China and the security of galileo

Security and export control ies have not been important in the European satellite system, much to the chagrin of the USA

"We want our own Chinese national satellite navigation system," Yin Jun, director of the European Department of the Ministry of Science and Technology, said at the Munich Satellite Navigation Conference. In addition one takes however gladly everything, which comes. And the door is wide open for the European satellite navigation system Galileo. Eero Ailio, who is responsible for international relations at the European Commission, commented ambiguously: "Congratulations on your perfect timing."

In 2003, China and Europe signed a cooperation agreement, followed by the agreement with the Galileo Joint Undertaking (GJU) in 2004. Now China is a member of the board of the Galileo Joint Undertaking, with three representatives from China working for the GJU. For this, China paid 70 million euros. In addition, 12 project contracts have been signed. China is hoping for two more contracts at the moment.

China has thus secured access to Galileo at a time when no one seems to have cared about security and export control ies, as Pedro Pedreira, executive director of the European Supervisory Authority for Satellite Navigation (GSA), said. This question is only now, after the signing of the main contracts, being discussed in a broader public framework. Nevertheless, other countries need not worry if they want to invest and participate in the development of Galileo, says at least Giuseppe Viriglio, Director of Telecommunications and Navigation at the European Space Agency ESA. There must be the possibility for the industry to use third countries for components and services – if they are cost-effective.

Viriglio also presented a creative solution for the regulation of security-related ies and export control. One could gladly develop export control regulations at the European Commission, said Viriglio. Since Galileo as such is not exported, but only bilateral agreements are concluded, the new security regulations to be developed are obsolete anyway. The hair of the US representatives must have stood on end. Commenting diplomatically, the director of the U.S. Office of National Space-based Navigation, Positioning and Timing (PNT), Michael E. Shaw told Telepolis:

The U.S. has handled the ie of export controls on security-related technology with the utmost care for years. We would therefore like to encourage all nations that offer satellite-based navigation to be equally careful with this ie.

Especially since the Galileo conference was marked by a debate on the question of equal treatment of European member states. If China did not represent a security risk in the eyes of the European supervisory authorities, other countries, European ones at that, had to be classified in the same way. The Deputy Minister of Transport of the Czech Republic, Petr Slegr, also showed a sense of timing, pointing out that his country is a full member of the space agency ESA. But this also means access to security-relevant areas. Therefore, there was no obstacle to his country’s application to locate the Galileo monitoring center in Prague. A striking logic that led to smiles among the participants.

In any case, more and more countries such as China, India, Malaysia and South Korea are discovering the relevance of satellite navigation for military and civil security. They are developing their own independent system, thus doing what Europe has pretended to do, but in reality has never seriously pursued. Galileo was often presented to the public as a means of independence from the American satellite navigation system GPS when it came to raising money from parliamentarians. An analysis of the actual course of negotiations shows, however, that while this served as public justification, in fact Galileo was designed to be cooperative from the outset instead of the predetermined confrontation, also due to the forerunner Egnos (EGNOS demonstrates European satellite navigation).

Compatibility and inoperability between GPS and Galileo

What has long been known to insiders became public late last year. In 2007, an agreement was signed between the USA and Europe to further develop GPS and Galileo in a cooperative and, above all, interoperable manner. Since then, these two words have dominated the narrative, as they did at the Munich Conference. The representatives of the USA, Lt. Col. Harold Martin of Peterson Air Force Base and Michael Shaw told Telepolis:

For the USA, compatibility and interoperability are the main goals. We are therefore pleased to see that the various developers of satellite navigation are also showing such a willingness to cooperate at this congress.

Cooperation also includes the fact that satellite navigation providers do not interfere with each other. But this is precisely the danger that exists.B. by the Chinese Compass system, whose frequencies overlap with those of Galileo. Yin Jun said: "A lot of talks will be necessary to solve this problem."Extremely clear words from a representative of China.

In general, however, interference, unintentional and intentional of all kinds, still does not surprise the U.S. The U.S. representatives told Telepolis:

Interference detection and reduction are part of the normal development process when making satellite navigation systems interoperable, and rather serve to improve the systems.

They also explained:

We are aware that potential adversaries may be equipped with their own independent satellite navigation system. GPS III has been strengthened to better fend off adversarial jamming. Last year it was decided that in the future new satellites should no longer be equipped with a feature that made it possible to selectively switch off or weaken GPS.

A new technology has been developed that will make it possible in the future to react to all kinds of threats, to prevent GPS signals from being intercepted by enemies, to deny GPS to them and to ensure the security of American armed forces. However, this new technology has been classified as so secret that they do not want to give any explanation about how it works.

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