News Item

UK to lose Galileo PRS?

The Telegraph has learnt that UK could be denied use of Galileo's Public Regulated Service after Brexit.

The paper says: "EU legal concerns over whether a non-EU state can be granted access to the ultra-accurate encrypted satellite navigation data when it comes online in 2020 are behind exclusion plans being discussed in Brussels."

It continues: "The current tough EU position is enshrined in the draft legal text of the Brexit transition agreement, which states that the UK will be treated as an EU member state except where this would 'grant access to sensitive information' that a non-member 'is not to have knowledge of'."

It seems that EU ambassadors were briefed by European Commission legal experts that such words had been added to avoid UK having access to sensitive information - specifically Galileo PRS.

The European GNSS Agency (GSA) explains that the PRS will ensure better continuity of service to authorised users when access to other navigation services may be degraded; and, in cases of malicious interference, it increases the likelihood of the continuous availability of signals. This enhances both resilience and robustness, particularly against spoofing and jamming.

The GSA adds that the PRS is specifically for: fire brigades, ambulances, humanitarian aid, SAR, police, coastguard, border control, customs and civil protection units. No mention is made of the military; indeed, the GSA stresses 'With Galileo, users now have a new, reliable alternative that, unlike these other programmes (GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou), remains under civilian control.'

Galileo is funded and owned by the EU, with the Commission having overall responsibility for the programme. But Galileo’s deployment, design and technical development of infrastructure are entrusted to ESA, in which UK will remain. Indeed, the definition, development and in-orbit validation phases were carried out by ESA - co-funded by ESA and the Commission. The GSA is ensuring the future uptake and security of Galileo, the provision of such having been entrusted to it from 2017.

UK has already had the future standby Galileo Security Monitoring Centre removed from Swanwick; it now will be sited in Spain (see previous news below . .)

UK's Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has supplied the navigation package for all 18 Galileo satellites launched and, in December 2017, received an order for a further 12.

See The Daily Telegraph article below . .

  • 19 February 2018
  • RIN

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