Exclusive: Artillery Corps buys custom-designed radar which can give 360 degree battlefield coverage.
By YAAKOV KATZ
With an eye to a future conflict with Hamas and Hizbullah, the IDF's Artillery Corps is preparing to integrate a new radar system that will help locate and destroy rocket launchers more quickly than ever before, Chief Artillery Officer Brig.-Gen. Michel Ben-Baruch has told The Jerusalem Post.
The radar will be operational within a few months.
Under production by Elta Systems - a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries - the new radar will be able to provide artillery cannons with a 360-degree view of a battlefield and detect the exact location of rocket launchers.
The location will then be transmitted digitally to the cannons or rocket systems deployed nearby, which will be able to fire at the launchers and destroy them.
"There is no radar like this in the world," Ben-Baruch told the Post on Monday. "It can pinpoint the location of the launch and then find the range the cannons will need to aim at to fire."
The new radar is one of several new technologies the Artillery Corps has been integrating into service since the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
But the highlight of the Artillery Corps's recent accomplishments came in last month's IDF draft, when for the first time in the corps's history, all of its new inductees are soldiers who had asked to serve there.
This 100% match beat out the Armored and Engineering Corps, and put Artillery at the same level as the Givati and Kfir infantry brigades.
"This is an unbelievable success," Ben-Baruch said. "These are high-quality soldiers who realize that in the Artillery Corps they will operate advanced technology and have the opportunity to try out for some of the most elite units in the world."
Since the Second Lebanon War, during which the artillery featured prominently, Ben-Baruch has sent officers to schools and homes of draftees around the country to describe the corps, particularly the different technologies and opportunities that soldiers will encounter during their service.
Among the hundreds enlisted, Ben-Baruch revealed that 35 of the soldiers will be trained to become operators of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for the IDF's Ground Forces.
In the coming weeks, the Defense Ministry is scheduled to rule on a tender for the production of a small, lightweight UAV for field units that will be operated by the Artillery Corps. IAI and Elbit Systems Ltd. are competing for the contract.
"When people think of the Artillery Corps they imagine a small cannon being dragged on a wagon," Ben-Baruch said. "In reality, though, we have some of the most fascinating and advanced technology in the IDF."
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