IDF boosts battlefield role of digital communications

Army makes move in preparation for conflicts deep behind enemy lines.

By
April 20, 2012 03:23
1 minute read.
IDF soldiers patrol during a raid [file]

IDF soldiers patrol during a raid 390 (R). (photo credit: Abed Omar Qusini / Reuters)

 
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The IDF has decided to increase the combat training for battalion communication officers who will be needed to operate the growing number of digitized communications systems.

The army made the move in preparation for conflicts deep behind enemy lines.

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In addition, the IDF recently established a position within battalions for soldiers who will be in charge of operating the Tzayad Digital Army Program. The Tzayad system connects a division’s platforms and enables commanders to see the position of friendly and enemy forces.

In addition, commanders can use Tzayad to transfer targets from one weapons or detection platform to another.

“The communications officer is becoming one of the most crucial posts within the battalion today,” a senior officer in the IDF’s C4I (command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence) Directorate explained this week. “The increase in sophisticated systems and the reliance on them on the battlefield means that the communications officers need to be right there next to the commanders.”

In recent years, the army has revamped communications systems within its fighting units. In addition to the integration of Tzayad, the IDF signed a deal with Elbit Systems earlier this year to replace its tactical communication systems with encrypted devices that can also transfer data.

“Twenty years ago there was only encryption device in a battalion because of how low-tech the systems were,” the officer said. “Today there are over 150 encryption devices due to the increase in systems and their importance.”

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The C4I Directorate has, for example, purchased aerostat balloons that can carry antennas to provide coverage for IDF secure Rose Mountain mobile phones even far from Israel.

“The next war will require the IDF to operate in all sorts of different places and not just along the border, and we need to know how to make sure that the forces will be able to move forward with communications systems that work,” he said.

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