TEL AVIV ø Israel's military tested a series of new
systems and concepts during its recent invasion of the southern Gaza Strip.
Israeli military sources said Operation Rainbow provided the Ground
Forces Command an opportunity to test a range of newly-developed systems
meant to bolster communications and interoperability within combat units and
with other arms of the military. They said Israeli force, the largest in the
since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, was equipped with a range of new systems
meant to increase situational awareness and links between units and senior
"We can't talk about specific systems, but let's just say that some of
the new systems introduced have been working beautifully," a senior officer
said. "We're very satisfied."
[On Tuesday, Hamas gunners fired a Kassam-class short-range missile
toward Israel. The missile landed in a field and nobody was injured.]
Operation Rainbow comprised about two brigades that punched through the
southern Gaza Strip in an effort to isolate and invade Rafah. The combat
environment during the operation included a range of armored and air
platforms as well as advanced communications equipment.
The sources said the level of interoperability between air and infantry
units appeared unprecedented. They described seamless communications between
a range of unmanned air vehicles, attack helicopters with infantry and
armored commanders. The combination was meant to provide troops with
situational awareness in an urban warfare environment.
The new systems also allowed senior army commanders to obtain a complete
battlefield picture from the Israel Defense Forces headquarters in Tel Aviv.
Still, the commanders, including Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon and
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, visited the area of combat.
The operation also provided the first major test of the so-called
digital soldier. This included a soldier linked to such systems as secure
cellular communications and Internet as part of an effort to increase