The Technological Services for Intelligence Unit’s soldiers decipher aerial photos, cross reference data, produce coordinates and relay critical information to the IAF’s operation squadrons. This is the unit’s story
Since 1948, when the “Aerial Photography Department” was established by a USAF serviceman who volunteered to assist the young IAF and to this day, the TSI (Technological Services for Intelligence) Unit has escorted and supported. Its members work night and day in order to provide the senior command with information that contributes to the successful performance of various missions. “There are many subjects the unit is responsible for, among them are deciphering aerial photography and production of coordinates”, said Lt. Col. A, the Unit Commander. “The people here carry heavy responsibility on their shoulders. One good photo is worth more than a thousand words”.
The unit is home to, among others, soldiers in mandatory service who serve as aerial photography analysts and coordinate producers. In training, the analysts study the secrets of analysis: how to approach a photo, using two or three dimensional perspectives in order to understand the height and distance between the different elements, and how to cross-reference all of the data and produce a clear and comprehensive picture. “With the information the soldiers bring, we produce additional targets for the target bank”, clarified Lt. Col. A. “The analysts are divided into different arenas and become acquainted with them in great detail – cities, villages, aircraft, various weapons systems and radars. Many of them know the enemy country they are responsible for better than the state of Israel they live in”.
The coordinate producers learn the fundamentals of coordinates and armament in the IAF and in practice, illustrate targets for operational squadrons.
Direct Connection to Operational Activity
Lt. Col. A emphasizes the tight connection between the unit and the IAF’s operational activity. “We operate in every existing arena. Our responsibilities and missions are directly derived from the IAF’s responsibilities and missions. In the event that war breaks out, the unit changes its activity status, transitions to around the clock operation and addresses every problem and scenario”.
During 2014 operation “Protective Edge” in Gaza strip, besides conveying information crucial to the production of targets, the TSI unit was responsible for assessing the damage caused in attacks of terror targets.