The IDF is preparing new simulators that will be used to train all infantry soldiers for future underground warfare against terrorism.
The decision comes as the IDF is implementing the lessons learned from Operation Protective Edge in training large infantry forces to combat the threat of underground tunnels and cross-border attacks posed by Hamas in the south and now Hezbollah in the north.
The simulators present soldiers with changing scenarios that imitate combat situations which include detecting tunnels, advancing through them and mapping them, complex and dangerous fighting within them, and destroying the tunnels in controlled destruction’s.
The tunnel threat was one of the most significant dangers faced by IDF infantry forces in last summer’s 50 day conflict with Hamas in Gaza. Over the course of the fighting, the IDF had only limited forces from the specialized Yahalom Infantry Engineering Brigade at its disposal who are properly trained on how to deal with the tunnel threat.
Only six months after the conflict, Hamas proudly boasted that it had already begun redigging terror tunnels into Israel. The IDF is preparing all infantry units to be able to more effectively counter the threat posed by the tunnels.
According to one high ranking officer in the Land Forces Division, all units who will likely take part in a future conflict with Hamas will receive high level training in one of their new 10 special training facilities across Israel.
“Some of these facilities are already partly open, because we are still at the beginning of the project,” IDF Land Forces Training Section Commander Lieutenant Colonel Tamir Gal told Globes.
“The tunnels built for training purposes look just like the ones in Gaza, and will also be used to simulate underground fighting in the north. We have used intelligence from both the Northern and Southern Command for this, and we have also consulted various engineering sources. Building these facilities is very costly, because we have used various elements to make it possible to train forces with live ammunition within the facilities themselves”
The cost of these facilities can range up to 2 million NIS each. Tamir also said that the IDF plans to develop and adapt new weapons for this type of fighting. Israel is still looking to develop advanced systems that can detect tunneling activity before any attack comes from an underground attack tunnel.