Florence Parly, the French Minister of Defence, has accused Russia of using one of its communications satellites, Luch (Olymp-K), to have electronically eavesdropped on the Franco-Italian military ATHENA-FIDUS mission. Having allegedly previously done the same to two Intelsat communications satellites at 18 degrees West in the summer of 2015, in October 2017, the Luch (Olymp-K) spacecraft positioned itself close to the Athena-Fidus spacecraft near 38 degrees East in the geostationary orbital arc in late 2017.
The Access on THeatres and European Nations for Allied forces – French Italian Dual Use Satellite (ATHENA-FIDUS) mission offers non-encrypted communications capacity to the French and Italian defence and police forces.
Florence Parly said that France will put cameras on its spacecraft to monitor spacecraft arriving nearby for an eavesdropping mission. France plans to launch two new military Syracuse 4 class military communications satellites in 2022.