A military communications network linking all three IDF branches to one another, and to Military Intelligence, is up and running, senior military officials told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
The network has become operational this year following an ambitious drive by the IDF’s Hoshen Unit, a part of the C4i Corps, which is responsible for all IDF communications.
Maj. Gil Yosef commands Hoshen’s control center at the Tzrifin military complex, near Rishon Lezion.
Today, Yosef said, the command and control networks of Military Intelligence, the air force, the ground forces and the navy are linked together, creating a single, integrated network.
“The information is already being conveyed throughout the network.
We reach almost every place,” Yosef said.
Infantry soldiers and tank crews can communicate with fighter jets in the air, with General Staff in Tel Aviv, or with navy ships at sea. The various units can share visual intelligence, the location of enemy targets and their own positions, while also coordinating their firepower.
The Hoshen Unit also runs the IDF’s Rose Mountain encrypted cell phone network, and satellite communications.
It has created channels for video calls and the sharing of all forms of intelligence among units.
The network is a key component of the IDF’s push to decentralize the Ground Forces, and create autonomous battalions that can look after their own battlefield needs.
“Military Intelligence can now send data to tactical Ground Forces units,” Yosef said. “As a result, the units can take part in intelligence- based combat,” he added.
“We are the ones who convey the data, and deliver it to a tactical force.”
Additional upgrades to military communications include a new error reporting system, created jointly by Hoshen and the IDF’s Center for Computers and Information Systems.
“The end user doesn’t care if an error occurred in a communications network or a computer server. He only knows that his network is down when something goes wrong,” Yosef said. The new error reporting system “makes the whole business simpler,” he added. “We expect to deal with problems before end users become aware of them.”
The latest advances come despite considerable budgetary limitations. The Hoshen Unit maintains its own training center, headed by Maj. Moran Sa’ada.
“We have begun fast-tracking new training programs so cadets can master the new network,” she said. “We expect to triple the number of cadets we get.”
It takes around four months to complete training at the center. Currently, the school is meeting its target recruitment numbers.
Nevertheless, Sa’ada said, the school has been struggling to locate sufficient numbers of high school students eligible for the unit’s criteria, and has widened its net to a wider range of candidates, such as high school students specializing in physics.