Archive photo: IDF (Zahal) Spokesperson

Units of the Computer Service Directorate held a foreign press conference presenting technologies for communicating on the field, for warning civilians in danger zones and more

Date: 09/12/2010, 7:30 PM     Author: Rotem Eliav

“Now the entire world can hear you,” said one of the cameramen as he started filming the foreign press conference for the C4I Branch, responsible for teleprocessing and communications in the IDF (Zahal), in Tzrifin (central Israel) on Wednesday (Dec. 1).

Foreign press from the US, France, Brazil, England, the Far East and more attended the conference to learn about and evaluate recent technological advancements of the IDF (Zahal)’s Telecommunications and Information Technology Unit, Lotem.

The Lotem unit initiates, develops and ultimately uses systems integrating and covering all Corps and arms of the IDF (Zahal). These include command and control systems and software for military operations. It is also responsible for engineering as well as communication and computer management, and information security.

According to Commander of the C4I Branch, Brig. Gen. Ayla Hakim, the C4I’s vision is to “create control of IDF (Zahal) abilities and enable the army to act as one force, by land, in the air and at sea, along with improving operational and administrative effectiveness and efficiency.”

In her opening address, Brig. Gen. Hakim also mentioned that the battlefields the IDF (Zahal) is facing today require implementation of new technologies.

After Brig. Gen. Hakim spoke, commanders of the C4I Corps presented the unit’s challenges, achievements and goals. Lotem officer Lt. Col. Orit Tatarsky explained the fundamental ideas behind “jointness”.

“Jointness” provides each unit or command with a system specifically designed for their needs, while still operating as one joint force. Like the international journalists who attended the event, each unit’s system speaks a different language.

“Each force delivers a message in its own language, the gateway translates it into a common language and delivers it to the other forces’ gateways, translating it back to their language,” explains Lt. Col. Tatarsky. “In this way, the system is able to create one clear picture of the situation for the entire army which can then effectively decide on the best course of action.”

The C4I Branch is currently working on approximately 300 projects, including enabling systems to work over longer distances and enhancing mobility and security.

Alongside projects for advancements in the battlefield, the branch is also focusing on a Saving Lives project in the home font. In conjunction with the Home Front Command, C4I and Lotem developed systems to protect civilians. The project embodies the IDF (Zahal)’s emphasis on the value of its citizens’ lives and human life in general.

“A new early warning system was developed, able to detect when a missile is launched, locate where it will hit within seconds and then start an alarm in the region. This will allow people ample time to prepare gas masks and evacuate. During this time, the system also attempts to intercept the threat,” explains officer in Lotem’s Leshem branch (responsible for human resources and logistics-related software), Lt. Col. Yoram Rotbach. He stresses that, “The most important thing is to let people return to their normal lives in time of war.”

Other home front systems include a silent alert of alarms for people with hearing disabilities, a risk and evaluation module determining areas safest during an attack, and the Star system which responds to the public’s questions and concerns.

The details and vivid explanations commanders gave of missile attacks and wartime panic drew up a clear image of the strenuous lives Israelis lead on a day-to-day basis. They underlined the IDF (Zahal)’s commitment to acting morally by reminding of the mission to Haiti, and the C4I Branch’s contribution to the effort.