Thousands of new nanosatellites will soon join the growing arsenal of space technology at the disposal of the Israeli military.
The satellites will be used by the Intelligence Corps' Unit 9900 to allow it to have better and more consistent surveillance of Israel's enemies. The improved monitoring capabilities will allow the military to decipher intelligence in a more efficient way.
"We can generate a picture of any point in the world within minutes," one source says.
The acquisition of satellites is part of a collaboration with the U.S., which is expected to grow within the next few years. The IDF plans on leasing thousands more satellites from different Western companies in the future.
According to the unit's development outline, the satellites are will function almost completely autonomously in the next few years. Their system will trace distant territories, and be programmed to alert and direct the operators and decoders to the exact location of interest.
The automatic monitoring system of large parts of enemy territory is already in advanced stages of development. For example, the new system is wired to identify ideal routes for tank units by reading the relevant territory's landscape and obstacles.
The pace of Unit 9900 depends on may factors, one being the physics behind our planet's rotation. To keep up with all the incoming orders, the unit developed a special algorithm that organizes all the different locations they have to photograph, creating a more efficient system.
Additionally, the satellites require diligent upkeeping, which must often times be done from afar.
"When guests from foreign militaries come here, they cannot believe that missions are carried out by a 19-year-old soldier, while her 20-year-old friend activates the satellite," said a representative from the unit's operation room.
"Everyone here knows that it is a strategic resource that costs up millions of NIS to operate, and the soldiers picked to be here are very talented and intelligent."
According to the unit, terror groups, such as Hezbollah, also have access to satellite images Israel takes, and can use them for their strategic tactics. The reason being that there are more private satellites in space than there are state-owned ones.
The last time unit 9900 launched a satellite into space was July 2020, when soldiers participated in the launch of Ofek-16 electro-optical reconnaissance satellite.