By YAAKOV KATZ
The navy is bolstering its amphibious capability and recently purchased landing craft that can deliver battalion-sized infantry forces, including armored vehicles, to enemy beaches, navy sources recently told The Jerusalem Post.
The last time landing craft were used by the navy was during Operation Peace for Galilee in 1982, when amphibious units landed an assault force of tanks, armored personnel carriers, engineering equipment and paratroopers behind PLO positions near Sidon in Lebanon.
Following the war, in 1983, the IDF considered turning the Givati Brigade into an amphibious force modeled after the US Marine Corps.
The navy is currently in talks with the IDF Ground Forces Command to decide which battalions will participate in amphibious assaults. The decision to reinforce the capability was made following the Second Lebanon War in 2006 and Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip earlier this year.
In both conflicts, the navy faced almost zero resistance at sea, and during Cast Lead it was able to provide close artillery support for the Paratroopers Brigade - which maneuvered along the coast.
"This is an important capability," a top navy officer said. "This will enable us to bring forces into places like Gaza from two directions, giving the IDF more flexibility and maneuverability."
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