Murphy's Law: February 15, 2004


The Israeli Air Force has changed its name to the Israel Air and Space Force. This reflects the fact that Israel has, for nearly two decades, been building and launching its own spy satellites. Last May, Israel launched Ofek ("Horizon") 5. While Israel could get satellite photos from commercial satellites, having your own spy bird allows you to look at what you want, when you want. But when Israel decided to build and launch its own satellites, the Israeli Air Force refused to take responsibility for the program. It was feared that, down the road, the air force would have to pay for the satellites out of their own budget. So the Ministry of Defense  paid for it as a "special program." In the 1990s, there were lots of good photos, and other information (apparently electronic eavesdropping) coming back. The Intelligence Corps was paying for the ground equipment, and in charge of distributing the goodies from space. This made the Intelligence Corps very popular, and increasingly powerful. At this point, the air force changed its mind and lobbied for several years until they got control of launching the satellites and running the ground stations. After another round of agitation, the IAF became the IASF. 


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