Galileo tender information package published
The European Commission published a tender information package on Tuesday, July 1 to further develop Galileo, the European satellite navigation system. The new call for tenders became necessary when infighting broke out among members of ESN Industries – formerly known as Galileo Industries – the consortium originally responsible for the Galileo upgrade. In order to prevent a complete derailment of the project, the European Parliament agreed in the spring to approve the final €2.1 billion of pre-financing that was needed for the "construction phase" of the satellite navigation system, which is scheduled to be completely operational by 2013. In return, a portion of the proceeds from commercial Galileo services during the operational phase will be paid to the European Union.
The call for tenders is subdivided into six work packages: "System Support", "Ground Mission Segment", "Ground Control Segment", "Space Segment", "Launch Services", and "Operations". For each package, the European Commission specifies detailed instructions that the contractors have to fulfil. Among these is the stipulation that the contractor must sub-contract 40 per cent of the total value of the work performed to small and mid-sized companies. In order to avoid dependence on individual companies, there is a requirement for "dual sourcing, whenever appropriate". This is aimed at controlling costs and staying on schedule.
The call for tenders process for "Galileo Full Operational Capability" (FOC) is expected to last a year. Initial decisions will be made in the autumn, then additional technical details will be discussed with potential candidates. According to information provided by a spokesperson of European Transport Commissioner Antonio Tajani, contracts will be awarded according to EU competition law and WTO regulations. This allows companies from non-EU countries to compete for Galileo contracts. Recently, US aircraft producer and satellite specialist Boeing announced that it was examining the possibility of taking part in the Galileo project. Russia is also hoping for contracts related to the Galileo project.