IDF's elite Sayeret Matkal playing role in war against coronavirus

IAI and Invoytec to produce Israeli-developed ventilators in missile production plant.

Elite troops of the IDF will contribute to Israel's fight against coronavirus (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Elite troops of the IDF will contribute to Israel's fight against coronavirus
The famed General Staff Reconnaissance Unit, or Unit 269, more commonly known as Sayeret Matkal, is helping with medical logistics in the IDF’s fight against the coronavirus, The Jerusalem Post has learned. Its commandos have been counting the number of respirators in hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout Israel.
The elite unit is more accustomed to gathering field intelligence deep behind enemy lines, carrying out counter-terrorism operations and rescuing hostages. It is now playing a key role in the fight against COVID-19.
Health Ministry director-general Moshe Bar Siman Tov last week said Israel has 2,864 available ventilators, including some owned by the IDF. But some reports said the Health Ministry does not know the true number of ventilators in the country.
“The State of Israel must develop independent capabilities in everything related to dealing with the COVID-19 virus pandemic,” Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said Tuesday. “We cannot remain dependent on procurement from other countries. We must develop independent, advanced capabilities.”
Amid fears that the number of patients needing respiratory assistance may exceed the number of respirators available, the Defense Ministry, along with Israel Aerospace Industries and Invoytec, will also begin producing Israeli-developed ventilators.
“The Directorate of Production and Procurement (DOPP) and the Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D) at the Defense Ministry, in collaboration with medical company Inovytec and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), have completed the establishment of a first-of-its-kind production line for Ventway Sparrow ventilators,” the ministry said in a statement.
The first 30 ventilators have been delivered to the Health Ministry. 
With a lack of ventilators in Israel and around the world, Inovytec and IAI established a production line for ventilators within days. It was inaugurated on Tuesday at a classified IAI missile production site.
“The best minds in the field of missiles, aviation and space joined Inovytec, under the auspices of the defense and health ministries, and together we have established in just a few days an advanced production line for ventilators,” said Boaz Levy, general manager and executive vice president of IAI Systems, Missiles and Space Group.
The production line was built in a short time to expand the production of Ventway Sparrow machines, the ministry said.
“Turning a missile production line into a ventilator assembly plant is a very complex task,” DDR&D director Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dani Gold said, adding that the ministry is “continuing in the race around the clock to translate the extraordinary tech capabilities of the defense establishment to the fight against corona.”
The Ventway Sparrow, which provides life-sustaining respiratory care for patients with COVID-19 in various conditions, is a state-of-the-art, turbine-powered, lightweight, easy-to-use ventilator that enables effective invasive and noninvasive mechanical ventilation for adults and children.