IDF increases, enhances its urban warfare training centers

Next battles with Hizbullah and Hamas will be fought in densely populated areas.

palestinians idf hebron 311 (photo credit: AP)
palestinians idf hebron 311
(photo credit: AP)
Recognizing that the next battles with Hizbullah and Hamas will be fought in densely populated areas, the IDF is significantly increasing the number of urban warfare centers it has to train troops for future complex operations.
The Ground Forces Command recently approved plans to increase the number of urban warfare training centers by 50 percent by the end of 2011. Currently, there are about 15 different training centers scattered throughout the country, the largest of which is located near the Tze’elim Base in the Negev.
Two of the new centers will be built with underground sections so IDF troops can simulate the type of combined urban-tunnel warfare they would encounter in a future war in southern Lebanon against Hizbullah or in the Gaza Strip against Hamas.
The Ground Forces Command has also decided that 25% of an infantry soldier’s training is to be in urban warfare centers.
One example is a mock Palestinian village the IDF is building at the Combat Engineer training base in the Negev that is modeled after urban areas in Gaza and Lebanon where, the IDF believes, Hamas and Hizbullah have booby-trapped homes and built underground passageways stretching dozens of kilometers.
In addition, at the center near Tze’elim, the IDF is widening some of the roads that run through the mock Palestinian town to allow tanks to also participate in the training sessions.
As part of this plan, several units have recently purchased modular combat walls from TGM, an Israeli defense company based in Petah Tikva. The unique walls, that reach heights of about 2 meters and are made of foam, connect to each other like Lego and enable a unit to build an urban warfare training center out in the open within a matter of minutes.
“Within 10 minutes a unit can erect an entire city,” explained TGM executive Dinor Shavit. “Units can practice urban warfare scenarios including hand-to-hand combat within the newly-erected structure without worrying that it will fall down.”
Established in 1986, TGM is a supplier of integrated systems and support solutions for the Defense Ministry, the IDF and the Israel Police.
The foam walls are made to absorb blows and return to their original shape by special shockobserver springs developed by TGM. The walls have a metal frame and special stainless steel connectors, enabling fast and easy assembling without the need for special tools.
The walls can also be used to recreate, for example, a home that the soldiers are training to raid.