The European Union has dished out the first set of contracts for its Galileo Navigation System, which has been designed to compete with the Global Positioning System run by the US military and Russia’s Glonass System.
EU has awarded a contract of Euro 566 million or £510 million to Guildford-based Surrey Satellite Technology and its German bid partner, OHB System, which will see the two firms jointly working together to build 14 satellites for the Galileo Navigation system.
According to reports, Surrey technologies, which will receive around 40 percent of the £510 million contract, will develop Galileo's navigation equipment that will include atomic clocks and the transmission equipment that will send information collected by the satellites down to the users. OHB Systems, on the other hand, will construct the satellite platform.
The two companies out bid their rival Astrium Germany which is a subsidiary of the European defense company, EADS. However, EADS-Astrium is still one of the bidders for building the rest of the satellite and has a major share in Surrey Satellite Technology.
The Galileo Navigation System is designed to provide navigation support across Europe and will require 27 satellites to cover the Earth. EU incidentally has plans to commission 32 satellites and is expected to make the service functional by 2014.