President Reuven Rivlin and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon awarded the Israel Security Prize to several programs, though only one of them can be named.
The prestigious awards – the highest for defense accomplishments – were bestowed on Tuesday night, mostly to classified projects.
Haifa-based Elbit Systems, together with a team from the IDF Ground Forces Command, and the Defense Ministry’s Research, Weapons, Development and Technology Infrastructure Administration, were honored for the creation and development of the Digital Ground Army system.
Betzalel Machlis, Elbit’s president and CEO, said on Wednesday that the prize is the 11th won by the company, calling it a testament to the “great trust in our innovative and ground breaking systems.”
“I’m proud of receiving the prize and thank Elbit’s employees for their professionalism, investment and advanced abilities...which were expressed in this development, as in many other technological developments. We will continue our close cooperation with the defense establishment to find additional ground-breaking and life-saving solutions.”
Digital Ground Army was recognized for maximizing efficiency in managing surface battlefield operations. It provides a common battle arena image, and joint language to commanders and unit headquarters, while significantly decreasing friendly fire incidents.
Other winners included an Intelligence Directorate team that carried out ground breaking research, and created new technologies and tools as a result. These new capabilities resulted in classified intelligence and strategic achievements for national security.
A team headed by the Prime Minister’s Office and Rafael Advanced Systems won an award for creating technological and operational tools that were used in “an impressive operation that surpasses the imagination,” the Defense Ministry said, declining to provide further details.
A joint IDF Military Intelligence and Prime Minister’s Office team won the award as well, for developing a technology that was used in a “brilliant operation in the field,” the Defense Ministry said.
The project is “an intelligence breakthrough that directly contributes to the realization of goals,” it added.
“Even in the few moments that your actions get exposure, the citizens of Israel are not really aware of the size of your contribution and the significance of your work for their security and the security of our country,” Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said. “They won’t recognize you in the street and thank you.
They also won’t recognize most of the systems you developed and their ground breaking capabilities against our enemies,” he added.
Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yaron, former Defense Ministry director- general, headed the committee that chose the winners.
Rivlin in remarks during the ceremony said, “We must remember – victory is not only achieved through force or the military. Excellent systems are not enough, nor is the best personnel in the world. In order to avoid the next war, we, the state and statesmen, must formulate a strategy that will prevent the clash, so long as prevention is possible. No amount of firepower in the world will be able to deter an opponent who has already lost everything, and has nothing to risk.
“We must remember all the time that, just as war is a continuation of politics by other means, so too is politics a continuation of war,” Rivlin said.
Defense Ministry director- general Maj.-Gen. (res.) Dan Harel used his speech to respond to calls by some to reduce defense spending.
“Those who want a military that is ready for its challenges, trained reservists and defense systems that will carry out their functions when the time to give the order comes, cannot allow harm to the defense establishment. Such harm can endanger Israel and lead to maneuvers we will regret,” Harel said.
Digital Ground Army uses all of the ground forces’ command and control capabilities to serve units on daily security missions, as well as those involved in full-scale conflicts.
It relies on hardware and software that are connected to additional components throughout the IDF, to create a common infrastructure that has been developed by Elbit.
The system is served by hundreds of sensors, which are streaming data at any given time to provide a full operational picture in every sector.
It uses narrow-band networks, alongside radio networks, rapid data networks and a fixed infrastructure to automatically generate a real-time digital picture of friendly and hostile forces and their actions.
The system serves thousands of end users at all times, from the General Staff, down to regional commands, operational unit headquarters and mobile unit headquarters. It is accessible in IDF armored vehicles, tanks, artillery guns, command vehicles and patrols, and can be used by infantry commanders too.