, and Tory rebels pressurising May to back off from a “Hard” Brexit, a “Hard” brexit that does not exist. Only Brexit exists. Hard and Soft have been invented by moaning remainers and the press. Europe has nothing we cannot… Read more »


(Chris H) Daniele – I have to agree it does look like the Democratically declared will of the British electorate is being totally ignored within the wider Westminster bubble and echo chamber. But more crucially by defying the elected Government’s manifesto over Brexit the Remainer Lords made removal of their Lordships House a political reality. Their continued defiance of the elected Governments Manifesto over Leveson means they are consigning themselves to history. The PM must now invoke The Parliament Act and the Salisbury Convention and take both Bills direct to Her Majesty for Assent. And then remove the House of… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

I agree Chris.

But will she? Action is always the acid test and so far May seems totally anonymous.

I will be delighted to be shown to wrong in due course.

However I’m very sceptical.


We cannot afford all we already plan to do & buy, let alone a new major project like this. If the EU were as great as they think of themselves they’d refund our Galileo investment or accomodate us, but they can’t help but be bitchy & spiteful.


We have +7bn/year in Foreign Aid budget. Some of that (plus the contribution we would have maid to ESA for Galileo) can be used to fund a new UK GNSS (let’s call it “Newton”). We can then give access (even at a secure level) for those countries that need foreign aid as part of the aid package. Help us and helps them. Heck let’s build a ground station/two in one of those countries to help manage the GSNN again helping with aid. Aid can come in many ways and helping someone to help themselves (by bringing in technology investment and… Read more »


We agreed a big divorce payment with the EU. Presumably this Galileo debacle wasn’t in play at the time so, if the EU really do kick us out with no compensation for what we’ve already invested to date, I suggest that we pay the divorce bill minus the unpaid refund owed to us, use the money withheld from the divorce payment to go towards funding our own system, and let the Galileo mess go to international court.


One element overlooked in this argument with Galileo is that base stations were to be placed on the Falkland Islands, ascension and some other British overseas territories. If the EU want to play hardball they will have to greatly increase the number and power of base stations in other countries to cover those gaps, making it much more expensive.


it’s all a card game. Each side of the brexit negotiations is trying (and has a democratic obligation) have the most cards available, so once the dust settles they can get the best deal for their country/people. They say we will kick you out and we counter with we will build our own, they will no doubt counter with you can stay in, if you up your investment to part of the cost we would pay to build own and the game just keeps being played. The EU wants the best deal for the EU and that is to be… Read more »

Alan Reid

I agree Steve – as evidenced by some of the comments on this forum, some of our fellow posters can sometimes get a wee bit over-heated on the subject of Brexit and the EU (and the French!)

It’s a negotiation, unfortunately, sometimes conducted by megaphone diplomacy.

Like you, I’m keen to see the final deal before drawing firm conclusions.

Mr J Bell

Here is what our beloved Saint Teresa’s should say to the EU. Either allow the UK access to Galileo project or we will withold the UK technology that is crucial for the secure military encryption. That technology rests in the UK, admittedly in a private company but the government can easily slap an officials secret act classification on the company and forcefully buy the copyrights. Withhold the divorce bill. Either the EU wants a deep and meaningful relationship with the UK or they want to mug us and take our money whilst trying to punish the UK for a democratic… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Bang on Mr Bell.


We do not need to. The UK is a member of ESA and as a member will be voting on the budget for future systems. One of those systems is the Upgrade to Galileo. All members have to agree the budget for it to go ahead so if we vote against it then the EU does not get its Galileo upgrade! The system also relies on base stations in a number of UK territories which we can withdraw. Simply put. Galileo needs the UK.

Daniele Mandelli

Excellent Lee.

Stephen G.

Yes, they should be warned us British people are not all sweetness and nice, if they want to play hardball, we’ll play hardball.


So you don.t want French, Dutch and Danish assets protecting the CASD then?


Hold the f on, let me get this straight. PM May says that if they don’t give us a proper deal they can’t exspect full cooperation in security matters and shes lynched by the left and EU politicans for playing politics and putting people’s lives in danger. But they exclude us from a crucial military system we designed, built and operate and no one says a word despite the fact that the EU is stonewalling us when a simple security agreement can be reached. As always it seems that Britian true to compromise, the EU socks any deals and then… Read more »


It won’t happen so don’t get too worked up.

