The entrance to a tunnel exposed by the Israeli military is seen on the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The IDF’s offensive Electronic Warfare Battalion is in a “race against time” against Israel’s enemies, a senior officer told The Jerusalem Post.
The race is between the battalion, which is tasked with disrupting command and control and communications capabilities, and the terrorist organizations and enemy states that are upgrading their equipment continuously.
“We saw our good capabilities in action during Operation Protective Edge,” the officer said last week. “Between wars, there is a race against time – a technological race. The other side swaps or upgrades its equipment. We have to follow these changes. After we complete an operation, we can’t rely on the assumption that nothing is changing.”
The battalion is under the direct command of the IDF General Staff.
“We are an independent unit, and we possess everything we need to function in an emergency. We also have our own training base, where cadets come to after basic training,” the officer said, noting with pride that some 40 percent of battalion members are female. “If artillery gunners fire shells, we fire electrons to assist our forces. Our unit is fully combat.”
The secretive battalion, which is able to operate from close and distant ranges, knows how to isolate terrorist cells from command and control centers by muting their radio networks.
“We check which system the enemy uses and how to disrupt it,” the officer said. “This is important for undermining their balance. I break their chain of command and control.”
The battalion has an intelligence officer who keeps the rest of the unit up to date on technological upgrades within enemy systems.
Any wireless system can become a target.
“Anything that passes through the air, we can target. Who is the other side? Anyone who is armed and seeks to do us harm. Hezbollah, Hamas and hostile states,” the officer said.
“We can thwart terror attacks. I can protect my forces from bombs, if they are targeted with [remote control] explosives. This is part of the security envelope we offer them,” he added.
Battalion members and their equipment can go into action from the land, air or sea.
“They can be airborne, on board a ship or in a military post. The equipment has to be mobile, but it is not lightweight. It includes generators, antennae and signal amplifiers.
There’s a lot of physical work involved,” he said.
The battalion can take over mass-media broadcasts in Gaza, Lebanon or other locations and implant Israeli messages to civilians instead.
This capability, which includes the ability to hijack media networks from radio to satellite television, was used in Gaza this summer.
When a senior Hamas terrorist sitting in an underground shelter suddenly sees the IDF chief of staff on his television giving him 12 hours to clear the area, it “undermines his sense of security,” he said.