Poland has signed a contract to buy two French military satellites and a receiving station, the defence ministry announced on Tuesday. The satellites will come under the Polish flag by 2027, but Warsaw will be able to use French observation systems immediately.
The contract, which includes the purchase of Airbus Defence and Space’s IMINT Pléiades Neo optical satellites, their launch, and access to French data until then, amounts to €575 million.
“Eventually, our Polish satellites will operate within the French constellation, which will further enhance reconnaissance capabilities,” said Poland’s defence minister Mariusz Błaszczak at the signing ceremony in Warsaw, speaking alongside his French counterpart, Sébastien Lecornu.
The satellites will allow imaging reconnaissance data to be acquired with an accuracy of up to 30 cm, and their operating as part of a constellation will enable a much larger area to be covered.
“This is an extremely important capability, (and) extremely important opportunity to complement all that is related to deterrence, but also all that is related to early warning, both military and civilian,” Błaszczak said, adding that the observation system can be useful in case of natural disasters.
The observation system is expected to cover the area of Poland’s eastern border, where it neighbours Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania. To the northeast, Poland also borders the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.
“The current situation shows how important it is for each country to be autonomous in its assessment of the situation,” said Lecornu.