Defense Ministry reveals first photos from Ofek 16 satellite over Syria

Photos show the ancient city of Tadmur, close to where Iranian forces operate.

Photo taken by Ofek 16 satellite over Syria (photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)
Photo taken by Ofek 16 satellite over Syria
(photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)
More than a month after the Ofek 16 reconnaissance satellite was launched into space, the Defense Ministry has published the first photos taken by the advanced satellite over the ancient Syrian city of Tadmor close to where Iranian forces are known to operate.
“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,” said Defense Minister Benny Gantz. “The technological means we develop in the Defense Ministry, 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.”
The Space Administration in the Defense Ministry led the development and production of the satellite and its launcher. Israel Aerospace Industries is the prime contractor, having assigned the program to its Systems, Missiles and Space Group, together with the MLM division, which is responsible for the development of the launcher.
The Ofek 16 carries Elbit’s electro-optic, high-resolution camera which can photograph 15 sq. km. with each shot at a resolution of 50 centimeters from an altitude of 600 km.
Photo taken by Ofek 16 satellite over Syria showing the ancient city of Tadmur (Credit: Defense Ministry)Photo taken by Ofek 16 satellite over Syria showing the ancient city of Tadmur (Credit: Defense Ministry)
According to the ministry, hundreds of millions of shekels were invested in the national infrastructure for the production of space cameras. Shared by the Defense Ministry and Elbit Systems, it includes labs for the production of lenses and mirrors, as well as a vacuum chamber that simulates conditions in space, which is used to test the satellite camera before it is launched for its mission.
The pictures released on Monday were taken over Syria and show the Tadmor world heritage site, ancient ruins and the renowned Roman theater.
The ministry plans to transfer the satellite to the IDF’s 9900 Intelligence Unit in the near future upon the completion of its “in-orbit testing” process. Like other reconnaissance satellites launched by Israel, Ofek 16 will be used to monitor threats facing the Jewish state.
Israel has admitted to hundreds of airstrikes against Iranian targets and infrastructure to prevent the transfer of weapons, from ammunition to surface-to-air missile kits, to Hezbollah in Lebanon for the entrenchment of its forces on the Golan.
Israel has been accused of airstrikes close to Tadmor, specifically the T-4 Airbase located between Homs and Palmyra, which Iran has been using to fly in military cargo.
In April, nine fighters belonging to the Syrian Arab Army and Iranian militias were killed in an airstrike on the city of Palmyra, which was blamed on Israel.