Military Capabilities

Japan to gather intelligence from privately operated nanosatellites

22 May 2018

Japan’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) is looking to diversify its intelligence-gathering capabilities by collecting images from privately-owned miniaturised Earth-observation satellites, an MoD spokesperson told Jane’s on 22 May.

After signing a JPY200 million (USD1.8 million) contract earlier this month with US company Planet Labs, the ministry will use imagery provided by the ‘Dove’-series of nanosatellites operated by the San Francisco-based firm.

Under the contract, the MoD’s Defense Intelligence Headquarters, which is responsible for collecting and analysing foreign military intelligence, will be able to access and download images from the company’s database during the period of 1 June 2018 to 31 March 2019, the spokesperson said.

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