In the last few days, Belgium’s military intelligence service has access to a new state-of-the-art spy satellite providing the sharpest images so far available in Europe, the VRT reports.
The new satellite is part of a joint project with France and Germany, and will be used by the General Intelligence and Security Service of the armed forces.
The satellite is the second of three involved in the programme, and communicates with Earth by contacting the Swedish polar station at Kiruna at 30-minute intervals.
“With this satellite, our country, together with France and Germany, has the sharpest images currently available in Europe,” said one senior officer, who declined to give details about the resolution.
“Military secret,” he said.
However a French general was reported a few weeks ago explaining that the new spy satellite delivers such sharp images “the weapons held by fighters on the ground” can be identified.
The CSO-2 satellite carries a variety of sensors – colour, infrared, panchromatic – that can be combined to produce 3D photos. The images can then be made available to troops on the ground in the Sahel, Mali or Iraq. Meanwhile back at home, expert analysts can study the images and provide further information based on their analysis.
But the powers of the satellite will not only be available to defence forces. The images could be used, for example, to determine if a uranium mine or a nuclear facility was operational. And its geolocation capabilities can be useful to the Belgian navy and other maritime vessels.
In the event of major disasters in the world, the foreign affairs ministry could request ultra-detailed maps of the region affected. And foreign affairs could even be prepared for an emergency that hasn’t happened yet.
“For example, at major international sports events where there are many Belgians, we can prepare evacuation routes to hospitals in advance for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” one of the expert analysts told the VRT.