UK to scrap EU defence satellites for homegrown scheme, Prime Minister confirms

An artist's impression of the Galileo FOC satellite. Picture: Pierre Carril/ESA/PA Wire
An artist's impression of the Galileo FOC satellite. Picture: Pierre Carril/ESA/PA Wire

PRIME minister Theresa May has confirmed that the UK will not be using the Galileo satellite system for defence post-Brexit – with the country instead developing its own global satellite navigation system.

The Galileo programme was due to be accessible to British armed forces once fully operational in 2026 – but this has now been scrapped.

Mrs May says this decision was made after the European Commission told her that secure elements of the system would not be open to the UK after Brexit.

She said: ‘I have been clear from the outset that the UK will remain firmly committed to Europe’s collective security after Brexit.

‘But given the Commission’s decision to bar the UK from being fully involved in developing all aspects of Galileo, it is only right that we find alternatives.

‘I cannot let our armed services depend on a system we cannot be sure of – that would not be in our national interest.

‘As a global player with world-class engineers and steadfast allies around the world, we are not short of options.’

In August, £92m was set aside for plans to develop a new system, which would be compatible with the US GPS system.

Around €1.4bn has been invested by the UK into the Galileo project to date.