Israel used several new intelligence-gathering and strike technologies in its raid on Syria. New details of the attack involve a train of capabilities extending from satellite observations to precision bombing of the suspect facility on Sept. 6.
The launch of a new satellite this summer allowed the integration of several advanced technologies including electro-optical imaging from space, image-enhancing algorithms, scene-matching guidance for precision weapons and the use of advanced targeting pods carried by the Israeli Air Force's two-man F-16Is (the pods are not available on F-15Is).
In a series of interviews, several specialists detailed the technologies and how they were used. "Reality is more impressive than your imagination in some areas,"says a senior military officer.
Space observations provided early planning details for the raid. The important satellite for the Syrian raid was Ofeq-7 launched on June 11th. It has multi-spectral and high resolution electro-optical sensors and a resolution of less than a half-meter, far better than that provided by earlier Israeli satellites.
The space images were then improved by specialized imagery enhancement algorithms to sharpen pictures for planning precision bombing attacks.
The primary aircraft for the Syrian raid were some of the new, two-man Lockheed Martin F-16Is (Sufa or Storm) that Lockheed Martin began delivering to the Israeli Air Force in Feb. 2004. The backseater is a weapons systems officer who can focus on targeting and electronic warfare while the pilot focuses on flying and evading air defenses. Conformal fuel tanks give the fighters an unrefueled combat radius of over 500 mi. which matches the unrefueled range of F-15Is which would normally escort a flight of strike aircraft.
Sensors on the $45 million F-16I include a APG-68(v)9 radar with high-resolution synthetic aperture radar mapping capability and about 30% more range that other mechanically scanned radars.
But more importantly for this raid, the fighter had the Litening targeting pod. Its EO imagery can be used for seeker cueing. That imagery can also be used for scene-matching with the observations made by the satellite.
Read the entire Aviation Week article HERE.