London, UK After three years of talks, the EU and the US have reached agreement on the frequency to be used by Galileo, Europe's satellite navigation system, clearing the way for the operational phase of the project.
According to the EU a deal on the signal structure to be used by Galileo proved problematic because of US fears that the European system could interfere with its planned M-code military signal. The agreement will see the adoption of a common baseline signal structure for both the EU and the US open services. The future US GPS will use a BOC 1,1 signal, whereas the Galileo open service will use a fully compatible optimised version of the same signal that guarantees a high level of performance.
This agreement will allow all users to use, in a complementary way, both systems with the same receiver creating a world standard of radio navigation by satellite. So that both systems can be improved in the future, the agreement also allows for a degree of optimisation of the baseline signal structures, either jointly or individually, in order to further improve performance.
A few outstanding issues remain, predominantly related to legal issues and procedural aspects, which still need to be resolved, but these are not expected to delay the signing of a formal agreement in a few weeks.