Israeli spy satellites: the needs, the solutions

No official word about it but it may be considered a solid fact: Israel will expedite its spy satellites programme as a result of the recent developments in Muslim countries in the Middle East.

Israel years ago gained its membership in the exclusive club of countries that are capable of manufacturing spy satellites and launching them into orbit.

Hundreds of millions of dollars were invested in the capabilities of Israel’s spy satellites. The result:  Israel has in space an array of very advanced spy satellites and is developing new more advanced ones.

This capability is very impressive if one looks on the members of the very exclusive club of nations that can manufacture and launch their spy satellites.

Currently Israel has six active spy satellites in space. Some are young in terms of space, others adult.

Three satellites of the Offeq series, two so-called civil satellites of the Eros series and the Tecsar synthetic aperture (SAR) satellite allow Israel to continuously monitor “areas of interest”.

All the Israeli spy satellites were built by Israeli Aerospace Industries, according to very precise operational requirements presented by the IDF’s intelligence corps.

The foreign publications claimed that the Offeq-9, the newest in the series, has a resolution of “less than half a metre”. Israel does not reveal the capabilities of its spy satellites but it is believed to be very good in any international standard.

While the SAR capabilities of the Tecsar have added to the 24\7 imagery collecting capability, this is not the last word in the space sensor technology.

El Op in Israel is developing very advanced hyper spectral payloads, for aircraft and satellites, to enhance the detection and verification process of targets.

El Op, a division of Elbit Systems, is currently manufacturing very advanced optical payloads and has manufactured the payloads of all the Israeli spy satellites that are equipped with optical systems. But to get better resolution from optical payloads, the aperture and focal length of them should be increased, a limiting factor.

To overcome this problem, El Op is developing the technology for a very advanced hyper spectral payload. 

According to El Op, the new payload will be based on a “bank” of known wavelengths reflected from numerous of potential targets.  “The fuel fumes, from a hidden tank, will help to identify it. Other emissions will tell the exact location of different items,” a company source explains.



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