Israel’s Ministry of Defense and Israel Aerospace Industries have successfully launched a rocket carrying a new Ofek 16 electro-optical reconnaissance satellite with advanced capabilities into orbit.
Some sources reported that a new spy satellite will be used to monitor Iran’s nuclear activities.
Israel is one of a small number of countries in the world that operate reconnaissance satellites, giving it advanced intelligence-gathering capabilities. As of April, this cadre included Iran, which successfully launched a spy satellite into orbit after years of failed attempts.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that it’s “another extraordinary achievement for the defense establishment, for the defense industries as a whole, and for Israel Aerospace Industries in particular – and that “technological superiority and intelligence capabilities are essential to the security of the State of Israel.”
The satellite’s payload was developed by Elbit Systems. The launch engines were developed by Rafael Advanced Systems and Tomer, a government-owned defense company. Additional companies have participated in this program, including Rokar and Cielo. Various IDF officials from the Intelligence Corps and Air Force have also been deeply involved in the satellite development process.
Following the launch, the satellite began to orbit around the earth and to transmit data. IMoD and IAI engineers have started a series of pre-planned tests to determine the propriety and performance level of the satellite before it begins its full operational activities.
Once operational, the IDF’s 9900 Intelligence Unit will be responsible for the Ofek 16 satellite.