Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has won an order to build a new communications satellite for Israel.
Named Dror-1, the craft will have a design life of 15 years. Details are vague as to the coverage or orbital location.
IAI is a state-backed business and local reports say that the satellite will cost the Israeli government extra costs over and above what a foreign-made satellite would have cost. Local press reports say the purchase of a locally made satellite cannot be justified on economic grounds.
According to an IAI statement the order implements a September 2018 governmental decision to advance Israel’s industry infrastructure.
“Israel Aerospace Industries is proud to develop and build the State of Israel’s Dror 1 communications satellite for the benefit of the essential satellite communication capabilities required by our state,” said Boaz Levy, EVP/IAI Systems, Missiles & Space Division.
“The government’s decision was made from the understanding that this is a vital capability of the State of Israel and it requires ensuring complete independence in the field, while preserving the knowledge and expertise accumulated over the years in Israel,” IAI said in a statement, without disclosing financial details.
However, the decision – while keeping IAI financially afloat – is potentially bad news for Spacecom and its AMOS fleet of craft. Indeed, exiting Spacecom CEO David Pollack has described the decision as “surprising and demagogic”.
The new IAI satellite is designated for mainly governmental use.
IAI built AMOS 6 which was destroyed in a pad-fire in 2016.