Abu Dhabi, UAE: The United Arab Emirates reopened negotiations with France for a military surveillance satellite, underlining the Persian Gulf state’s concerns about Iran’s expansionist policies. The move, however, could also be linked to the protracted negotiations to buy 60 Dassault Aviation Rafale multi-role fighter jets, a deal that could be worth up to USD 10 billion.
The satellite project was first mooted in 2008, shortly after the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), consisting of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain, scrapped its HudHud programme. That at one point involved French-Italian Thales Alenia Space company, which would produce radar-optical observation satellites for a joint Saudi-Qatari-Emirates programme. The project was abandoned in 2008.
On April 24, the Emirates launched its fifth communications satellite into orbit, the first to provide secure and independent telecommunications for its armed forces amid a drive by Arab states in the gulf to boost their military capabilities against Iran.
Source: Space Daily