India has purchased a spy satellite manufactured by the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and plans to launch it into space in April.
The advanced satellite will help India defend itself against terror attacks of the kind that were carried out in Mumbai last November.
The news of the satellite purchase was reported by Indian sources, prompting reports in the Indian and international medias. According to the reports, India bought the satellite because of pressure from the Indian army following the Mumbai terror attacks.
India has spy satellites, but they are effective only during daylight conditions and are ineffective at night or under poor weather conditions.
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The Indian NDTV station reported the Risat-2 satellite, which weighs 280 pounds, would be launched by an Indian Polaris rocket, which was also used to carry the Israeli Tecsar satellite into space last year.
All reports indicate that the new, advanced satellite is fitted with a special radar, capable of identifying targets on the ground, even in the dark, inclement weather and during sand storms.
The Indians charge the terrorists who committed the attacks in Mumbai arrived by boat from Pakistan, and an effective spy satellite would have allowed them to identify the boat long in advance.
India’s decision to buy an advanced spy satellite from Israel raises security links between Israel and India to a new level. This marks the first time that Israel has been reported to have exported a spy satellite.
The deal places IAI in a small and very select club of spy satellite manufacturers and exporters. The other spy satellite manufacturers, such as the United States and Russia, are not prepared to sell their satellites to foreign countries.
According to other security reports in India, IAI is currently developing a surface-to-air missile for India. It has also purchased unmanned aerial vehicles, and there are a number of other deals that are in advanced stages.
David Bedein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org