UAE want to equip two observation satellites. Groups tricolor Astrium and Thales Alenia Space are resisting against the United States.
Sand War between the French and Americans in the United Arab Emirates. Astrium and Thales Alenia Space (TAS), who make common cause in this competition, not disarm against the new proposal from Lockheed Martin. And because the amount of the contract exceeds EUR 500 million. According to reliable sources, the American who has made a new offer very interesting technique in the UAE to win a tender for the supply of two observation satellites have forced two French groups to revise their proposal under pressure of Emiratis, very opportunistic to request a new offer builders lights. Initially, Astrium and TAS were favorites yet a first tender for the supply of two observation satellites having a resolution of 50 cm in front of Raytheon, which was 20% more expensive, according to our information.
But the emergence of Lockheed Martin has completely changed the game. The U.S. group has seen a contract canceled by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), an agency of the Department of Defense of the United States whose function is to collect, analyze and disseminate geospatial intelligence using satellite imagery. With a satellite manufactured arms, the American jumped on the opportunity to offer the UAE. Especially since this satellite - Digital Globe - has a resolution of 34 cm, much higher than that proposed in the first tender. Washington has also been used to its industry by signing an agreement with Abu Dhabi intergovernmental governing the conditions of use of the satellite.
The French were forced to react to this new proposal, which has reshuffled the cards. Requested by industry for several months, an intergovernmental agreement required by Emiratis, was finally signed by France. During his visit to the UAE last week at the IDEX defense exhibition, the Defence Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, initialed to the satisfaction of the agreement with UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. And agreed to return to the Emirates with a new French offer definitive and engaging six weeks.
Today, Astrium and Thales Alenia Space, which bickered to pull prices low but are forced to work together under the watchful eye of Paris - the state has been very clear, he wants a joint bid - are currently working on a new offer improved technique to recover at the Lockheed Martin. This is not at all impossible for both partners. Two solutions are being explored. Or degrade a version of a type satellite Helios, either increase the performance of a satellite type Pleiades.
France in a good position
France has not lost the competition. Far from it. The French will offer at least the same level as that of Lockheed Martin although it will be reassessed at the price compared to the first offer because of its technical improvement. Especially as nonrecurring developments will be charged. Both partners are also in the process of defining a generic product will then be offered for export. Like what requirements UAE have good ... Finally, the conditions of use of American satellites are so strict that they should not meet Emiratis. Those of Paris are much more flexible.