(photo credit: Courtesy)
Some gadgets look like they came straight out of a James Bond movie. One is a softball-sized camera that can be thrown into a suspect house and transmit images to soldiers outside. Another is a special door-buster that is connected to an M-16 and can blow open booby-trapped portals.
On Tuesday, the IDF Ground Forces Command put these weapon systems and others - most of them used during last month's Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip - on display in a military base in the South.
Called the Eyeball, the spherical camera was developed by the Tel Aviv-based company ODF Optronics.
An advanced, audio-visual surveillance sensor, the Eyeball was used by IDF troops during the Gaza offensive to survey homes and suspicious areas before entering them.
Each unit is only slightly larger than a baseball and can be simply thrown into the area that needs to be checked out. It can also be mounted on a pole or lowered on a cable into a tunnel.
Another product from the same company is the Eyedrive, a lightweight, four-wheel, remote-controlled, observation and surveillance mini-robot that provides continuous, real-time 360Âº audio and video surveillance. Due to its durability, the robot can be thrown on the ground, go down stairs, flip over and keep on going.
The IDF also tested the HTR 2000, a new sniper rifle that will be distributed to all infantry battalions. It has a range of more than 1,000 meters and can be used with a special night-vision add-on scope. The adjustable heavy tactical rifle is made by H-S Precision INC in the United States.
Also used for the first time during the offensive was the Matador shoulder-launched anti-structure munition.
Used by infantry to destroy Hamas positions inside homes and other structures, the Matador incorporates an advanced tandem warhead concept that can be operated in two modes: against fortified positions and other structures, and to create a hole in a wall without destroying the inside of a home.
The system was acquired by the IDF in light of the Second Lebanon War, when infantry forces had problems hitting Hizbullah positions inside homes in the absence of a tank or attack helicopter.
The Ground Forces Command also put the IDF's new armored personnel carrier on display. The Namer (Tiger) is based on the same platform as the Merkava MK4 Battle Tank and has the same high-level of reinforced steel protection.
"The Ground Forces Command is more prepared today than it was in the past decade to deal with the threats and challenges in the North and the Gaza Strip," OC Ground Forces Command Maj.-Gen. Avi Mizrachi said.