IAI and the Israeli Defence Ministry have unveiled the first images taken by Israel’s new Ofek-16 satellite, with the snaps showing Palmyra, Syria, the UNESCO World Heritage Site which came to international prominence in 2015 during its partial destruction by Daesh (ISIS)* terrorists.
The highly-detailed black-and-white photographs show Palmyra’s ancient Roman amphitheater, and the remnants of the Temple of Bel, the holy site consecrated to the ancient Mesopotamian god Bel.
In a statement praising the Israeli defence industry’s capabilities, Defence Minister Benny Gantz said the Ofek-16 was one of the tools enabling Tel Aviv to take action against its “enemies.”
The Ofek-16 is not yet fully operational, and IAI says it will be handed over to the military’s secretive Unit 9900 geo and special intelligence force in the near future for “in-orbit testing.”
The advanced satellite is said to carry a specially-created high-resolution electro-optical space camera by Elbit Systems, an Israeli defence electronics contractor. The camera is said to have the ability to photograph 15 square km of territory at a resolution of 50 centimeters with a single shot from an altitude of 600 km. The Defence Ministry says “hundreds of millions of shekels” have been invested in the project.
Ofek-16 was launched…