Blog Editor’s Note: The below article got us thinking again about how a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) is an instrument of national influence and power.
In addition to being a very useful tool for a nation’s civil and military use, it is a status symbol. It literally shows the nation has captured the high ground and its economic and technological prowess.
GNSS’ practical uses can also garner allies and make them dependent upon the system’s owner.
China is doing an outstanding job with this as shown in the below article. They are also providing free Bei Dou receivers to the military and civil forces of neighboring governments, and are undoubtedly suggesting that, since GPS is jammed and spoofed so often, Bei Dou is a much better way to go. All part of their larger Belt and Road initiative.
At the same time the US government appears to see GPS as a military system and apparently has no desire to improve its utility for civil users. Hence it has fallen behind other GNSS in many ways (see, for example, our 12 December 2021 post).
Bei Dou is clearly an indication of China’s ascension in the world.
Is GPS an indicator of America’s decline?
China and the Arab states will expand their cooperation in using the China-developed BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), according to the third China-Arab States BDS Cooperation Forum and reported by XinhuaNet.
China and the Arab states will jointly implement pilot projects in key domains in the application of BDS and GNSS over the 2022-2023 period, according to a cooperation action plan signed at the forum, held Dec. 8 in Beijing.
Both sides will facilitate the establishment of BDS/GNSS centers in the Arab states, hold training courses on satellite navigation technologies, and exchange visiting scholars. Each year, China will offer scholarships to three to five students majoring in navigation and communications from the Arab states, said the action plan.