Galileo requires UK participation. Without us the system is useless.


Worth noting that Galileo funding did not come from MOD Budget so no reason new system should.

The UK was the biggest founder but also got the biggest work share. Also Galileo is riddled with problems due to its clocks not working and having to rely in backups. It may never live up to its promise. So build a new system, get CANZAC countries to pay 40% and job done. Take our half from the money owed in EU settlement.

We end up with the he best system in the world and get to build most of it at home.


Switzerland and Canada are member countries of the European Space Agency without being in the EU or, in Canada’s case, europe. They will have access to Galileo too. British experts designed much of the cryptography behind the system and developed the security technology protecting PRS. The satellites are currently controlled from Portsmouth. UK companies control the crucial security information – those firms have been reminded by ministers that they should not enter into new Galileo contracts in response to EU posturing. This will, as with Euratom and the Open Skies Agreement, turn out to be bluster on both sides and… Read more »

Mr Bell

Agree Martin, that is exactly what we should do.

Lee H

Morning This is a quick win for the U.K. if Williamson releases the tender. Most of the important tech is British, the crypt will definitely be sovereign it’s just the launch platform, time and money. The proof will be whether, as part of the U.K. specification, guidance for the CASD weapon system is included. If it is you know that it will be a system that can be trusted. Good luck to the European Galileo project, we should wish them all the success in the world, especially now the Italians could have a government that want to cooperate militarily with… Read more »


The less we rely on this sorry bunch of EU(ro) trash, the better.


That talk is immature and unnecessary.

Rules are rules, as third party country the UK could not have access to the program unless there is a separate deal made.


Money talks and in the end the whole thing will be rendered moot. We cannot afford it and we do not need it, we just need to stay in the program.

This whole brexit farce is benefitting nobody but the enemies of the Western world. Congratulations for playing along.


No. At the moment Britain is still a member of the EU. Galileo is only accessible to member states, if Britain becomes a third party it will automatically lose access to sensitive data.
Is it Britain wanting to quit or is it the other European countries that are trying to expel Britain?

The UK pays 12% of the project but has 15% manufacturing share. The rest of Europe will need the British overseas territories and the Falklands for the project.

In the end a deal will be struck for sure as it’s a very bad lose-lose situation for both parties.

David Stephen

Why would we want continued access to Galileo? The EU are completely untrustworthy and would throw us under a bus at the first opportunity. Better to take whatever financial hit is required and go it alone and as suggested above withhold any technical details or technology possible and screw them over as much as possible.

Sceptical Richard

Legally, the EU are right to adopt the stance they are adopting. Practically, it’s stupid and childish. As someone said, it’s a game of cards. In the end I hope it will all get sorted. Security and defence cooperation should be divorced completely from Brexit negotiations. Both sides should grow up regarding this issue. Most of the work has been done on Galileo. British industry is a key player. Ideally, we want to keep it that way. If the EU (read France/Germany) insist on their stupid position, then retaliate in whatever way we can. Until then, as usual on most… Read more »


I find myself nodding like the Churchill bulldog in agreement with all these comments. The EU are so wrapped up in their socialist political ideology they can’t tell their arse from their elbow. So Galileo is an ‘EU’ project is it? And yet it required British satellite manufacture, operation and code encryption technology. Oh and British territorial operating bases. OK so we will leave the EU and all its projects. And by the same argument the ‘EU’ has access to 5 eyes by reason of our membership of both. So they lose access to 5 Eyes. We should now really… Read more »


Sorry its Chris H .. Anyone know why we now have to log in on every post with name, email and website?

Sceptical Richard

Yeah! I was thinking that too! Real pain in the proverbial!!! Probably something to do with the new data protection act?


(Chris H) Richard – Something else we must thank, doff our hats and touch our forelocks to the EU for. Its the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which of course bypasses Parliament and goes straight into UK Law. Can the Remainers not see where this is all wrong? We (and I can say ‘we’ as I voted Remain in ’75) for a trade agreement called the EEC. No one told me that we would then surrender so much to something called the EU.

