IDF finishes drill simulating war with Hezbollah

Large-scale drill saw thousands of troops, reservists prepare for war against Hezbollah, Gaza, and proxy groups far from Israel’s borders.

IDF soldiers take part in the "Lethal Arrow" drill (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
IDF soldiers take part in the "Lethal Arrow" drill
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
The IDF’s Lethal Arrow drill with thousands of troops from various branches of the military simulating war with Hezbollah and proxy groups in countries far from Israel’s borders came to a close on Thursday.
The exercise took place after the military completed several offensive plans for the northern front and was aimed to improve the IDF’s offensive capabilities at all echelons from Chief of Staff down to troops in the field.
“This exercise is a special exercise for three main reasons: one, we set for ourselves a goal of improving our attack capability; two, this is an exercise that draws a line from the level of the battalion all the way up to the General Staff, with all the coordination and cooperation [up the chain of command] and cooperation between the different branches [of the military]; and three, this exercise has a number of new elements that we are assimilating [into the military],” IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi told senior officers participating in the exercise.
The drill, a senior officer told reporters, was aimed to improve the IDF’s offensive capabilities and simulated a multi-front war with Hezbollah in Lebanon as well as terror groups in the Gaza Strip and proxy groups in countries that don’t border Israel. Scenarios included heavy rocket fire-including precision and ballistic missiles- as well as infiltrations into communities on the Lebanese border.
“We are preparing for a significant attack from the north and at the same time we can’t be surprised by attacks from the east from various ranges,” he said. “We are at war with an enemy with an arsenal of thousands of rockets and we are taking into account that there would be attacks from the east as well.”
Though he wouldn’t mention which country or countries Israel was expecting to see attacks from, he said Israel’s Air Force can get to countries “very far away.”
Dubbed “Lethal Arrow,” the general staff drill was a test of the newly updated war plans for the Northern Command that were recently approved.
“We increased the link between the targets and the armaments and today a battalion commander gets an attack from the air against the target that he is maneuvering towards” within several minutes, the senior officer explained. “We increased our goals from 50-60 targets in the past to around 150 goals this week.”
The exercise was also of the first to rely on the IDF’s Target Task Force, which was formed last year.
“It was created a year ago and it is producing thousands of targets. And those thousands of targets are meant to be translated — when called upon — into accurate strikes at a level that as far as we know is historically unprecedented,” Kohavi said during the conversation with officers.
A third senior officer who took part in the drill explained that as a war with Hezbollah would see intensive rocket fire on the home front the Air Force has to increase its ability to strike targets deep inside enemy territory with the help of maneuvering ground forces.
“We see the northern arena as a serious challenge to the defense of the nation’s skies, both from cruise missiles and from drones of different types,” he said.
But, the exercise, he continued “was a leap forward in the cooperation between the Air Force and the Ground Forces for scenarios on all fronts... from taking targets and striking them to being in direct contact with ground forces and working with them so when the day comes we will work together to take out the enemy.”
The drill took place as tensions remain high along Israel’s border with Lebanon as the IDF has been bracing for a possible attack by the terror group after an alleged Israeli airstrike in Syria on July 20 killed one of its members.