IAF F-15s loaded with 500- and 1000-pound precision guided bombs launched an attack on Hamas (Metro) underground tunnel targets in the Gaza Strip. Photo: Amit Agronov, IAF
The recent conflict between Israel and Hamas terrorist organizations and Islamic Jihad in Gaza revealed numerous new capabilities developed by both sides. On the Israeli side, Iron Dome Counter Rocket, Artillery and Mortars (C-RAM) was a clear winner. In a large-scale deployment of the system nationwide, Iron Dome units were intercepted at more than 1,500 from 4,400 rockets launched against Israel, demonstrating a 90% success rate. Another new capability was the use of heavy precision guided bombs that penetrate the ground to destroy more than 100 km of the network of underground tunnels that Hamas has built under the Gaza Strip. The new command and control network recently launched by the IDF was the orchestration of the whole operation.
The Palestinians challenged the Iron Dome with large rocket rescues, some including 50 or more rockets. Up to 140 rockets were fired in 20 minutes. They have significantly expanded the range of their rockets and have employed new multiple launchers that stack six, nine and 12 heavy rockets at targets 70 to 90 km away. They also introduced heavy rocket ammunition (IRAM) loaded with 400 kg of explosives, aimed at short-range targets.
They attempted to reach targets farther than ever, up to 200 km, deploying attack drones and autonomous submarines (UUVs) in an attempt to target Israel’s offshore platforms. A significant new capability demonstrated in Operation “Guardian of the Walls” was the attack on the underground network that Hamas has built under populated areas across the Gaza Strip. The change in attack led to a dramatic improvement in efficiency, a process that allowed for close collaboration between air, ground, sea, space and cybernetic operations.
The revolution of goals
“We have drastically reduced the shutdown time of the sensor processes on the trigger, or ‘fire circles’: the time between the detection and location of a target until the attack of that target.” Brigadier General Yariv Nir, head of communications and information technology for the IDF’s cyber defense division, told “People and Computers.” “This process includes the receipt of information from various sources, sensors, intelligence, operational and legal elements, the processing and dissemination of this information to different stakeholders and, finally, issuing orders to attack this goal, with the information needed for precision attack. This process has been reduced by between 40% and 30% in recent years. “
Under the new method of work, the army first decides what the concentration of effort is, what enemy skills they want to deny, and then conducts objective research to find the most appropriate targets. Based on the destination database that is refreshed all the time, the targeting system automatically touches the destination pool information, uploads statistics, and selects the best targets based on specific parameters to formulate a fire plan. This process is very accurate, as the accuracy of the attack is reduced to targets located in a specific window or room of a house. According to IDFs, the Southern Command Fire Center and Air Force headquarters can carry out an attack of thousands of targets a day.
To fill the “deposit” of the target database, IDFs have recently introduced an ICT “machine” that automates the production of a target, from the initial indication phase to the final indictment phase and the its signature by three different intelligence agencies. In the past, this task was mainly based on research work on humans that took days, even weeks, but is now done in a few hours.
Dominance of information
To expedite the targeting process, the IDFs employed an assessment of the digital situation conducted with the IDF’s operational Internet service provided through the combat cloud infrastructure. This capacity, which was previously only reserved for the General Staff, now extends to the division level, which allows officials to share the overall picture of the situation and make assessments of the situation of the tools developed in information technologies. and communications (ICT). As part of the campaign, we used many features to allow for operational freedom. “
This situational image captures all activities related to enemy actions, including launches and points of impact, red and blue force locations, and operational plans. The system also provides support for decision-making and automated reporting tools that save time and speed up decision-making and action. Decision making is based on combining information in real time, leveraging all relevant intelligence, using advanced information extraction tools. This process allows the fusion of cross-references and information at a very high level. For example, if a particular site was attacked, but the releases continued, an alert is received immediately. This capability allows IDF commanders at the operational level to make decisions based on real-time information.
The core of this operational capability is the latest version of the Elbit System Digital Army Program (TORCH 750), the main Israeli Defense Force (IDF) C4ISR system, which was recently introduced until division level. During the operation, deployed systems were increased with much more bandwidth to meet the exponential demand of users through multidomain services. The system was deployed to the level of the brigade, including the Golani Brigade, the 7th Armored Brigade, the “Oz” Command Brigade and the Multi-Domain unit, which is now operational at the commands of the 162nd and 36th Division. .
The previous command and hierarchical control of military domains in the terrestrial, underground, maritime, celestial and space spheres required specific networks that could not exchange information easily. The new system integrates data from the three branches of the IDF – land, air and naval units – to create a battle network for the multidomain battlefield. This network allows the modern combat force to communicate as efficiently as possible and allows the entire combat force, from the division and brigade commander to the soldier in the field, to communicate as quickly as possible. . This “operational flexibility” allows each user to reach other users seamlessly regardless of interference, location, or domain.
This interoperability allows all parties to the battle to communicate by sharing a common operational language based on security protocols and standardized communications. For example, the looks of smart rifles allow soldiers in the field to score a target, which will appear on the screen of the top commanders of the war room. The system calculates what is the right weapon to use, what is the right ammunition, what is the exact angle needed to attack. After selection and confirmation, the system sends in a matter of seconds the target information to a weapons system to carry out the attack.
In addition to communications and processing, the Digital Army Program system integrates decision support services to help officers process information and make decisions quickly. Officers are presented with the available battle order and the location of all combat items, ammunition availability, and supply levels. The system accesses all sensors that can observe the target and stores technical data, combat doctrines, security and legal restrictions that apply to the use of different weapons that could attack the target. Based on this data and more, the system selects several alternatives and recommends them to the commander for his decision.
The new C4ISR system was a central element in the formation of the new “Oz” command brigade and the IDF’s “Phantom” Multidimensional Unit, considered the plan for the IDF’s future “multidimensional” battalion. This unit has the manpower of a battalion, but the firepower, maneuverability, and terrain dominance of a brigade.
The unit was established as part of the army’s multi-year “Tnufa” plan initiated by the IDF’s lieutenant chief of staff. Aviv Kohavi. The multidimensional battalion is ready to fight on any terrain, including the underground, in tunnels; above ground and near the ground, where the enemy is expected to use drones for reconnaissance and attack. The Oz Commando Brigade is part of the IDF’s deep attack force.
The Ghost and Oz Command Brigade can rely on the advanced communications and networking provided by TORCH 750 to effectively deploy small units, equipped with organic intelligence and firepower, and use ground-based transportation, logistics, and fire support, the air and the sea.