Sceptical Richard

Ah well. Our government no doubt took part in the drafting, consultation process and final approval of the directive. Last time I looked they were elected by us, if through a highly imperfect process. So, pain in the proverbial but I’ll have to put up with it. Ultimately a good thing I suppose that my data is being better protected…

Sceptical Richard

You see, that’s the problem: you turn everything into an incontinent rant full of rage. Now suppose there is another person on the EU side that thinks like you but about the U.K., and you can quickly see how a solution will never be found, ending up costing everyone a lot more money, time, risk and effort, where instead we should be getting cool heads together, tell the prats who thought of excluding us in the first place to Foxtrot Oscar, and resolve the issue in everyone’s favour. Be tough in negotiations by all means, but remain positive and constructive.… Read more »


(Chris H) Richard – I may be old but I can assure you my bowels and bladder are in full control but thank you for your concern …


“Just the way the EU and its allies in Labour, Parliament and the Lords are fabricating the threat of violence over the Irish border issue shows the panic in their camp and their weakness of argument” Not mentioning the Irish protesters from both sides of the border standing with “no hard border placards then Chris? not mentioning the conservatives who are saying it then Chris? (surprise surprise) As a catholic with an Irish family that moved to England in the 60’s, I am calling you out once again on here for talking completely out your a**e. A hard border would… Read more »


(Chris H) SoleSurvivor – You know what you clown go take your personal abuse and shove it wherever. I am fed up with you making everything personal because I hold a different point of view. You try and act clever and yet portray ‘blocking traffic’ as a return to the Armalite and the bomb. I never once argued FOR a hard border. Quite the contrary you idiot (try reading before ranting). I argued that no border at all is necessary given my experiences in Felixstowe which lands massive amounts of goods with no ‘hard border’ at all. OK its a… Read more »


Are you stupid, it’s a land border, a container ship coming in takes time to unload and checks can be done. So a lorry trying to cross the border from ROI to NI, tell me how that works genuis without it being stopped and checked. “You try and act clever and yet portray ‘blocking traffic’ as a return to the Armalite and the bomb” What on Earth is that, you do realise that riots leading to death has many times started as a peaceful protest. That sentence just proved how little it is you know about the situation over there.… Read more »


(Chris H) SoleSurvivor – As someone who drove trucks across Europe, into Communist countries and even to the Middle East borders for many years I suspect I know a bit more than you do about stopping trucks at borders and handling ‘T Forms’, customs agents and TIR compounds in the shittiest of places. Google ‘TIR Carnet’ and I bet you still won’t understand. I later worked in senior positions in European Logistics and had to manage all the changes in legislation. So please don’t play clever (and show you aren’t) by mentioning container ships vs land borders. Every international journey… Read more »


I’ll ask again..

Tell me how a lorry is going to go from the ROI to NI without having to stop? if a lorry has to stop even for MINUTES!! (you see I can shout like a child as well) that is a hard border.

I’m waiting…

Steve M

I think that’s enough fellas to be honest. Let’s just move on.


The Galileo debacle is giving us a foretaste of how the EU will ultimately undermine and destroy NATO solidarity…


As this Country developed the security software behind the Galeleo system. Do we not have Intellectual Property Rights? So if the EU want to get all childish there is a quick counter and that is to publish the cypher and key algorithms. It will cost the EU millions to put a replacement system in place. We are in a very strong bargaining position if our politicians have the stones to play ball.

Andy G

This is just some silly fantasy, its in no way serious. We will be a full member of Galileo and reap many benefits from it.

Sceptical Richard

Here is hoping!


(Chris H) Interesting exchange during PWQs yesterday when the PM assured an MP that the UK were actively looking for a launch site in the UK for future satellite work (in this case possibly Cornwall). Not totally unconnected to Galileo given this news today of what the UK Government has been doing ‘below the radar’ recently: It seems the PM is facing down the EU over Galileo: Demanding £1 Bn back Denying the EU further UK Intelligence and Security assistance Stating its a breach by the EU of the December Withdrawal Agreement Denying access to Galileo of UK territorial… Read more »


There is not going to be a deal with the EU. There was never any chance of getting one. The EU is currently playing a straight forward game, push till the very very last second in the hope that the UK will buckle and pay everything, concede everything and be made to look weak internationally, whilst sending a clear signal to anyone else that dares to use its democratic right to leave the EU. Our elected representatives are generally not that smart, most have little or no business experience, in fact a great many of them have almost no real… Read more »