Israel pleased with 'new systems' tested in Gaza

Thursday, June 10, 2004

TEL AVIV 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 Gaza Strip 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 commanders.

"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 situational awareness.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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