An IDF artillery vehicle on the Golan Heights 370.
(photo credit: IDF Spokesperson Unit)
With a new precision rocket battalion coming into service soon, the Artillery
Corps, which maintains the Ground Forces’ only drone unit, is hoping that its
growing role will attract more young recruits.
The Artillery Corps is
becoming a dominant force on Israel’s border with Syria, where it occasionally
directs lethal surface-to-surface Tamuz missiles at Syrian army positions when
Israeli targets are attacked by cross-border fire.
On Tuesday, the corps
is set to learn how many Israeli youths from the November round of draftees
signed up with the Artillery Corps.
“We’re investing a lot to bring
combat soldiers to us,” Brig.-Gen. Roy Riftin, chief artillery corps officer,
told The Jerusalem Post
this week. “We want those in the Corps to feel that
they’re where they want to be, and for them to spread the word and bring more
“Our artillery units are increasingly characterized by unique
capabilities, that are gaining the interest of potential recruits,” Riftin
Examples include the new Romah rocket battalion set to enter
service in 2014, whose soldiers will fire rockets that can demolish a two-story
building used by terrorists, or strike targets in an open area, at a range of 25
to 32 kilometers.
“It strikes targets very accurately, and is a
breakthrough for us,” Riftin said.
The rocket battalion is designed to
join an IDF ground maneuver force and provide an additional layer of long-range
fire as it advances into enemy territory. Riftin also cited the Artillery
Corps’s final preparations to receive an upgraded version of its Sky Rider
drone, an unmanned vehicle that relays combat intelligence in real time to a
range of ground forces.
“This tactical drone unit is expanding,” he
Riftin said that currently, the motivation levels among recruits
“is not where we want it to be,” adding, “But on the other hand, we are
reasonably meeting the goals of our [recruitment] plan. We’re not in a situation
in which the gaps are too big.”
“What’s interesting is that motivation
for higher command levels, from company commander onwards, is huge,” he added.
“We’re in an age where it’s tough to choose the next commanders, due to so much
choice. This is unusual.”
Last week, 56 female soldiers joined the
Artillery Corps, a number Riftin described as being relatively high.
hope they join the drone and precision guided weapons units,” he said. “My
soldiers are excellent, and we are meeting our challenges well,” Riftin added,
pointing to the performance of Artillery Corps units during continuous security
missions in the West Bank.
He also referred to the Palestinian bulldozer
on an Artillery base near Ramallah in October, during which soldiers on
base shot dead the attacker who tried to run them down, and earlier
counter-terrorism arrests and clashes with Palestinian rioters in
Next year, he said, the corps will unveil a system of small
tactical radars called Wind Protector that will serve future ground offensives
and provide alerts on incoming enemy projectiles, fired on army forces gathered
in staging areas or during an advance.
The Artillery Corps is also in the
process of choosing a new flagship cannon, which has not been changed in four
“We want a cannon that will enable us to decrease the number of
cannons and firepower units,” Riftin said. “We’re seeking more power and less
forces, a system that can create enough firepower to do this.”