Navy reveals new details on underwater mine clearance unit

The unit took part in Operation Protective Edge in Gaza this summer.

December 3, 2014 20:25
1 minute read.
IDF underwater mine clearance unit

IDF underwater mine clearance unit. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)

The navy revealed details on its elite Unit for Underwater Missions this week, saying the unit took part in Operation Protective Edge in Gaza this summer.

“Our bomb disposal experts and divers took part in the operation, and contributed a lot,” the unit’s commanding officer, Lt.-Cmdr. Ido Kaufman, said.

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According to the top officer, the unit deals with landbased ordnance that falls into the sea during conflicts.

The veteran unit is the navy’s version of the Engineering Corps’ elite Yahalom unit, and is responsible for, among other tasks, clearing underwater mines and ordnance.

The unit also takes part in repairs of submerged sections of navy vessels.

“The level of diving required of the unit’s members is so high, that diving becomes almost as routine as waking or sitting,” Kaufman said.

“Diving is not the aim, but a part of the means,” he said.

“Cooperation among the divers must be perfect. They have to be able to know during the mission what each member needs, almost without communicating with one another, and under the constriction of near zero visibility.”

Last month, the navy said it had increased combined training drills with the ground forces and the air force in the North due to heightened tensions with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The changes have seen a significant rise in integrated drills, the IDF said. The drills focus on a range of combat scenarios, including underwater missions, air-based missions and the deployment of infantry units.

The joint drills have focused on scenarios involving the enemy firing missiles, dispatching fishing vessels, underwater divers, and setting off underwater bombs near navy vessels.

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