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The vision of launching from the air

 Joining forces between Rafael and the aviation industry is essential for Israel

By: Amnon Barzilai 
In a few months, when the Ofek 5 intelligence satellite will be launched to replace Ofek
3, Israel's military space program will enter a new era. Then a phase will begin
The implementation of the construction of the satellite intelligence system, designed to increase the
The ability to alert against the threat of missiles for mass destruction that Iran is developing,
Iraq and Syria.

This is a ten-year plan, in the amount of three billion shekels, which has begun
Following the failure to launch Ofek 4 about three years ago. According to the plan,
Several intelligence satellites will float in space, providing real-time images and information.
The goal is to close time gaps between the discovery of the threat and the response and to ensure
Continuously available information of any suspicious movement by any hostile entity. in parallel,
And as a backup for the military satellites, the security system will also use satellites
The civilian photography from the Eros family, which are mainly intended for commercial needs.

But even before the first military satellite was launched, the defense system started
A discussion on the question of whether Ofek satellites, produced by the Aerospace Industry,
Launched by comet launchers made by it, they are the necessary intelligence satellites
to the IDF The Air Force is trying to convey the message that it is no longer convinced
in so doing. At the seminar held by the Fisher Institute in Tel Aviv (established by the Hil
the air) a few weeks ago - on the topic of air and space from a point
The view of small and medium-sized countries - spoke the commander of the air force, the general
Dan Halutz, on the priority that must be given to development
Micro satellites for intelligence purposes. The advantage of small satellites, he said
He is a pioneer in that it is possible to make a country as small as Israel
can withstand them. And the main thing, from the point of view of the commander of the Air Force -
Small satellites do not need to be launched from the ground. "An aerial launch will allow us
To use a fighter plane to launch satellites for short periods, when required."

The turning point in the approach of the Air Force, one of the main drivers for satellite development
Intelligence, it became apparent at the end of the term of office of the previous commander of the air force, Eitan
Ben Eliyahu, and strengthened with the entry of Halutz into the position. Before the two was introduced
A program of the Weapons Development Authority (Raphael) for micro development
satellites The plan - which was revealed to me at Fisher Seminar Island by VP
Raphael for Business Development, Dr. Avi Getzler - presents the "Launching Vision".
from the air". The idea, which is based, among other things, on the knowledge acquired during development
The Technion's research satellites, "Texat", which Raphael was involved in,
Offers the development of satellites that weigh less than one hundred kilograms. The satellites will be launched
into space from F-15 fighter jets the launcher, which will put them into orbit around the Earth,
will be a derivative of "Black Anchor" (the target missile, which is used for experiments
the launch of the "Arrow"), which was built on the basis of the technology of an air-to-ground missile

The concept of Raphael scientists, of launching satellites from fighter planes, constitutes
An innovative breakthrough in the field of space. At its center is the idea, according to which
Launching microsatellites from fighter jets enables the miniaturization of launchers. all
This is because the fighter plane, flying at an altitude of about 15 km, is the first stage
And critical in accelerating the satellite when breaking through the dense atmosphere layer. If
The launcher wouldn't have to do this hack, it could be small
by a lot Rafael believes that the Black Encore, which will be converted into a three-stage missile,
will be able to easily insert tiny satellites (about a third of the weight of Oref)
to orbit around the Earth at an altitude of 1,500-500 km. the advantage
His will have a low weight, about five tons (a fourth of the weight of the comet),
And the test - to create a launch pad (Mitala) under the wing of the H-15 plane,
That she has the strength to carry the launcher - it is achievable.

There is no debate about the operational advantages of launching satellites from fighter jets.
The launch from the air eliminates the need to establish expensive ground launch sites.
It allows satellites to be launched from every corner of the world, and thus one can be freed
from the limit
which involves launching satellites from Israel (from east to west), which stems from the fear
that they will fall in enemy territory. But the main thing is the cost. Barfael claims that
Commercial production will have the price of a micro satellite equipped with a camera
Miniaturized and in a communication system - about 8-5 million dollars. the price of the launcher
will be about 5-3 million dollars. Thus, at a cost that is half of the investment
In the development of Ofek satellites, it will be possible to launch 25 micro satellites.
The satellites will provide photographic coverage at all hours of the day, of all areas
The geographies from which there is a danger of launching ballistic missiles into the past
Israel. Rafael claims that within two or three years it will be possible to start
in their production.

Head of the Weapons Development Administration (MPAAT) in the Ministry of Defense, Major General
Yitzhak Ben-Israel, believes that the idea is attractive. The problem is, that the
There is a monopoly on building launchers and satellites. The Ministry of Defense must bring
For full cooperation between Raphael and the TAA and for the unification of scientific forces in this way
To be able to promote the best program at the lowest cost.

Rafael wants to launch satellites from a fighter plane

The space war between Israel Aerospace Industries and Rafael
By Amnon Barzilai



Archive photo: Pavel Wahlberg: The "Ofek" 3 intelligence satellite is manufactured
Israel Aerospace Industries

The two leading defense industries in Israel - the aerospace industry
(TAA) and the Weapons Development Authority (Raphael) have recently been filled with spirit
battle. Raphael comes up with a revolutionary idea to launch tiny satellites into space
Using the F-15 fighter jet, the IAA administration is furious about this.

