February 19, 2013

Israel – Spy Satellites Super-power

(i-HLS) : Experts involved in the development of an array of Israeli satellites say that there are currently seven working in space independently. In terms of quality and technology the level of Israeli manufactured intelligence satellites (“blue and white”) is second only to the United States.  According to foreign reports, the “Shavit” launcher is capable of launching “Jericho” models of inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBM).  “Jericho 3″, for example, can reach a range of 4500 km to 11,500 km. According to foreign reports, the “Jericho 3″ can carry 2-3 splitting nuclear warheads.

There is no country in the Middle East today, including Iran, that can perform covert operations – for example, transporting weapons or handling missiles of any type – without being discovered and detected. The sophisticated intelligence Satellites of the Israeli defense forces – including the “Ofek 9″, which was launched in June 2010 from the Air Force base of Palmachim, are filming unusual activities and transfer high resolution photographs to the sophisticated IAI control center.

According to media reports following its’ launch, the properties of the “Ofek 9″ include the capability to identify objects the size of 70 cm, but in actuality its capabilities are suspected of being much higher. Sophisticated spy satellites can accurately distinguish the objects being carried by people who are being photographed in the area under observation. Specialists who study IAI satellites report that  ”one cannot say exactly what the size of the details are, but if  commercial satellites have legal restrictions on the size of identifiable objects, the performance of military satellites is much better.”
Israeli experts engaged in developing satellite systems say that “there are currently seven states that operate in space independently. In terms of satellite quality and their technology – Israel is second only to the United States.”
‘Ofek 9′ was launched into space by the Israeli satellite launcher ‘Shavit’, which was built at the Mabat plant of Israel Aircraft Industries. ‘Shavit’ was designed for the launching and placing of satellites in low orbits at altitudes between 200 to 500 miles above Earth. The ‘Shavit’ satellite launcher is a three stage launcher powered by solid fuel and is produced at IMI and Rafael. The launcher rises to height of 20 meters and weighs about 30 tons. According to foreign reports, the ‘Shavit’ can also be used to launch inter-continental ballistic missiles of the ‘Jericho’ models.  ’Jericho 3′ for example, can reach a range of 4500 km to 11,500 km. According to those foreign reports “Jericho 3″ can carry 2-3 splitting nuclear warheads.
The properties of the ‘Ofek 9′ are: Weight – 300 kg, height – 2.3 m, width with wings open – 3.6 meters, diameter when the wings are closed – 1.2 meters. The ‘Ofek 9′ orbits the Earth every 90 minutes at an altitude ranging from 311 to 600 miles. The expected life of the satellite is four years, but if there are no unexpected problems, it can continue its work in space for at least two more years. ‘Ofek 9′ has an optical camera which was made and installed ​​by Elbit’s EL-OP division and which is capable of transferring information about the activities in the Bushehr nuclear reactor to its control center.
The quality and capabilities level that defines the Israeli Space Agency was described by its’ Chairman, Prof. Yitzhak Ben-Israel, “Israel currently operates ten satellites working in a shared array. Each of these satellites ends an orbit of the Earth once every hour and a half. One satellite is followed in succession by another. At any given moment there is no interesting place in the entire Middle East that is never under observation.

 By Ami Dor-on

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