UAE is in the process of purchasing $930 million worth of satellite hardware and technology from French companies. However, the deal is on the brink of being scrapped after UAE authorities found backdoors in the US-made components in satellites.
The companies involved in the deal include Airbus Defence and Space as well as Thales Alenia Space. Although the satellites were manufactured by the French companies, the presence of US parts in them isn’t very surprising. That’s because the two countries have an agreement over transfer of capabilities.
However, what has aggravated the situation is the claim by UAE authorities that they found backdoors in the US components contained in satellites. The issue has already been brought to the attention of Sheikh Muhammad Bin Zayed, deputy supreme commander of UAE’s army.
The authorities say that given the sensitivity of the data to be transmitted over these satellites, UAE is resolved to have the issue sorted or scrap the entire deal. If the deal is scrapped, it is very likely that UAE will turn to Russia for the purchase of the technology. The country already utilizes Russian space technology, says a French defense expert, ‘The UAE has drawn on Russian technology, with the GLONASS space-based navigation system fitted as a redundancy feature on a Western European weapon system.’
The interesting part is that the Pleiades-type satellites, which UAE is due to receive in 2018 if the deal goes forth, are also used by France. So independent French defence analysts have lambasted the government, citing that possible backdoors in these satellites could compromise the nation’s sovereignty.
Courtesy: The Hacker News