By Andy Sambidge
Technology firm is selected by the UAE's Air Force to develop part of plan to establish military observation satellites
France-based technology firm Thales Alenia Space has been selected by the United Arab Emirates Air Force (UAEAF) to develop part of a programme to establish military observation satellites.
Thales said in a statement that it will deliver the very-high-resolution payload for the UAE's Falcon Eye programme, within the scope of a consortium led by Airbus Defence and Space.
The contract was officially signed by the UAE in August but is now entering into force, the company added.
The contract includes building two satellites offering very-high-resolution optical capabilities and a ground system for monitoring, receiving and processing images, as well as a training programme for the engineers from the UAE who will control and operate the satellites once in orbit.
The UAE's AED3.4 billion ($925 million) Falcon Eye optical observation satellites are meant to provide new capabilities to its military by 2018.
As the co-contractor, Thales Alenia Space is in charge of the high-performance, very-high-resolution optical payload, the image data transmission subsystem, the ground image processing system, and co-engineering and validation of the overall system.
Jean-Loïc Galle, president and CEO of Thales Alenia Space, said: "This contract with the UAEAF culminates a long effort by our teams with a total support of the French Government, the French Ministry of Defence in particular.
"It underlines once again Thales Alenia Space's unique capabilities in high-resolution optical observation systems, whether for French defence applications or export markets.
"This partnership with Airbus Defence and Space combines the strong points of our two companies to stand up to the competition and bolster Europe's position in the global space industry."For all the latest tech news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.