French-made observation satellites, able to provide high-quality photographs, will be used by the Polish military in a €1 billion contract

Image of Pleiades satellite (Source: earth.esa.int)

Poland’s Ministry of Defense will procure two observation satellites from French Airbus, the Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (DGP) newspaper reported on Tuesday.

In June, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak announced the plan to acquire two observation satellites from the French partners. According to a press report, the negotiations took longer than expected but the contract is due to be signed in the coming weeks.

All details regarding acquiring and functioning of observation satellites with the receiving station in Poland will be specified in the contract, spokesman of the Armaments Agency Lieutenant Colonel Krzysztof Płatek told the daily.

Negotiations with Airbus revolve around two topics. First, Poland wants to acquire satellites that will be able to provide high-quality photographs allowing for identifying infrastructure and vehicles of a potential enemy with ease. One pixel is to show a 30 square centimeter part of Earth’s surface, which will allow images that reveal the silhouettes of people but not what they are holding, for example.

The second topic is future Polish-French government cooperation regarding “reconnaissance based on electromagnetic radiation and satellite communication.” The paper believes that this cooperation will include the use of six Airbus Pléiades and Pléiades Neo satellites.

Acquiring its own satellites involves a number of bureaucratic requirements on the Polish government. “Space agencies need to be informed, frequencies in the International Telecommunication Union need to be acquired, and the satellite need to be registered in the U.N.,” points out DGP.

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Poland-Belarus border: The people pushed back in a Polish forest In Poland, a tale of two borders. On the Belarusian border, refugees face pushbacks and detention.

A group of people who crossed into Poland from Belarus are taken to a detention centre in outside Narewka, Poland in November 2021 [Kacper Pempel/Reuters]
Białystok, Poland – Mahir* and Hasan* wove their way through a forest in eastern Poland. It had been a dry start to the spring, and the branches and leaves rustled and cracked under their boots.

Just a week earlier, the two had met for the first time at a mutual friend’s dingy student accommodation on a sunny March afternoon in Moscow.

Mahir, a 40-year-old computer engineer from Yemen, had immediately warmed to the 30-year-old Sudanese architect’s cheerful disposition and forthright attitude. A meticulous planner, Hasan, who turned up dressed in jeans, hiking boots and a white jacket, exuded an air of confidence and optimism that had immediately put Mahir at ease.

But now, as they stopped to catch their breath and scan their unfamiliar surroundings, Mahir noted a flicker of concern flash across Hasan’s face. They had just succeeded in crossing into the European Union via Belarus, the final stage of a journey that had started in their respective homelands, where they had faced persecution and political unrest. This was the part they had not planned for. As they stood silently in a sprawling ancient wilderness, they felt a growing realisation that their journey to safety was far from over.

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