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UAE deal to purchase two intelligence satellites in jeopardy

Source: http://www.newsforage.com/2014/01/a-united-arab-em...

From News Forge

A high-level UAE source said the two high-resolution Pleiades-type Falcon Eye military observation satellites contained two specific US-supplied components that provide a back door to the highly secure data transmitted to the ground station.

“The discovery was reported to the deputy supreme commander’s office [Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed] in September,” the source said. “We have requested the French to change these components and also consulted with the Russian and Chinese firms.”

The source would not elaborate on what role the Russians or Chinese could play in future negotiations.

According to the deal — signed July 22 by Sheikh Mohammed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the armed forces, and French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian — delivery was set for 2018, along with a ground station.

The satellites are provided by prime contractor Airbus Defence and Space and payload-maker Thales Alenia Space. Neither company was available for comment.

Twenty engineers will be trained to use the new equipment.

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