Dubai: A United Arab Emirates (UAE) deal to purchase two intelligence satellites from France worth almost 3.4 billion dirhams ($930 million) is in jeopardy after the discovery of ‘security compromising components’. “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. We have requested the French to change these components and also consulted with the Russian and Chinese firms,” said a high-level UAE source.
According to the UAE source, the discovery prompted increased talks between the UAE and Russia and a number of high-level delegations have shuttled between Moscow and Abu Dhabi. “If this issue is not resolved, the UAE is willing to scrap the whole deal,” the source added.