From DefenseTech, November 2, 2007, comes "Another Look at the Israel v Syria Raid"
"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."
Comment and Background
Ofeq-7 satelliteThe Ofeq-7 satellite is the designation of a series of Israeli reconnaissance satellites. All Ofeq satellites have been launched on Shavit rockets from Palmachim Air Force Base in Israel, on the Mediterranean coast. The Low Earth Orbit satellites complete one earth orbit every 90 minutes. The satellite launches caused Israel to become the ninth nation to launch satellites. Both the satellites and the launchers were designed and manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
While exact technical details and capabilities are classified, it is assumed that the Ofeq satellites have ultraviolet and visible imaging sensors, and an effective operational lifespan of 1-3 years. Some early reports stated the reconnaissance capabilities as such that would allow "reading license plates in Baghdad", but that can be ruled out on grounds of physical optics. Other reports more plausibly place the imaging resolution at 0.8 meters for Ofeq 5.
Ofeq's east-to-west orbit at 36 degrees inclination is phased to give optimal daylight coverage of the Middle East. Ofeq makes a half-dozen or so daylight passes per day over Israel and the surrounding countries, whereas U.S. and Russian spysats only get one or two passes per day from their higher inclination orbits. This optimal coverage degrades after several months, nevertheless keeping a very good coverage of the Middle East.
The AN/APG-68v(9) radar referred to above has improved resolution, increased range and lighter weight than previous radars. The AN/APG-68v(9)'s SAR (Synthetic aperture radar) capability uses enhanced software algorithms. Resolution in the cross range (azimuth) dimension is achieved by synthesizing a large antenna aperture using the motion of the radar platform as the synthesis basis. In brief, the movement of the radar plenum is what synthesizes the larger radar area.
The key to SAR is the data processing, of the reflected or returned information, which by the usage of software algorithmic design performs the SAR image focusing, so that the radar appears to provide ultra high resolution of the returned SAR image.
The AN/APG-68v(9) was not at all developedd in Isreal but bought by (probably using tied US military aid money) from Northrop Grumman. In theory Northrop Grumman will even be selling Pakistan 54 AN/APG-68v(9) sets by 2010.