The IDF is set to have military cloud computing networks in operation by the end of this year, senior army sources told The Jerusalem Post this week.
The networks, being developed by the C4i Corps, will allow commanders in any particular combat arena to log in to the network and receive real-time intelligence on the location of enemy targets, as well as streaming information on the position of friendly forces, which can be instructed to assist in strikes. C4i signifies command, control, communications, computers, and (military) intelligence.
“This is our operational Internet. We are setting up the infrastructure to back up the information,” one source said.
“Then we’ll set up multiple cloud networks, which will work with the air force, ground forces and navy. It will be accessible to them all.”
He added that “we are in the midst of a revolution. It’s about taking technologies available in the civilian market and applying them in the IDF.”
A second source said the military computing cloud was one of a number of teleprocessing upgrades under way, designed to increase the effectiveness of the IDF’s firepower and shorten the sensor-to-shooter cycle.
“If you see a missile fired from Gaza, you have to link the sensor to the shooter in real time to respond to that target,” he said.
“If teleprocessing didn’t exist, the army could not have killed two armed suspects who approached the Syrian border,” he continued, referring to last week’s northern border incident. “This contributes to deterrence. It sends the message to enemies: Don’t come near the border fence; every time you do, you endanger your people.”
The source said that “the enemy knows his own territory better than we do. Our answer is to achieve technological supremacy.”
The IDF General Staff has recently approved a program to convert the military into a network- centered fighting organization by 2025, and the changes going on now are part of this vision, he said.
“Whether you’re in the air, sea, or on the ground, if you’re not logged on to the network, you won’t exist,” he said. “We had to reduce organizational egos – the air force wanted to set up its own teleprocessing network in the past. Then the various branches of the military realized it was cheaper to build this with partners.”
Another system under development is the Crystal Ball, which takes input from a variety of sensors and places them on a single screen in a command center staffed by senior officers. Based on the information they see, the officers can then decide how to respond.
An additional system, Tirat Ha’agam (Castle on the Lake), allows the General Staff to see intelligence from a variety of sectors in real time. Yet another, the Digital Ground Army, allows the Ground Forces to know the location of friendly and hostile forces. The latter system is being linked to the air force’s command-and-control system.
“We can also bring the plasma screen to the brigade commander in the field. He might need a satellite channel or a radio network [to access command-and-control information].
This is the technology that enables decisions to be taken,” the source said.
These means enable long-range classified missions, the source continued, referring to navy’s interception of an Iranian arms shipment last month off the coast of Sudan, 1,500 km. from Eilat.
“This is just one of many operations. Most of them won’t be talked about, even in 200 years,” said the source. “All of the information was sent to the ‘pit,’ [the underground command-and-control center for the General Staff at IDF headquarters] where IDF Chief of Staff Lt.- Gen. Benny Gantz was able to direct the operation.”
According to the source, “the C4i Corps enabled the naval interception force to secure itself far from Israel. Without teleprocessing, they could not have taken over the ship. Many C4i soldiers were part of this operation without knowing it.”