The UAE Government has authorised Airbus Defence and Space to manufacture and deliver Falcon Eye Earth-observation satellites to the national armed forces.
Officially signed by the government in August this year, the Dh3.39bn (€700m) contract covers production of two Pleiades-type Falcon Eye satellites that offer high-resolution optical capabilities and a ground system for monitoring, receiving and processing images.
The package also includes a training programme for 20 UAE engineers, who will control and operate the satellites once in orbit.
Airbus Defence and Space Systems head Francois Auque said: The Falcon Eye high-performance Earth-observation satellite system will provide an unrivalled observation capability to the Emirate’s Armed Forces.
"This contract consolidates Airbus Defence and Space’s position as the world leader in the export of earth-observation satellite systems, and is a major show of confidence in our company’s technology and, further, in the French and European space capabilities in the field of earth observation.
"This very wide-ranging cooperation programme is, along with the Yahsat communication satellite system, another example of the sustainable cooperation between Airbus Defence and Space and the United Arab Emirates."
Airbus will serve as the leader of the industrial team that also includes Astrium Satellites and Thales Alenia Space.
The satellites were scheduled to be delivered by 2018, but the deal ran into difficulties in January 2014 following the discovery of two US-built security compromising components in the intelligence satellites that could enable transmission of all data to an unauthorised third-party.
In a separate development, Airbus also secured a contract to provide a wide-ranging and innovative in-service support (ISS) package for the British and French A400M Atlas aircraft.
The contract was awarded by the UK Defence Equipment & Support and the French defence procurement agency. It covers all areas of maintenance, and includes the implementation of spare parts pooling and the establishment of maintenance engineering services to benefit both air forces.
The UK and French air forces have ordered 22 and 50 A400M Atlas aircraft, respectively.
France has received five aircraft to date, while the UK took delivery of the first aircraft last month.