By Arie Egozi
Tel Aviv. The Israeli defence forces (IDF) and other Israeli anti-terror bodies have intensified the use of advanced simulators for anti-terror scenarios. Israeli companies, in close cooperation with the (IDF) and the Israeli border police, are developing new simulation systems to improve the training of special units in anti-terror operations.
Israel’s main force against any threat is the IDF. Some years ago realizing the changes in the shape of wars, a base was adapted to become the main training place of soldiers in ant terror actions. Underground warfare, tactical breaching, and robotics are just a few of the specializations that the Lotar Counter-Terror School teaches IDF soldiers. These instructors are responsible for training all IDF units in counter-terrorism. They are combat soldiers who train others and, if needed, take part in operational activities. The school is divided into different sections according to specialization.
The other body in the forefront of anti-terror, is the Special operation unit of the border police (YAMAM). This unit is now considered one of the most advanced anti-terror units in the world. The training and simulation tools used by this unit are highly classified but we were allowed to learn about some of them. “This is the best way to train units’ in anti-terror actions. We use the top technologies to make these system as efficient as possible”, a source related to the issue told Raksha Anirveda.
Some years ago, a unique facility has been opened in the heart of the Judean Desert, near Ma’aleh Michmash a few miles north east of Jerusalem. The site looks like a Hollywood set – Huge greenhouses ,exact copies of the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem , of a street leading from the Old City of Jerusalem, and part of the Sharona restaurants and store centre in Tel Aviv . All these places saw terror attacks in which Israelis were killed.
The training area was established with attention to the smallest detail up to the level of authentic smells and muezzin voices playing in the background.
In order to reduce gaps in the handling of the expanding phenomenon of tunnels, the IDF expanded the underground training facilities in all the commands. Today, almost all brigade training bases and commands have infrastructure for underground training. Some of the installations were built above the ground, but they simulate the time and the fighting in tunnels while others were dug underground.
The IDF has acquired weapons that will help the forces in the battalions to neutralize tunnels more easily and quickly, without the need to wait for professional forces, while infantry forces have developed drills for handling subterranean compounds, even by artillery forces.
Elbit Systems is one of Israel’s main defence companies. The company has supplied the Israeli air force (IAF) with a connected simulator that allows to train fighter pilots and plan missions. But Elbit is also developing anti-terror simulators. According to the company the simulators it has developed provide a comprehensive solution for joint tactical force-on-force live training. The system enables efficient training in various terrains – including urban areas – without the need for any on-site installation. The fully integrated training system combines laser suites for dismounted infantry and armoured vehicles, independent broadband communication and control centre capabilities.
The system has many components but without any doubt the Soldier’s Vest Kit is at the top. It is installed on a special combat vest full with very advanced sensors and communications systems. Some of the systems’ components are put on the soldier’s protection helmet. The other parts of the system are a player unit computer , eye safe Laser emitter for all weapon types, Intuitive user terminal interface ,UHF Communication module, Wi-Fi 2.4GHz, GPS module, laser sensors, Personal Audio and other supporting parts.
“The training combatant moves in the area and suddenly a terrorist throws a hand grenade. The soldiers within the hit range know that they have been injured and the others now exactly from what direction the grenade was thrown” an Elbit source explained.
Another simulation tool has been developed by Bagira, an Israeli company that is developing many types of military simulators. One very unique simulation tool made by Bagira is the MAGNET Magazine. Laser Engagement Training Systems, enable force-on-force training using a simulated firing device and an impact sensor system that provides a truly realistic training experience.
According to Bagira, simulation training using such systems normally requires the use of blank ammunition. This fact significantly increases the training costs. In addition to the cost aspect, the use of blank ammunition compels the user to implement additional safety measures such as dedicated magazines and muzzle plugs. To overcome all these limitations, Bagira developed the MAGNET Magazine.
This is a device that complements the Laser Engagement Training System. It provides a solution to the need for realistic training while eliminating the need for blank ammunition. This helps to minimize costs, streamline logistics and significantly improve the safety standards. The Magnet Magazine enables low-cost training at any time and location. The MAGNET “Force on Force” Control app enables the operation and control of live field training. The App allows the instructor and the observer (field-instructor) to prepare the training event, control the player’s status in real-time, manage the timeline of the exercise, and perform during and After Action Review.
The connectivity of the MAGNET magazines with the Control App enables to receipt of full data from the players on the field (e.g. ammunition status, damage, and more), change their status, send each player voice messages, and adapt the session according to the trainee’s behaviour. The system is synchronized with all relevant radio systems and video cameras in the field. The “Force on Force” Control App enables the creation of virtual events that will affect the live training and allow connectivity to other training systems (e.g. Joint Fires, Tactical or Crew Trainers). The IDF uses thousands of these devices to improve trooper competence while significantly reducing training costs. These are only a few examples of the wide efforts being made to use simulation techniques in the training of Israeli anti-terror units.
-The writer is an International Roving Correspondent of this publication