IAI’S MBT Space Division is presently conducting negotiations for the production of six new satellites, most of which will be photography satellites. The division is currently constructing the huge communication satellite Amos 4 on behalf of Spacecom. At the same time, the division is negotiating the construction of the civilian photography satellite Eros C for the Israeli company ImageSat, which already operates two civilian satellites.
Details were not given for the additional satellites, whose construction is being negotiated by the division, but it can be assumed that some of them will be constructed for foreign clients. Yossi Weiss, general manager of IAI's Systems, Missiles, and Space Group, stated that an increase is felt in the demand for photography satellites. This definition also includes spy satellites with optical systems as well as civilian photography satellites.
The Ofek-9 spy satellite, the latest in the line of Israeli optical spy satellites, was launched into space in June 2010. Ofek-9 joined the two other optical spy satellites, Ofek-5 and Ofek-7, which are still in orbit, as well as the TecSAR satellite equipped with radar systems that is capable of seeing through harsh weather conditions, clouds, and sandstorms.
The increased demand for spy and photography satellites should provide IAI with hundreds of millions of dollars over the next 5-7 years.