The IDF Intelligence Directorate informed Israel’s defense industries that it is interested in purchasing dozens of microsatellites from an American company rather than from Israel Aerospace Industries as was customary until now. Israel worries that the move could lead to a loss of knowledge on the national level due to a lack of production.

IAI satellite factory

IAI satellite factory Photo Credit: Israel News Company

The Israeli security establishment has been enraged over the past few days in the wake of an IDF Intelligence Directorate decision to purchase satellites that are not produced by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). In an attempt to prevent the controversial move, IAI CEO Yossi Weiss met with IDF Intelligence Directorate Chief Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi in order to warn him of the potential fatal blow that the purchase could cause towards the Israeli space industry.

As part of a sensitive top-secret project, the Intelligence Directorate wished to obtain dozens of microsatellites – very small satellites with high quality photographic capabilities. The Intelligence Directorate turned to an American company for the satellite production rather than the IAI, which is the Israeli security establishment’s main manufacturer.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit responded to the issue claiming that a decision has not yet been made regarding the purchase. The IDF also stated that the Intelligence Directorate works to preserve its leading spot in this advanced field with the help of new technology however, it currently has a limited budget.

As Israel is one of only a few countries with the technological knowledge and capabilities to manufacture and launch satellites into space, Israel Military Industries worries that the decision could lead to a loss of knowledge on a national level due to a lack of production.