The Israeli Intelligence Corps has revealed limited details of its spy satellite unit, which manages operations of the nation's five intelligence satellites and their payloads from a highly classified underground facility.

"We serve all the arms of the Israeli Defence Forces, and are capable of supplying needed data very shortly after the request is made," says the commander of the satellites unit, named only as Lt Col J. He adds that "2007 was for us a year that took our capabilities to a different world", referring mainly to the launch of Israel's new Tecsar synthetic aperture radar satellite. Other operational systems managed by the unit include the Eros A and B earth imaging and Offeq-5 and -7 optical satellites.

Processing of images sent by the satellites to the ground station is performed using special software that is being upgraded constantly by operators selected from new recruits and given specialised training. "This software enables us to squeeze the most out of each image downloaded from the satellite's payload," says Col J.

Source: Flight International