US embassy cable - 09BERLIN1116 (original version)

GERMAN INTELLIGENCE VIEWS ON OPTICAL RECONNAISSANCE CAPABILITIES (original version)

Identifier: 09BERLIN1116
Wikileaks: View 09BERLIN1116 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Berlin
Created: 2009-09-10 15:46:00
Classification: SECRET
Tags: ETTC PGOV PINR MCAP PREL TSPAM JP FR SP UK
Redacted: This cable was redacted by Wikileaks. [Show redacted version] [Compare redacted and unredacted version]
VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHRL #1116/01 2531546
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 101546Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5153
INFO RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI 0182
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0205
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0726
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1625
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 1257
RUEKJCS/HQ USEUCOM LO WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEHRL/USDAO BERLIN GE
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUCUSTR/USSTRATCOM OFFUTT AFB NE
S E C R E T BERLIN 001116 
 
SIPDIS 
STATE FOR EUR/CE PETER SCHROEDER 
STATE FOR ISN/MDSP DICK BUENNEKE 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/10/2034 
TAGS: ETTC, PGOV, PINR, MCAP, PREL, TSPAM, JP, FR, SP, UK, 
GM 
SUBJECT: GERMAN INTELLIGENCE VIEWS ON OPTICAL 
RECONNAISSANCE CAPABILITIES 
 
REF: A. BERLIN 1080 
     B. BERLIN 1049 
     C. BERLIN 765 
     D. BERLIN 601 
     E. BERLIN 561 
     F. BERLIN 181 
     G. 08 BERLIN 1575 
 
Classified By: Global Affairs Unit Chief Don L. Brown for 
reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1.  (S//NF) SUMMARY:  The German Intelligence Service (BND) 
expressed confidence that Germany's proposal for a High 
Resolution Optical System (HiROS) reconnaissance satellite 
program "will be realized regardless of the outcome of the 
German general elections this month" and is advocating for a 
US partnership on HiROS.  The BND is adamant that HiROS 
include infrared imaging capabilities and that they have 
priority tasking on at least three HiROS satellites.  In a 
related development, the German Space Agency (DLR) is 
planning on signing a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with 
Lockheed Martin for cooperation on HiROS on September 30 in 
Denver, CO. 
 
2.  (S//NF) On September 2, EconOff was provided with the 
notes of a meeting between Astrium Vice President for Earth 
Observation, Navigation on Science, Dr. Reinhold Lutz, and 
BND Vice President for Military Affairs, Major General Armin 
Hasenpusch, in which they discussed the future of the HiROS 
proposal.  These notes contained Lutz's summary of the 
meeting and were sent as an email to Astrium-Satellites CEO 
Evert Dudok and Astrium-Services CEO Eric Beranger. 
(COMMENT:  Astrium-Satellites Director for External Business 
Opportunities and DLR consultant, Tom Walati, was cc'd on the 
email and forwarded it to EconOff (strictly protect).  Walati 
is very motivated to promote German-U.S. cooperation on HiROS 
and was likely not given permission by Astrium to forward 
this email to a USG employee.  END COMMENT)  END SUMMARY 
 
 
BND/ASTRIUM HIROS MEETING NOTES 
------------------------------- 
 
3.  (S//NF) Begin text of informal Embassy translation of 
German-language meeting notes taken by Astrium Vice President 
for Earth Observation, Navigation and Science, Dr. Reinhold 
Lutz, with the subject "HiROS for the BND": 
 
The visit of BND General Hasenpusch, his IMINT-liaison 
Officer, COL J.K. Trenker, and addition team members to 
Astrium produced the following results: 
 
1) The BND is the official consumer for HiROS - this is 
politically uncontested. 
 
2) The BND (Trenker) has concluded a complete market analysis 
(of HiROS) with cost/use accounting and submitted the results 
to the appropriate Germany agency for review. 
 
3) The BND asked us not to act further politically (on 
HiROS).  The decision can only be made by the next German 
government.  (COMMENT: In reference to the post-September 27 
German general elections. END COMMENT) 
 
4) The BND is certain that HiROS will be realized - 
independent of the election outcome. 
 
5) HiROS (with three satellites) by design an open system. 
Additional capacity (beyond BND's needs) shall be 
commercially marketed.  (COMMENT: "open system" in this 
context implies that the HiROS system architecture, as a 
joint government/commercial system, will be open to industry, 
research institutions and academia.  END COMMENT) 
 
6) Medium-wavelength infrared (MIR) and thermal-infrared 
(TIR) channels are essential (possibly not on every 
satellite).  (COMMENT: the IR channels in this case refer to 
the 3-5 micron thermal spectrum useful for detecting various 
 
missile burns.  END COMMENT) 
 
7) In addition to MIR and TIR, a particular unique feature of 
real-time three dimensional (3D) image processing is being 
considered with a combined system ability for five look 
angles per over flight.  The 3D real-time software would be 
developed by Professor Hirzinger from the German Space Agency 
(DLR). 
 
