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Subject: Willl the EU get its own GPS?
ambush    5/17/2007 9:51:14 PM
Will the EU get its own GPS system, does it make any sense for them to? Global Market Brief: Galileo's Failure to Launch The European Commission acknowledged May 16 that the Galileo satellite positioning program will need to be fully funded by EU member states, and that the program will have a military function for the European Union. But Galileo still has a major problem: It plans to compete with the free or nearly free services of the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS), and many EU states see no future conflict with the United States, enjoy unfettered access to GPS and wince at the thought of committing massive public funds to an uncertain program. Despite the European Commission's optimism, Galileo is far from becoming a reality. As the EU Commission has rightly acknowledged, without its own satellite navigation system, the European Union wholly depends on the U.S. GPS network for its military needs. Satellite positioning grants a host of useful abilities -- from munitions targeting to operational coordination -- that have shaped the U.S. revolution in military operations. But the United States can restrict access to the GPS system in times of conflict. The idea of relying on another country's hardware for military prowess is daunting in a world of shifting alliances and uncertain futures. The original Galileo plan involved the construction and launch of 30 satellites in 2010, using a mixture of public and private investment in the program. At that point, the price for the program was $4.9 billion, with $1.6 billion coming from member states and private investors filling in the remaining $3.3 billion. However, after years of squabbling among EU states and skepticism among private interests about the program's ability to yield commercial benefits, the European Commission has decided to go it alone. The new plan, awaiting the EU ministers' approval in June, will cost member states $12 billion, and Galileo will not be operational until 2012. After the initial infrastructure investment, which is expected to provide thousands of jobs, the European Union expects the member states to get a full return on their investment. Operation of Galileo will be turned over to private firms, which will finance operational and management costs. While EU nations probably could afford to share the yearly maintenance costs of an operational Galileo system, the high up-front cost of $12 billion is a lot to ask right now. The United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain are all in the process of acquiring new aircraft carriers. NATO commitments in Afghanistan are stretching many EU defense budgets as it is. The United Kingdom is also undergoing a major naval modernization. Galileo cannot be a high enough priority for defense budgets right now to see $12 billion. In pitching the project to member states, EU Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot said that a functional satellite positioning system is essential for Europe's independence in the space age. He tried to sugarcoat the fact that the system will seek out military customers, saying, "You cannot exclude a user because he is military. It will be civilian controlled É but there will be military users." According to Barrot, the satellite navigation market could be worth $610 billion by 2025, of which the European Union would get about $200 billion. But those benefits are optimistic, far down the road and, frankly, ludicrous in light of the fact that the United States already offers these services globally -- for free. The fact is there is simply no market for Galileo. Galileo would be useful for EU member states' militaries seeking independence from Russian, Chinese and U.S. satellite guidance systems. But not all states in the European Union feel the pressing need to compete with the United States. In particular, the United Kingdom and Denmark have expressed opposition to Galileo, saying there is no need to put extra money into a long-delayed project when membership in NATO grants them access to encrypted GPS signals, which are more accurate than the publicly available signals. Most EU nations are also NATO members, for whom the prospect of engaging in a conflict that does not involve coordination with the United States -- or is so anathema to U.S. interests that Washington would cut a NATO ally off from the GPS signal -- is not a real enough concern. In the extremely unlikely event that an EU state was cut off from GPS at a key moment, states such as the United Kingdom and Denmark might suddenly find a good reason to support the development of an independent satellite positioning system. But until then, Galileo will not have anything in the way of a customer base, and the European Union as a whole will have a very difficult time getting Galileo off the ground. Furthermore, considering that the United States will be launching GPS II -- the new and improved network that is still in the development phase but appears to be on track
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VelocityVector       5/17/2007 10:09:32 PM

Will the EU get its own GPS system, does it make any sense for them to?
Makes more sense for them to collaborate with an Asian power, and I believe Germany will drive the deal.

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french stratege       5/20/2007 5:09:43 PM
Yes Europe will have Galileo for a simple reason: independance!
Armed forces as civilians rely more and more on USA controlled GPS.
In the future USA could disrupt our sophisticated economies in hours by this legal way since it is a US system.
If we rely on GPS, we lose our independance.
EU was a way to COFINANCE Galileo and to lower cost.
If current business model to lower the cost for states which were the less interested, doesn't work, Galileo will be developped by public funding in the EU framework, or ESA or even multinational basis.
Whatever happens and whatever the cost, France and likely Germany, Spain and Italy will develop it.
And I can not imagine USA would accept to put GPS on UNO control (only alternative) so Galileo will be done.
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french stratege       5/20/2007 5:19:40 PM
I think that India or Japan could be also interested.
Any power which want to have an independant foreign policy should be interested.
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Yimmy       5/20/2007 5:51:30 PM

Any power which want to have an independant foreign policy should be interested.

How is jumping on the EU bandwagon any more "independant" than jumping on the US bandwagon?

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ambush    The EU falls behind China   6/8/2007 3:53:56 PM,2933,279083,00.html

LUXEMBOURG —  As European Union ministers consider how to get the problem-plagued
Galileo satellite navigation system into orbit, one man who has been there had some simple advice — do it fast, or the Chinese will steal the show.
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Jeff_F_F       6/8/2007 4:20:22 PM
One advantage of having the system up is that if military GPS receivers were designed to receive both signals it would mean more satelites available at any time, providing potentially greater accuracy, and more redundancy of the network if an enemy attempted to disrupt it by taking out satelites.
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