The Defense Ministry and Motorola Solutions signed an agreement on Wednesday, paving the way for a deal for a new, encrypted army cellphone network made up of smartphones.The new devices will allow members of the security forces to text, send digital media and encrypted emails directly from the battlefield to the command and control centers.It will replace the IDF’s current cellphone network, known as Rose Hills – based on older cellphone models.
The touch-screen smartphones, like their civilian counterparts, have an inbuilt GPS and an eight-megapixel camera, but they have also undergone an adaption for use by soldiers in combat zones, and come with unique applications.The phone has a hardened exterior, is water and dust proof, and comes with a battery that provides 400 minutes of air time and 500 hours of stand by time.The project will cost the Defense Ministry 100 million dollars to implement and manage over the next 15 years.Motorola will provide ongoing technical support for the devices and the network. The agreement follows lengthy negotiations involving delegates from the Defense Ministry’s Acquisitions Administration and Motorola Solutions in New York.The Defense Ministry said it chose Motorola Solutions due to its unique technologies, which were found to be well-suited to security needs.Brig-Gen. (res.) Shmuel Zuker, head of the Acquisitions Administration, said the first IDF smartphone will bring with it “a revolution of smartphones in the future battlefield, and will provide a significant advantage to the IDF and the whole of the defense establishment.”He added, “We’ve succeeded in bringing the IDF the most advanced technology in the world, for the best price.”