As you may be aware, Russia has been making rapid movements to expand and improve its GLONASS system to be a viable alternative to U.S. GPS systems. Earlier this year, Russia requested the permission to build a GLONASS station on U.S. soil and the U.S., unsurprisingly, refused on national security grounds. (Of course, we currently have several GPS stations built on Russian soil, but that’s beside the point, right?)
In a recent interview posted on RIA Novosti’s website, Ilya Rogachev, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s department of new challenges and threats, told RIA Novosti that the U.S. refusal to host a GLONASS site was for competitive reasons and merely a fear of not holding the monopoly on GPS technology.
“But [the US GPS monopoly] will not survive long anyway, because there is already the European Galileo system and China’s Beidou. GLONASS is the most advanced among them. So the US is putting a break on our project, but it is not an invincible obstacle,” he said.
Word is that Russia wants to place at least one station in Alaska, and has given the U.S. until August 31 to resolve the issue before they take our GPS stations on their soil completely offline. As of June 2, the U.S. stations were taken under full Russian control and disabled for military use. It seems rather like a measuring contest to me, but it will be interesting to see where it goes. We’ll keep you updated when the U.S. makes its decision sometime next month.