‘Clear picture of battlefield top priority’
(June 14, 2021 / JNS) The Israeli Defense Forces used a new version of an advanced combat management system that provided a real-time picture of friendly and hostile forces during Operation Guardian of the Walls last month against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
The Torch 750 system, made by Elbit, supplies devices held by field commanders with updated images of the battlefields of blue (friendly) forces and red (hostile) forces, as well as connects the ground forces with the Israeli Air Force and the Israeli Navy in new ways. .
Major Amos Shore, who heads the Torch project in the IDF’s Gun Forces Development Department, told JNS that the device could be available in the form of tablets or smartphones that are connected to a complex software-defined radio communication system.
We used the torch in training and operations in 2020, but during Operation Guardian of the Walls, this was the first time we used it extensively, although the ground forces did not conduct a major maneuver operation. [in Gaza]”, Said Shore. “We are dealing with an enemy who fires rockets at innocent Israelis in their homes. These are bloodthirsty, Islamic extremist terrorist organizations, such as Hamas, that launch rockets from densely populated areas. “
“Discovering the enemy is a very challenging mission. One of the great advantages of the new Torch system is that it gets very high quality enemy positions in real time, right next to the platoon commander’s device. No one should click anything. The algorithms automatically send the positions to the commander, “he explained.
“Our goal is for the platoon commander, when examining his device, to have a clear picture of all forces. I mean everything – the navy, what’s in the air, the ground forces, the infantry, the tanks, the headquarters, the intelligence – everything – Shore continued. “It simply came to our notice then. It may sound simple, but we know from our history in Lebanon and Gaza that, unfortunately, we have had incidents of friendly fire. Understanding the clear picture is our top priority. “
IDF has been developing the Torch digital control system since 2010, but an entirely new version has been released in ground units since 2020.
“It has a very different digital infrastructure,” Shore said. “He serves commanders at the level of platoon commanders and up. The older system served company commanders and up. We now have a device that any infantry platoon commander can get by connecting all ground forces into one system. The headquarters of battalions, brigades and divisions are also in the system. “
Improved capability means that the ground torch can now “talk” to command networks used by the navy, air force and intelligence. “That was the new requirement that Torch made,” Shore said.
“Great operational advantage for tactical units”
The arrival of the Torch 750 system is part of the Israeli military’s digital transformation, which is essentially designed to turn the battlefield into a digital arena.
“Doing so requires all systems to work together and connect not only to different systems, but also to weapons and control systems. So our system allows headquarters commanders and tactical commanders to have a clear idea of where the friendly forces are and where the enemy’s forecast position is, ”Shore explained.
The sophisticated radio system means that logistics can work like a Wi-Fi connection, allowing devices to plug in and start receiving digital services. This technology allows quality intelligence to quickly reach field commanders.
It will also allow IDF units to receive rapid-fire attacks and retaliate against enemy posts firing on Israel, the officer said. “And you can only do that when you know where everyone is, when you know you’re not hurting any of our boys, when you know where the enemy is. You can then hit the enemy so that he stops firing. These are the basic things that the device allows. “
Shore recalled spending most of the day as a company commander communicating with his headquarters or other units through word of mouth. He noted that when everyone speaks at the same time, the messages do not pass.
“Making everything digital has a similar effect as the digitalisation of civilian life,” he said. “It’s like using smartphones for group messaging and pushing a lot of messages to different units in seconds. This provides a great operational advantage for our tactical units. “
The torch continues to be renewed; the next challenge is to be able to use it to access drones and robotics, Shore said. “I think this is the future, as you do it through Torch.”