The IDF is conducting a reassessment of its use of cluster bombs and has recently carried out a series of tests with a bomblet that has a specially designed self-destruct mechanism which dramatically reduces the amount of unexploded ordnance.
The IDF’s reassessment was sparked by the possibility that another conflict with Hizbullah could be looming, and as a consequence of the criticism Israel faced for its use of cluster bombs during the Second Lebanon War.
During the month-long war in 2006, Israel reportedly fired millions of bomblets into southern Lebanon, many of which did not explode and some of which, after the war, killed several dozen civilians.
Cluster bomblets, which can be as small as a flashlight battery, are packed into artillery shells. A single container fired to destroy airfields or tanks and soldiers typically scatters some 200 to 600 of the mini-explosives over an area the size of a football field.
As a result of the collateral damage and international condemnation, and ahead of a potential new conflict with Hizbullah, the IDF has decided to evaluate the M85 bomblet manufactured by the government-owned Israeli Military Industries (IMI). The IMI-made bomblet has an internal self-destruct mechanism which destroys the mini-explosive if it fails to detonate 14 seconds after impact.
The IDF has until now refrained from purchasing the IMI bomblet due to budgetary constraints. It has instead purchased US-made bomblets with the foreign military aid funds it receives annually from the US.
IMI claims that its bomblet has a one percent dud rate, which means that it can significantly lower the amount of unexploded ordnance left behind in an area of operations, thereby preventing collateral damage as well as injuries to soldiers who may later enter the area.
In another technological advancement, the IDF has developed a special
navigation system that can continue to work in GPS-jammed areas.
Called ADNAV, the system was developed by the Ground Forces Command’s
Technology Division, and is currently in production at Israel Aerospace
Industries. The system is installed in IDF ground vehicles and can
continue to help soldiers navigate even without a regular satellite
“Our assumption is that the enemy will try to disrupt satellite
connections in a future conflict, and this is something we need to be
prepared for,” a senior IDF officer said.
The ADNAV, according to the IDF, will deviate by no more than 1% of the
distance traveled to the target, meaning that if a unit has to travel
one kilometer it could end up a maximum of 10 meters off target. A few
seconds of connection with a satellite will provide the system with the
ability to continue navigating for at least two hours.