The UAE Government is seeking a technology transfer from France prior to resuming talks to acquire two intelligence satellites from the country, a high level UAE official has revealed.

Two high-resolution Pleiades-type Falcon Eye military observation satellites were ordered by the UAE along with two ground facilities and operator training for 20 engineers under a Dh3.39bn (€700m) contract from France in July 2013, as reported by Defense News.

However, the deal ran into rough weather in January of this year 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.

The unnamed UAE official was quoted by the news agency as saying that the defence officials negotiating the contract are insisting on technology transfer as a pre-condition for further talks on the satellites contract.

The source said, noting that a response is expected before the end of 2014, that they are still "waiting for a decision to be taken by the French with regard to the satellite issue, which has been interrogated by the UAE a few months ago due to a predicament in the main component.

"With the level of transfer still undecided, the UAE is attempting to get as much as it can, according to the news agency."

"The French defence minister had since paid many shuttle visits to Abu Dhabi and held talks with the senior armed forces officials in this regard."

With the level of transfer still undecided, the UAE is attempting to get as much as it can, according to the news agency.

Under the terms of the contract, Astrium Satellites will manufacture the satellites, while Thales Alenia Space is responsible for the supply of the Falcon Eye imaging payloads.

Airbus Defence and Space, Space Systems division head François Auque had earlier confirmed the contract has not yet gone into effect and negotiations are underway with the customer.

"We have received the American export license because there are American components. Once we received the license, the client wanted to examine a certain number of points with us," Auque said, refusing to give further details of the talks.

Defence Technology