The "British GPS" will probably never see the light of day

In 2018, following the eviction of the United Kingdom of the Galileo program Because of Brexit, the strong reactions emanating from the political class and the British government had finished convincing Theresa May to brandish the threat of erecting a system of geo-positioning national and independent of the European initiative. A feasibility study and 130 million pounds later, the symbol of post-Brexit independence undoubtedly suffers from a delay in ignition. Disagreements between ministers and senior British officials are now emerging as to the viability of an expensive but no less strategic project in a particularly degraded international context.

Indeed, according to an article from Daily Telegraph as of May 8, certain officials of the Cabinet Office and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy would put pressure on the British government to reconsider the ambition of a “made in UK” GPS system. Although publicly supported by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the estimated cost of the project ranging from 3 to 5 billion pounds could be right of the latter, in an economic climate severely degraded by the Covid-19 crisis. The feasibility study which was to be published last March is at a standstill and delayed by " at least six months " It is however this same study which must establish the architecture of the project and launch the first works. Another study is said to have been launched by the Cabinet Office to question the relevance, scope and form of a national geolocation system, thus further obscuring the horizon of the latter.

Like the American GPS system, the Russian Glonass or the Chinese BeiDou, Galileo is based on a constellation of around thirty satellites. The implementation of a purely British parallel network, at the time of Brexit, is undoubtedly perfectly illusory. Other technical alternatives are however possible for more specific military uses.

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