Noting the poor quality of equipment found in emergency military warehouses during the second Lebanon war, OC IDF Logistics and Medical Branch Maj.-Gen. Avi Mizrachi announced Tuesday plans to invest NIS 2 billion to upgrade the equipment used by reservists in a time of war. Speaking at a press conference at Tel Hashomer on Tuesday, Mizrachi said the emergency warehouses would undergo a complete overhaul - over a period of five years - and be stocked with new vests, helmets, weapons and uniforms. "By the summer, the warehouses will be filled with the supplies that are necessary to face the threats against Israel," he said.
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While the level of equipment will drastically improve, reservists will still not go into war with the same quality equipment used by regular IDF units. A large percentage of the equipment was purchased from United States Armed Forces surpluses.
"There is no intention to bring the reservists' equipment up to par with the equipment used by the regular IDF units," Mizrachi said, adding that close to NIS 600 million had already been invested this year in equipment upgrades.
Among the new items to enter service is an electric mini ventilator, developed by the Chief Medical Officer Brig.-Gen. Hezi Levy in conjunction with a US-based company called Impact.
The respirator is compact and at a cost of $4,600 can be supplied to field hospitals and armored ambulances that enter enemy territory during war.
In addition, Mizrachi, who led a probe into the role the reservists played during the war, has recommended the creation of a three-year program in which reservists will train for a period of 10 days once every two years and enlist for operations and guard duty once every three years.
Mizrachi has also proposed creating a "fitness index" for reservists similar to the requirements IAF pilots need to meet before they can fly.
The primary conclusion of the probe was that there had not been a shortage in supplies or food at the front during the Lebanon war, but that the commanders in the field did not know how to get the supplies from the border to the units fighting in Lebanon.
"The Logistics and Medical Branch needs to get the supplies to the front and we did that," a high-ranking officer said. "But the units inside Lebanon need to know [how] to open supply routes and get the supplies from the border to the units operating inside Lebanon."