Reports have emerged suggesting that the British government may seek Australian assistance in building its own satellite navigation system, following the news that Britain may not have full access to the European Galileo system after Brexit.
British firms will also be barred from tendering for Galileo, the European equivalent of GPS. A number of UK firms are already heavily involved in the build, including Airbus UK, CGI UK, and Surrey Satellite Technologies.
In response, the British government has threatened to prevent UK firms from transferring technical knowledge on Galileo’s Public Regulated Service (PRS), a navigation and timing signal used by militaries and government agencies, to Brussels.
The Galileo project aims to provide European governments with a secure alternative to GPS in order to reduce military reliance on the US.
The US has previously denied India access to the GPS system, which has also experienced outages due to technical issues. India built its own system following the US denial.
Reports in the Financial Times have indicated that the Australian government expressed interest in participating in the British project, although Canberra did not provide further comment.
The news follows the launch of a national space agency in Australia, which forms part of the government's plan to boost the domestic space sector. Budget 2018 committed $41.8 million over the next four years towards this objective, including $26 million for the space agency.