Israel has launched another spy satellite Ofek 9 to conduct the surveillance over the Iranian nuclear program. The satellite was launched from Palmahim air base to the south off Tel Aviv, on board Shavit booster rocket.
The satellite weighs 300 kilos. The craft is equipped with high-definition cameras; the orbital height is 300 kilometers. Ofek 9 (‘Ofek’ translates as ‘horizon’) will be able to transmit high-definition photographs of the Iranian territory. The space photos will give Israeli military officials an opportunity to observe the works conducted within the scope of Teheran’s nuclear program. It is not ruled out, though, that the new spy satellite will also transmit other types of information, which can be important for Zahal.
Israel launched its first Ofek satellite in 1988. The first and the second satellites were experimental, the following ones began to collect intelligence information. The launch of the ninth spy satellite has received extensive news coverage in the world since it was performed after the USA and Israel considerably increased their naval presence in the Persian Gulf.
The Sunday Times, for example, wrote that Israel had sent three German-made submarines to the Gulf with nuclear cruise missiles on board. The 7th flotilla of Zahal – submarines Dolphin, Tekuma и Leviathan – have been in the Persian Gulf before, the newspaper wrote. Now at least one of them will be on duty in the Gulf permanently. The flotilla commander, named only as Colonel O., referred to his submarines as underwater strike forces operating very far from Israel’s borders.
Each of the above-mentioned subs has the crew of 35-50 men. The subs are capable of launching cruise missiles with nuclear warheads to strike targets anywhere in Iran. The subs can stay at the depth of 1,150 feet for about a week. They can also stay motionless for a long time and collect intelligence information.
The London-based Arab newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi said with reference to sources in Egypt that 12 vessels of US and Israeli navies traveled from the Mediterranean to the Read Sea through the Suez Canal. Eye-witnesses, the newspaper wrote, said that they could see many military men on board the ships. A US aircraft-carrier was seen carrying tanks and airplanes. It seems that it goes about the main attack force of the US Navy with USS Harry S. Truman at the head.
Most likely, the group of vessels is going to join the CVN-69 strike group leaded by USS Eisenhower. Experts believe that the strengthening of naval forces in the region followed the new UN sanctions against Iran. The additional ships in the Persian Gulf will establish full control over the deliveries of sanctioned goods to Iran. The military presence will also allow the USA and Israel to respond immediately to any aggressive actions on the part of the Islamic state which strongly disagrees with the resolution of the UN Security Council.
Some political experts say that the current state of affairs in the Middle East may develop into another war. Another military conflict may exert a positive influence on the economy of the USA and its allies. The Persian Gulf smells gunpowder.