Galileo, the $11.44 bn satellite programme is being developed by the EU as a rival to the US Global Positioning System. It has emerged as a flashpoint between Britain and the EU, which is already beginning to treat Britain as an outsider.
UK finance minister Philip Hammond has approved $128.5 mn to explore a post-Brexit satellite system. The official announcement will be made this week, according to the Sunday Telegraph.
A spokeswoman for Britain’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy declined to comment on the matter.
The European Commission has started to exclude Britain and its companies from sensitive future work on Galileo ahead of the country’s exit from the EU in seven months time.
Galileo was commissioned in 2003 and is due for completion by 2020. According to one expert, it could cost Britain about $3.85 bn build a system to rival it.
The EU has stated that Britain will be able to continue using Galileo’s open signal. However, Britain’s military could be denied access to the encrypted version when the satellite becomes operational.
Britain has said it plans to press ahead with the development of its own satellite navigation system if the EU continues to insist that it will be barred from the secure elements of the project.
It will demand a repayment of up to $1.28 bn for the work it has carried out on the project.