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. Norway joins EU's Galileo satnav project

by Staff Writers
Oslo (AFP) April 3, 2009
Norway said Friday it will stump up close to 70 million euros in funding for the European Union's satellite navigation project Galileo.

The Norwegian government will give a boost by providing 68.9 million euros (92.5 million dollars) towards the 3.4 billion euro project.

While Norway is not a member of the 27-member bloc, the country's economy and business minister Sylvia Brustad said it was important that Oslo took part in Galileo's development.

"The project will be of huge importance for the development of the European space industry and it is therefore important that Norwegian businesses are now able to compete," Brustad said in a statement.

The EU has previously struggled to secure financing for Galileo, which is expected to be launched in 2013 as a rival to the US Global Positioning System (GPS), and had to release unused funds from the bloc's massive agricultural budget.

In September, the European Commission and the European Space Agency, which includes Norway as a member, shortlisted 11 European firms which are bidding for future contracts connected to Galileo.

Two test satellites, Giove-A and Giove-B, were launched in December 2005 and April 2008.

When fully operational, Galileo will use as many as 30 satellites.

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Analysis: European defense contracts
Brussels (UPI) Jan 26, 2009
French arms exports soared by almost 15 percent in 2008, the French government announced earlier this month. France hopes to further boost its international arms exports by finally creating overseas demand for its long-criticized Rafale fighter jet, manufactured by Dassault.

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