8) The BND requires HiROS tasking priority (hidden) for their 
own three satellites. 
 
9) Additions to the HiROS constellation (e.g. additional 
satellites) through international partnership, for example 
with the USA, would be viewed positively so long as the 
condition in point (8) is preserved. 
 
10) A partnership with an US operator would fit well within 
the German political landscape (this was stressed multiple 
times). 
 
11) The BND is aware of the situation that South Korea has 
already paid the development costs that are being used for 
their goals.  (COMMENT:  The South Korean "goals" in this 
case refers to a partnership between DLR and the Korean 
Aerospace Research Institution (KARI) to develop the optical 
sensor capability for KOMPSAT-3 and earlier systems.  The 
KOMPSAT-3 sensor is the base design for the sensor that would 
be used on HiROS.  END COMMENT) 
 
12) The BND does not share the German Ministry of Defense's 
(BMVg) position that the German decision to support MUSIS 
(and with it the concentration of BMVg competency with 
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)) is not viewed as competition 
but rather as a desired complement.  (COMMENT: The 
Multinational Space-based Imaging System (MUSIS) is a 
proposed EU consortium composed of France, Germany, Italy, 
Greece, Spain, Poland, and the Netherlands that would allow 
its members to transparently task/share space-based remote 
sensing assets/data to meet intelligence requirements.  Under 
the proposal, France would be the primary contributor of 
optical data and Germany the primary provider of synthetic 
aperture radar (SAR) data.  END COMMENT) 
 
13) The Astrium subsidiary InfoTerra Ltd will market HiROS's 
commercial capacity. 
 
(Dr. Lutz also noted the following) 
 
In conclusion, this confident customer (the BND) has done its 
homework.  I see the realization of HiROS as very probable. 
 
It is important that a well coordinated action in the 
direction of the USA that fits well into the above be 
undertaken.  The bigger the constellation becomes, all the 
more attractive the commercial potential is. 
 
We should also discuss this with Japan.  The Japanese firm 
PASCO has already spoken to Astrium about HiROS. 
 
End text of informal Embassy translation. 
 
 
DLR TO SIGN HIROS MOU WITH LOCKHEED ON SEPTEMBER 30 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
 
4.  (S//NF) Walati said DLR is planning on sending high level 
representatives headed by Dr. Hubert Reile, DLR Program 
Director for Space, to Denver, CO on September 30 to sign a 
DLR/Lockheed Martin MOU on HiROS.  According to Walati, 
Astrium-Germany and DLR, in potential partnership with 
OHB-System and Lockheed Martin, are offering to the UAE a 
HiROS system with a Ground Resolution Distance (GRD) of 50 
cm.  Walati said he has already received "verbal commitments" 
of support from the German government on this endeavor 
provided that OHB is involved.  Walati said Lockheed is 
interested in building the ground segment for this system and 
is also interested in constructing the satellite busses. 
 
 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
5.  (S//NF) The BND has come to the conclusion that having 
complementary optical imagery along side Germany's SAR-Lupe 
data is essential and is actively promoting HiROS.  BND 
advocates a HiROS partnership with the US as a way to share 
costs/risk and well as provide some political cover from the 
French.  The French see HiROS as a serious threat to their 
commercial space ambitions and are likely working German 
political channels to forge support for MUSIS, thus keeping 
Germany dependent on France for electro-optical imagery (EO) 
and preventing political support for an indigenous German EO 
capability.  Being uncomfortable relying on France for EO, 
this is exactly the situation the BND wants to avoid. 
 
6.  (S//NF) Lutz, a fairly high ranking Astrium official, has 
accepted that HiROS is likely going to happen and 
communicated this sentiment in his email to the French side 
of Astrium.  It is unclear how this opinion will be received 
within French Astrium or how exactly they will respond to the 
BND's statements.  Both Lockheed and the BND emphasized the 
necessity of adding infra-red imaging capabilities to HiROS 
and DLR views this capability to be of particular interest to 
potential USG customers.  If an MOU is signed with Lockheed 
Martin later this month as expected, this will represent a 
significant step towards HiROS becoming a bona fide program. 
 
7.  (SBU) For further information, please contact Shane M. 
Petersen, Email: PetersenSM@state.gov; SIPRNET: 
PetersenSM@state.sgov.gov. 
Delawie 

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