United Arab Emirates inks $1 billion deal with Airbus and Thales for satellite systems

An official in the United Arab Emirates says the Gulf federation has reached a deal valued at just over $1 billion to buy satellite systems from European manufacturers Airbus and Thales.

The deal was announced Monday, the second day of the International Defense Exhibition, in the Emirati capital, Abu Dhabi.

Exhibition chairman Obadi al-Ketbi says the deal for the satellites and related equipment is worth 3.75 billion dirhams ($1.02 billion), part of roughly $2.6 billion in equipment purchases announced by the Emirates. He did not give details on the satellites' use.

The seven-state Emirates federation has been investing heavily in space technology, and last year announced plans to send the first unmanned Arab spaceship to Mars.

IDEX is the largest expo of military equipment in the Middle East.