The United Arab Emirates has bought two surveillance satellites from France
The United Arab Emirates has bought two military surveillance satellites from France on Monday in a deal worth more than 700 million euros (US $913.2 million).
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French defence minister, signed on 22 May an agreement that includes the sale of two surveillance satellites, a ground station and training for local engineers.
During his visit to Abu Dhabi on 25 and 26 May, M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, argued the quality of the French offer to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed.
Under the $913.2 million Falcon Eye contract, the Emirates will receive a brace of Helios high-resolution satellites to be built by Astrium, the space division of the European aerospace defense giant European Aeronautics Defense and Space Co. and Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales of France and Finmeccanica of Italy.
In 2007, France and the Emirates signed a contract to develop communications satellites with Astrium and Thales Alenia Space. The Y1A, the first in the series, was launched in April 2011 from the European Space Center in French Guiana atop an Ariane 5 rocket.
The Emirates has established itself as the space technology hub in the region and launched its first satellite, the 419-pound DubaiSat-1, in July 2009 from Baikonur.
The Europeans edged out Lockheed Martin for this week’s spy satellite contract.