France-UAE-Falcon Eye deal runs into rough weather
The multi-million euro Falcon Eye deal between the UAE and France has run into trouble following the discovery of security compromising components in the intelligence satellites, a high-level UAE source has revealed.
A source was quoted by DefenseNews as saying that the observation satellites featured two US-supplied components that provide a back door to the highly secure data transmitted to the ground station.
"We have requested the French to change these components and (have) also consulted with the Russian and Chinese firms,'' the source added, without discussing the role Russia or China could play in future negotiations."
''If this issue is not resolved, the UAE is willing to scrap the whole deal.''
A number of high-level UAE delegates have been engaged in discussions with their Russian counterparts since the discovery to seek alternatives if the deal is scrapped, according to the source.
Two high-resolution Helios-type military observation satellites were ordered by the UAE military along with two ground facilities for satellite control and image reception, in addition to operator training for 20 UAE engineers under a Dh3.39bn (€700m) contract from Astrium Satellites and Thales Alenia Space in July 2013.
The satellites are expected to use the same satellite platform as the French military's Pleiades satellite, which is capable of detecting objects as small as 70cm in diameter, and is slated for delivery in 2018, as reported earlier by the news agency.