Elbit brings interoperability in the battlefield to the next level

The enemy today is dubbed as “the disappearing enemy,” or “the invisible enemy,” because militias will try to operate within civilian urban areas, and to be as evasive as they can.

Elbit's new warfare equipment.  (photo credit: ELBIT SYSTEMS)
Elbit's new warfare equipment.
(photo credit: ELBIT SYSTEMS)
In the constantly changing modern battlefield, the enemy is not what we used to know.
It is unlikely that we will see tanks fighting tanks on a battlefield. The enemy today is dubbed as “the disappearing enemy,” or “the invisible enemy,” because militias will try to operate within civilian urban areas and to be as evasive as they can.
This new warfare requires militaries to adapt to a reality in which things change in a split second, where the need for fast, reliable communication has become a necessity.
One of the main companies in Israel that deals with developing such solutions is Elbit Systems.
One of their main goals is to develop combat network systems that would not only provide solutions for the new battlefield but will also fit the exact needs of different militaries, Elbit vice president international of C4ISR Gil Maoz told The Jerusalem Post.
“We are now in a world in which the information flows all the time, and our systems allow the entire combating force, from the brigade commander to the soldier in the field, to communicate in the fastest way possible,” he said in an interview at the company’s offices in central Israel.
The main understanding at Elbit is that current warfare equipment should focus on the multi-domain battlefield. The previous division into ground, underground, sea, sky and space spheres is almost irrelevant; all of the different forces should know how to communicate in the most efficient way possible.
“We focus on what we call ‘operational flexibility,’” Maoz said. “In our command and control system, we emphasize features that allow different units of different kinds to move around and join other forces. For example, we can make tanks and battleships connect.
“Some might think that it’s irrelevant today, but maybe in a future battle it will be necessary, and our command and control system can make it happen.”
AMONG ELBIT’S products are command and control systems for senior commanders, smart vests for soldiers, autonomous drones and electronic rifle sights.
But the thing that brings all of these together is interoperability, which allows all parties in the battle to communicate in the same language and to imitate and respond quickly and efficiently.
For example, smart rifle sights allow soldiers in the field to mark a target, which will appear on the screen of the senior commanders in the war room. Conversely, the senior commander can use autonomous or remote-control munitions to attack targets.
“For example, we can choose to use a remotely controlled mortar,” Maoz said. “Our system can calculate which is the right weapon to use, what is the right munition, what is the exact angle needed to attack, and remotely launch a mortar at the target.
“This way, it takes us only seconds to go from one target to another. We need much fewer barrels [weapons] to attack more targets. This way we can multiply our firepower.”
Another system that Elbit produces is the Max-Tactical Multimedia Router, which essentially allows different networks to communicate with each other.
For example, a radio system operating on high frequency could connect with a cellphone. Via such a platform, different elements of a tactical unit could all communicate.
“This can come handy in operations where military and nonmilitary forces are working together,” Maoz said. “This device allows all of them to speak on one platform; this is another element of the connectivity we are working on.”
ELBIT’S SYSTEMS bring communications and radio into the social-media information era, where people are receiving, and need to process, all bits of information in a fraction of a second.
To do so, the company’s Digital Army Program system is equipped with an advising component that helps the commander to process all of that information and make decisions in real time.
This system tells the commander which forces are available, what kind of munitions they bear, how far they are from the target, how relevant they are to eliminate it (according to the combat doctrine) and which are the sensors and the effectors that could engage with the target.
“This system takes into account all the needed elements – the resources you have, the effectiveness of the resources, the safety measures and the combat doctrines,” Maoz said. “If I had to make all these calculations in my head, it would take me a lot of time and divert my attention. Now the machine can make the decision, and the commander will decide how to act.”
Israel is a leader in developing such a system because the primary client for its security industry, the IDF, is “innovative and ambitious,” he said.
However, Elbit sees itself as a “trusted partner for its clients abroad,” Maoz said, adding that all of the company’s developments are being fitted to the needs of these partners.
“We go with our partners hand in hand and understand what exactly it is they need,” he said. “We commit to deliver to the client whatever they need.”
“This a very innovative, complicated world, and within it, there are many things that we do for the first time – not our first time, but first time ever – and we are doing so to satisfy the needs of the clients,” Maoz said.