UAE (United Arab Emirates) claimed that there are US-made security cracking components in the two military imaging satellites that it was willing to purchase from France. It has threatened to cancel the 3.4 billion dirhams deal.

US-based Defense News has reported the matter though it has not directly mentioned the involvement of US’ National Security Agency (NSA).  The US spy agency’s continuous involvement in hacking activities aiming at mobile, computing, and cloud storage devices has been a major point of concern.

The deal which was signed in July includes supplying two high-resolution Pleiades-type Falcon Eye military observation satellites, a ground station and training for 20 engineers. These are to be delivered in 2018. The Astrobus-based satellite system is to be supplied by Airbus Defense and Space while the observation and data transmission technology is being arranged by Italian-French joint venture Thales Alenia Space.

Pleiades joint civil-military high-resolution Earth-imaging satellite (picture above) which was launched firstly in 2011 and then in 2012 renders similar technology. UAE has alleged that the technology provided by Thales Alenia contains two US-made components that compromise data transmitted by the satellite. The report says that deputy supreme commander’s office was made aware of this detection in September. According to the report’s anonymous source, Russian and Chinese organizations have been asked to examine the components by UAE. Meanwhile, France has also been asked to modify these components.

The Defense News source announced:

If this issue is not resolved, the UAE is willing to scrap the whole deal.

The Defense News source also claims that the whole scenario might be a scheme devised to get UAE a fairer deal on the Dassault Aviation Rafale fighter.

NSA has been involved in intervening PC shipments to install surveillance backdoors. It is also reported that the US Security Agency installs backdoors in commercial networking supplies by employing a catalogue of security loopholes.

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