If you’re a fan of military history, pay attention to details of the recent 3-week conflict between the IDF and Hamas, they reveal an amazing, modern military operation and thinking, at least on the technological level, Haaretz reported.
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A year ago, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said “the foreseeable future may lead us to confrontations that woild be decided by the IDF’s technological superiority— on land on sea in the air, with fewer heavy weapons and an increased use of sophisticated, unmanned weapons.” Yaalon added that the kind of war Israel last encountered 40 years ago, during the Yom Kippur war have become less and less relevant.
Paratrooper Brigade Commander Colonel Eliezer Toledano called the kind of war Israel is conducting in Gaza “a dialog” with the enemy. He described the discovery of dozens of terror tunnels in Gaza as an invitation on the part of the enemy to “go down below, underground” to conduct the fighting.
Indeed, confronting the tunnel threat has provide ample evidence to the limits of using mainly the airforce in combating Hamas. The tunnels showed the advantage of low-tech. They showed the inventiveness, even ingenuity, of an enemy able to turn its technological disadvantage into surprising advantages.
On the other side, the IDF has been able to be at least as inventive as the enemy, and with far greater resources. Two divisions operating in the Gaza Strip – Divisions 162 and 36 – were refurbished as the “decision divisions, ” meaning that they can be thrown into any front with a qualitative and sizable force.
To make the forces on the ground more effective, Military Intelligence has changed the way it disseminates its gathered information. Rather than going through channels, information is sent directly from gatherer to division commands in the field. The GSS, Israel’s internal security agency, now has representatives in each division, relaying new information and interrogating prisoners as soon as the forces pick them up.
The airforce has put in service the Hermes 900 Kochav (Star), manufactured by Elbit, Israel’s newest unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), by far the most effective of its kind to date. It has an endurance of over 30 hours, can fly at a maximum altitude of 30, 000 feet, with a primary mission of reconnaissance, surveillance and communications relay. The Hermes 900 has a wingspan of 15 m and weighs 970 kg, with a payload capability of 300 kg.
At this point, reports suggest that Gaza may be the most CCTV’ed parcel of land on the planet, with real time information transmitted to forces on the ground, in the air and on sea in seconds. This has largely paralyzed enemy movement in Gaza, save for short bursts of leaving the bunker to shoot a rocket just to stay involved.
The ground forces have been relying more and more on UAV data, with seamless cooperation between the different services. One commander of an armored division reported on his routinely being able to coordinate and command fighter aircraft, artillery and tank fire.
“They shot a mortar shell at us, ” the commander related. “The UAV transmitted the location of the mortar and our tank attacked.”
Israeli tanks are operating tracking systems and sensors in the battlefield, which allow other weapons—aircraft and artillery—to identify targets.
Tanks are also receiving protection from a new anti-RPG system called Windbreaker.
Finally, in this round the IDF armored forces have used, for the first time, the 120mm Chatzav shell for tank cannons, capable of penetrating cement walls and explode within the hit structure.