The IDF’s largest communications battalion held a war drill this week to practice the rapid deployment of combat forces from the Center of the country to a battle front.

The battalion, known as Channel, tested a new command and control communications system, called Digital Ground Army 600, to see how the technology could facilitate the transfer of ground forces from the Central Command to a northern or southern arena.

Channel is a part of the IDF’s Division 162 – the largest division in the military – which is stationed in the Center and the West Bank during peacetime and which could deploy its infantry, armored vehicles and other ground forces to Lebanon or Gaza during a time of escalation.

During the drill, Channel commanders practiced tracking the movement of ground units on a screen in real time, as well as using interactive screens to send out orders.

Digital Ground Army 600 is the latest version of the IDF’s command and control room for ground forces.

Throughout the intensive drill, it was moved around in mobile caravans.

“The upgrade enhances our abilities in nearly all our combat efforts,” said Channel Battalion commander Lt.-Col. David Zriam, citing enhanced firepower as one example.

“It has the ability to centralize all the logistics data from the level of an individual tank all the way up to battalion headquarters,” he said.

“The amount of data available to the battalion has grown,” Zriam added.

“In the past, the intelligence officer was sliding a red marker along a map. Today there is a fast and efficient influx of intelligence and tactical data.”

Keeping communication channels secure was also a major focus of the drill, he said.

Separately Division 162 held a large-scale logistics drill in recent days, also to prepare the division for the possibility of rapid deployment to the northern front.

Some 200 soldiers practiced setting up supply lines to infantry combat troops in armored vehicles, as well as to tanks and soldiers on foot.

Lt.-Col. Pinny Ben-Moyal, logistics officer for Division 162, said the central mission the division was practicing was to “create a continuity [in supply lines] during fighting.” He added that mistakes from the Second Lebanon War, in which supply lines were cut, must not be repeated.

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