In a move evidently intended to warn potential adversaries of the developing power of Israel’s space-based surveillance assets, the Israeli MoD and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) have jointly published images of the Tadmor world heritage site in Syria, taken from the OFEK 16 satellite launched last month. In so doing, the MoD is also revealing the national infrastructure for production of space cameras, shard by MoD and Elbit Systems.

Engineers from both organisations continue to prepare OFEK 16 for operational use. The spacecraft is an electro-optical reconnaissance satellite with advanced capabilities, equipped with a high-quality camera developed and manufactured by Elbit Systems and featuring excellent performance in a low-weight form.

The significant investment by MoD and Elbit Systems in space camera production infrastructure has resulted in laboratories for production of lenses and mirrors, as well as a vacuum chamber that simulates conditions in space, used to test the satellite camera prior to launch.

In the near future, and upon completion of the 'in orbit testing' process led by MoD, IAI and the IDF's Intelligence Directorate, the MoD will transfer the satellite to IDF Unit 9900 for operational use.

The State of Israel knows how to defend against its enemies both near and far, as well as to protect its citizens everywhere, from any given location. The technological means we develop in the Ministry of Defense together with our industries, are effective and significant tools in maintaining Israel's security. We will continue to work and promote Israel’s technological advance and edge, an element that is essential in contending with the many challenges we face,” stated Defence Minister, Benny Gantz.

Images of the Tadmor world heritage site and Roman amphitheatre in Syria highlight the resolution and reach of the OFEK 16 cameras. (Photo via IAI)

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