IDF to protect equipment, arms in mountain bunkers

Exclusive: Army studies methods of using topography to safeguard critical supplies against incoming missiles.

Bunker 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Bunker 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
In an effort to protect sensitive equipment and advanced munitions, the IDF has drawn up intricate plans to dig massive bunkers inside mountains throughout the country to thwart enemy missile fire, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
The multi-million-dollar plan was created by the IDF’s Logistics and Technology Directorate, and is set to receive a dedicated budget from the General Staff in the military’s next multi-year plan – expected to go into effect in 2012.
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Under the plan, next year the IDF will begin building a relatively small bunker of several thousand square meters inside a mountain whose location is classified. If the project is successful, it will enter the next phase, which includes building several more bunkers over the next few years.
Following the Second Lebanon War against Hizbullah in 2006 – and amid predictions that IDF bases will be targeted in a future conflict – the Logistics and Technology Directorate formulated the plan, dubbed “Operational Continuity.” Its primary objective is to disperse important equipment into mountain bunkers across the country.
“We work under the assumption that in the next war, IDF bases will be targeted,” a senior officer said on Monday.
“At the same time, we need to be able to continue to supply troops who will be operating behind enemy lines, and have a limited amount of supplies with them.”
The army will also bolster protection of sensitive locations – such as warehouses where advanced weapons are stored. Bunkers inside mountains could serve as an alternative to open bases, the officer said.
An IDF delegation recently visited a number of countries that uses similar bunker systems, including South Korea.
The IDF plans to issue a contract to civilian companies to build the new facility.
“The advantage of building bunkers inside mountains is that this way trucks – which come to load up on supplies – will not be doing so out in the open, but will be able to drive into the bunker where they will be protected, and then exit when it is safe again,” the officer said.
The IDF has also begun holding seminars to prepare soldiers to continue operating if enemy missiles strike bases.
Israel Air Force bases, which are considered prime targets, have significantly increased the number of training exercises they hold. At the Nevatim Base southeast of Beersheba on Monday, for example, commanders held drills simulating missile attacks on the base, as well as emphasizing the need to continue loading weapons on fighter jets.
Airmen at the Hatzor Base near Ashdod have prepared by carrying out over 25 drills last year, compared to 12 in 2009.