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The IDF’s Top 10 Innovations from the Past 70 Years

April 25, 2018
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Iron Dome air defense system

Wednesday, 25 April 2018 | The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] has acquired groundbreaking technological innovations during its 70 years, so we compiled a short list to share some of our favorites.

1The “Iron Dome” Air Defense System

For many years, rockets have been launched at Israel from the Gaza Strip. As a result, an air defense system called the “Iron Dome” was deployed in southern Israel in 2011. The objective: to protect Israeli civilians from this constant threat by intercepting the rockets.

Accuracy, speed, and capacity—three adjectives that describe the “Iron Dome.” With a range of up to 43.5 mi. [70 km.], it was able to intercept 692 rockets during Operation Protective Edge. In addition, in November 2012, during Operation Defensive Pillar, a record high of 421 interceptions were made in just 8 days.

As soon as a rocket is launched by the enemy, the radar station detects and tracks its course, and then immediately launches a missile to intercept and neutralize the enemy rocket before it causes damage to civilians or property.

2. The “Trophy” System

You may think that a tank is an all-powerful and invincible vehicle, but this is not the case. Anti-tank missiles are able to damage tanks beyond repair, so the “Trophy” system was established to counteract this threat.

The “Trophy” detection system creates a 360-degree protective shield around the tank. When an enemy launches a missile against a tank equipped with a “Trophy,” the system instantly detects and neutralizes the threat by firing a missile of its own to explode the enemy missile.

3. The F-16I “Sufa”

“What’s so special about the F-16?” you ask. “Half of the western world uses it,” you say. Well, this is not a normal F-16. This is the F-16I “Sufa.” The “I” was added by Israel because it has been highly modified to adapt to the specific needs of the Israeli Air Force. To make the incredible work of a pilot as easy and effective as possible, the F-16I has been equipped with a state-of-the-art weapons system, a specially constructed radar system, and a unique helmet system that allows the pilot to launch weapons at an enemy plane using only sight. No wonder we nicknamed it “Sufa,” which means “storm” in Hebrew.

4. The “Merkava IV”

At first glance, the “Merkava IV” is indistinguishable from any other tank, but sometimes looks are deceiving. In its current version, the “Merkava IV” includes an improved fire control system with the ability to defend against helicopter attack, a digital battlefield management system, and an unprecedented suspension and tracking system that enables movement even on the roughest of terrains that would force any other tank to its knees. It’s not surprising that it’s considered one of the best tanks in the world.

5. The drones, the eyes of the IDF

Unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as UAV and drones, which operate on land and sea, have become an indispensable tool to control the enemy’s activities. Their main advantage is that they allow to see without being seen. These robots are controlled remotely by soldiers from a safe place. The “Eitan,” for example, has a wingspan of 85 feet, similar to that of the Boeing 737 aircraft. This drone is capable of carrying out long-range missions and has a 36-hour life in the air without interruption. The “Eitan” can withstand all weather conditions; it’s equipped with an automatic defrosting system, a take-off and landing system, and can be integrated with many sensors.

6. The “Skylark I-LE”

The “Skylark I-LE” is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)—small, light, and almost undetectable. It’s light enough to be transported by one person and can be configured to fly in less than eight minutes. The “Skylark” can handle three hours of unmanned flight with a live video day and night, in any weather condition. Silent as a mouse and with the sight of a hawk, it unfolds and returns to its original form quickly.

7. The “Tzefa Shirion”

This system consists of a 394 ft. [120 m.] long chain propelled by a missile. When it falls to the ground, it explodes mines and allows clearing of roads up to 394 feet in length and 19-26 ft. [5.5-8 m.] wide, consequently eliminating mines and creating open paths to advance through terrain.

8. The “EyeBall” system

Imagine that a terrorist is hiding in a building. The soldiers who will arrest him don’t know where he is or if he’s alone. One of the soldiers takes out a small black ball and throws it inside the building. After a few seconds, the ball stabilizes and transmits a 360-degree image of the room while the soldiers stay outside. Now they can see and hear everything that’s happening inside and have all the information necessary to safely enter the building to arrest the terrorist. Barely larger than a tennis ball and equipped with a state-of-the-art camera with infrared capabilities, the “Eye-Ball” improves the performance of IDF soldiers and continuously re-affirms its status as one of the best fighting forces in the world.

9. The “Namer”

The “Namer” which is also called Leopard, is a heavily armored infantry fighting vehicle that has an advanced system that protects the vehicle and soldiers inside. It includes the famed missile defense “Trophy” system capable of intercepting anti-tank rockets. Within the APC are three important soldiers: the commander, the driver, and the arms operator.

10. Spike

The “Spike” is a rocket launcher that was developed specifically for the needs of the IDF. The newest edition features a 40% reduction of weight from its previous design. It mounts to the shoulder and is the first of its kind with unique characteristics better equipped for ground operations. The “Spike” can be transported quickly and easily and can reach structures accurately from hundreds of feet away.

Posted on April 25, 2018

Source: (Israel Defense Forces originally published this article on 19 April 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces

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