Several new weapons systems, some not even officially inaugurated for use, made their operational debuts during the recent Operation Protective Edge. Among them were a radar and guidance systems, as well as a precision tank shell and new UAVs.
Military magazine IsraelDefense reported on several new systems deployed during the operation. New radar systems included the RADA-developed MHR system, which was linked to the existing early-detection system and assisted the Israeli Air Force in detecting incoming enemy mortars and UAVs. Although the system itself was already in use in the area surrounding Gaza prior to the operation, additional units were deployed during the engagement.
The Green Rock Tactical C-RAM (Counter Rockets, Artillery & Mortars) system by IAI/ELTA also joined the radar arsenal during Protective Edge. The Green Rock C-RAM is a mobile, autonomous tactical radar system that travels with the army unit and provides protection. It is capable of tracking multiple targets simultaneously, and detects sharply curving projectiles such as rockets, mortars and tube artillery. The radar can also identify UAVs and hang-gliders.
Other systems debuted were intended to minimize collateral damage while increasing accuracy. The Poter Shamayim system by NESS TSG provides improved targeting capabilities, while the IMI Hatzav shell was designed to penetrate walls intact and detonate only once inside.
Following the IDF’s experiences in the Second Lebanon War and Operation Cast Lead, the 120mm shell was fitted with a delay mechanism. The idea is to use these shells against terrorists hiding inside buildings. The delayed explosion would ensure the destruction of the targeted terrorists while minimizing the risk to civilians in the vicinity.
Two unmanned vehicles, the Hermes-900 UAV and the unmanned M113 APC, took part in the operation. The Hermes-900 was designed for surveillance and intelligence-gathering, while the M113 APC performs border patrols. The M113 APC is, in fact, the world’s first unmanned vehicle to do so.
The Tamar Company turned its attention towards the terror tunnels from Gaza into Israel, developing systems for the use of liquid explosives against the tunnels, as well as “a new technique for coping” with them, according to the magazine.
More recently, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon approved the purchase of an additional 200 APCs (Armored Personnel Carriers) over the next several years. The approved Namer APCs are significantly sturdier than their predecessors, and will provide improved protection for soldiers inside. The decision comes two months after seven soldiers were killed when Hamas hit their outdated Bardelas APC during Operation Protective Edge.