CEO of the Mbat plant of the Aerospace Industry - where satellites are manufactured
"Ofek" intelligence - Yitzhak Nissen, and the deputy director general of the ETA Ovadia
Harari, warned in internal discussions about Rafael's plan. they
They claim that in Israel - where they fight for every engineer and scientist - the establishment of a center
Additional knowledge for satellites is considered a luxury. Therefore, they require a therapist
to give up its plans and share with the IEA its knowledge in developing satellites

To strengthen its position, the TA claims that the dispute is where the knowledge center will be located
Israeli for the development and production of satellites, was already decided in 1983. Then Minister
security, Moshe Arens that the TAA - and not Raphael - will be the one to produce the
Israel's intelligence and communication satellites. Since the decision of Arens have been produced
At the "Ofek" satellite factory and the "Amos" communication satellite.

Rafael's CEO, Giora Shelgi, is determined to advance the satellite project.
He draws encouragement from the fact that the company, for the first time in its history, completed the
Its activity for the year 2000 was a profit of one million NIS.
As far as is known, there is no plan in the world to develop satellites that will be launched from airplanes
battle. At the TA, doubts are revealed about the challenge Rafael has set for herself. "which
It was possible to build satellites smaller than Ofek's model, we were
We do it ourselves", says a key source in the defense industries who was
A partner in the construction of satellites. The same factor also doubts whether a fighter plane
can launch a satellite into space. According to him, there is no lightweight launcher in the world that can
carry a satellite to the heights necessary to put it into orbit around it
to the earth

Today's struggle sets the two defense industries back twenty years
- To the competition for the development of Israel's intelligence satellites.

In 1979, the decision was made at TEA to develop small satellites weighing
About 250 kg. The director of the MLM factory in those days, Dov Raviv ("Father of the Arrow"),
He proposed, following the development of the "Shavit" satellite launcher, to also produce a satellite.
Raviv believed that the three powerful engines of "Shavit" are strong enough
To put a satellite into orbit around the earth at an altitude of about 480
km. The "comet", according to foreign publications, is a derivative of a missile
The Ground-Ground (TKK) "Jericho". Mbat factory, under the management of Shmuel
Alcon, pick up the glove.

The project was headed by Dr. Moshe Barlev, who headed the development field of
Future missiles. In 1982, the TA submitted to the Development and Means Administration
Lahima (MAPAT) in the Ministry of Defense a combined proposal of its two plants - MLM
and MBT - for the development of the launcher and the satellite.

Rafael was ahead of the TEA in the space programs. In his book "Raphael", writes
Its founder is Monia Mardor, because as early as 1964, Dr. Yonatan Mas went to the USA
So that you will assist in setting up a station to track satellites in Israel. at the end
In the 70s, almost at the same time as the programs at TAA, a group was formed in Raphael
which included Mass, Zvi Ever and Dr. Marcel Klein who offered to produce a satellite.
Klein was appointed head of the project.

Until the Lebanon War, Rafael believed that the Ministry of Defense would prefer her proposal. but
The resignation of Minister Ariel Sharon and the appointment of Moshe Arens, as well as his appointment
To the CEO of General (Res.) Menachem Marom, they changed the picture. Exchange
The men and the prolongation of the competition allowed TEA to organize better. the company
She found a "foreign client" who was willing to participate in the financing of the project. That's the approach
The TAA offer is 50% cheaper than Rafael's. Arens preferred the IAA
For economic reasons, and at the beginning of 1983 it was decided that the TAA would build the satellites.

The dispute in 2001 is more complex. TAA already has a proven ability
in the independent development of satellites and launchers. Rafael, on the other hand, emphasizes
her contribution to the development of the three-stage satellite launcher (engines) of
The "comet". Although the IAA developed the first engine and the military industry the
The second engine, but Raphael is proud of the development of the third engine. This is because
that while the first two engines bring the "comet" to a speed of 3
km per second, the third engine adds 5 km per second to the missile's acceleration
- The added speed that allows the "comet" to penetrate the atmospheric layer
and reach the desired lap route.

Rafael gained her knowledge in the field of launching from developing a rich variety of
Powerful missiles. The last of which he launched the "black anchor" which is
A target in the experimental exercises of the Arrow interceptor missile. Unlike Tilly
Air-to-ground designed to hit ground targets, the launched "Black Anchor".
From a fighter plane, it is required to soar to heights of many tens of kilometers. In this way
"Black Anchor" is trying the power of the "Arrow" missile to fuel other missiles
Ballistics fired at Israel.

So it turns out that thanks to the cooperation with the IAA in the "Hatz" experiments, there is an outbreak
Raphael Derech in the field of launches. As in TEA, finding a solution in the field
The launch is Raphael's key to breaking into space. The development of the tiny satellite
will be the next step.
Arens: Any decision, on its merits
The former Minister of Defense, Moshe Arens, responds to the claim as if he had decided in 1983
Where will the Israeli knowledge center for the development and production of satellites be located. "The decision
Mine regarding the development of the launcher and the satellite we were thinking of attaching to it was
spotty There was never any intention to build a doctrine, universal,
which will last 30-20 years, according to which only the Israel Defense Forces will build satellites. No one
He thought in the early 80s that a number of satellites would be built. Any decision on development
Satellites in the future should be examined on the merits of the matter."

The Ministry of Defense states that Arens' decision from 1983 has nothing to do with it
A binding document. Nor is there any decision that limits the office from making decisions
futurity in the field of satellite development.'
Appeared in Haaretz newspaper, 4/1/2001
*The knowledge website was part of the IOL portal from the Haaretz group until the end of 2002

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