Military to protect bases from missiles

New army department work

In face of the growing missile threat against Israel, the IDF Operations Directorate has established a new department responsible for coordinating efforts to protect IDF bases. The department's main task will be to set the standard for required levels of protection that the bases will need to meet in order to continue functioning during a war that will likely include missile attacks against them. "We assume that the bases will be one of our enemy's first targets," a senior IDF officer said. "Hamas, Hizbullah, Syria and Iran all have the ability to fire missiles into our bases." During the Second Lebanon War in 2006 as well as Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip earlier this year, Hizbullah and Hamas intentionally targeted IDF bases in the North and South. The prime targets, IDF sources said, were air force bases. Some of the department's recommendations have been to strengthen defenses at air force bases and other critical installations, particularly in the North and along the border with Gaza. "They would love to be able to hit an airplane or an airstrip," the officer said. Due to this assessment, the IAF recently purchased a unique material that can be used to seal up holes and fix bombed-out runways within a matter of minutes. In addition, the air force may purchase a version of the fifth-generation stealth F-35 fighter jet that is capable of short takeoff and vertical landing, which can be used even if an airstrip is bombed. In the event of a war with Hizbullah or Syria, the IDF would consider redeployment and transferring the aircraft regularly deployed there to alternative bases, the officer said. In addition, reservists called up for service will not be ordered to come to the base where their weapons and supplies are stored, but rather to an alternative and undisclosed site since the assumption is that the enemy will target those bases to prevent or at least delay their enlistment procedure.