Say Cheese! Iran’s New Surveillance Satellite Snaps US Fifth Fleet’s Bahrain HQ

© Photo : Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace ForceImage from Iran's Noor-2 satellite, showing panoramic view of Manama, Bahrain, including headquarters of US Fifth Fleet.
Image from Iran's Noor-2 satellite, showing panoramic view of Manama, Bahrain, including headquarters of US Fifth Fleet. - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.05.2022
The Noor-2 (lit. “Light-2”) military satellite was launched into orbit in March on board a Quased (“Messenger”) rocket. The first Noor, deployed in 2020 and derided by US Space Command chief Jay Raymond as a mere “tumbling webcam in space”, showed off its capabilities by snapping the Al-Udeid Air Base – the Qatar-based home of US Central Command.
Iran’s Noor-2 satellite has sent back a panoramic image centred on the headquarters of the United States Fifth Fleet in Manama, Bahrain.
The satellite snap, one of several high-resolution images released by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and shared by local media in recent days, shows clearly identifiable components of the military facility, including the airfield, docks, and large enclosed hangers.
Approximately 9,000 military personnel and civilian Department of Defence employees are stationed at Naval Support Activity Bahrain, as the base is officially called. The base was used extensively during the US invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, and is also tasked with "deterring" Iran and keeping the Strait of Hormuz open to keep global oil supplies flowing.
Along with the large base, which also hosts US Naval Forces Central Command, the satellite image shows the Khalifa Bin Salman port.
The US Fifth Fleet’s area of operations include the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea and the north-western Indian Ocean, and in addition to at least one forward deployed carrier strike group, it typically includes expeditionary amphibious strike units, mining ships, replenishment vessels, subs, and a range of patrol, surveillance, and reconnaissance forces.
On Monday, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards separately released two other images shot by the Noor-2, showing landscapes in the southern Iranian provinces of Fars and Bushehr.
Iranian Minister of Information and Communications Technology Eisa Zarepour said the images being relayed by the Noor-2 demonstrates the failure of US sanctions to suffocate Iran’s space programme.
The Noor-2 has a reported resolution of about 10m, sufficient for keeping an eye on the general activities at adversaries’ bases and large objects like aircraft carriers, but not smaller targets, such as individual aircraft or vehicles.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi hailed the launch of the Noor-2 satellite in March as a major technical achievement and a source of national pride.
The satellite is operated by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Command, and orbits the Earth every 90 minutes for use in reconnaissance and remote-sensing operations. IRGC Aerospace Force commander Ali Jafarabadi promised that Iran would launch “a series” of Noor satellites in the years to come. The satellites are expected to receive additional technical upgrades as they become available.
The first Noor satellite, launched in April 2020, surprised US observers by snapping detailed images of Al-Udeid Air Base – the Doha, Qatar-based home of US Central Command. Al-Udeid is the largest US military facility in the Middle East, with as many as 11,000 personnel permanently deployed there at any one time.
Al Udeid Air Base - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.07.2020
Iranian Satellite Once Derided as ‘Tumbling Webcam in Space’ Snaps Pics of US’s Largest Mideast Base
Iran isn’t the only fledgling space power making strides in satellite surveillance technology in spite of limited resources and Western sanctions. In February, North Korea launched its own test reconnaissance satellite, releasing images of the Korean Peninsula from space and saying the test was meant to “confirm the characteristics and working accuracy of [a] high definition photographing system, data transmission system and attitude control devices”.
Image taken from camera aboard North Korean rocket conducting satellite test. - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.02.2022
Mystery Projectile Launched by North Korea Turns Out to Have Been Test of Spy Satellite Equipment
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