In preparation for future conflict and to bolster the safety of its soldiers, the IDF recently implemented the use of mobile siren units along the Gaza border.
A senior IDF Home Front Commander officer told reporters that the mobile sirens will warn soldiers stationed near the Strip of incoming rockets or mortars.
Lt.-Col Levi Yitah told The Jerusalem Post that the mobile sirens are being manufactured at a rapid pace and are arriving at the front lines within a year and a half of their being requested by IDF units.
Yitah, who runs the Alerts Division of the Home Front Command, said that the new systems, named Rotem, will help the IDF issue clearly audible rocket and mortar alerts to the front line troops, something which hindered operations during Operation Protective Edge.
Due to the lack of proper warning, IDF staging areas in and around the Gaza Strip were particularly vulnerable to mortar and short range rocket attacks. With very little time to seek shelter, the lack of efficient warning proved deadly during last summer’s war.
According to Yitah, the Rotem units have varied capabilities. The system links with the IDF and Air Force’s radars and sensors scouring the area for aerial attacks. The mobile units can be powered by connecting to the battery of any military vehicle or by using six lithium batteries. This variety allows for maneuverability of the system and its deployment in a wide range of locations.
Rotem “can withstand the toughest field conditions. We solved the problems of past operations,” he said.
By 2017, Israel will have fine tuned warning system technology to be able to pinpoint and alert specific city blocks where the missile, rocket or mortar is expected to fall. After being triggered, the warning system will then activate the siren only for that specific area, thus minimizing the disruption to civilian life.
“When we wake up in the morning, we feel like we’re carrying out our mission to save lives. Behind these sirens are many people working around the clock,” Yitah explained.
The IDF official also revealed that the current operational level of the detection system will pave the way for the first ever earthquake warning system.
“Advances in the world of detection and alerts are moving forward at a dizzying rate, perhaps faster than anywhere else in the military,” he said. “The TV and radio alerts civilians received last summer were one result of that.”