In the past, the army used maps, stickers, and markings to tell commanders where to go and what to do. Now, an enterprising team of IDF (Zahal) programmers and engineers are developing a digital battle command system that will take us into the future. “Noked,” a hi-tech, interactive, mapping system will change the rules of the game.
“Noked,” is an acronym for the Hebrew words “digital battle procedure.” With it, commanders will always have a crystal-clear picture of the frontlines. They will be able to see exactly where each unit is located in real time and interact with other commanders to coordinate changes seamlessly.
Just like in sci-fi movies, “Noked” fills a screen with a complete 3-D map of the battlefield. Commanders can then use transparent layers to fill the map with all the information they need. The entire system is dynamic. “The picture comes alive. You can move layers around and zoom in on the map,” said Major Moshe Castro, the officer in charge of the project.
The most important feature of the “Noked” system is its communication abilities. If a unit finds itself in a difficult position to defend, they can pull up a 3-D map layer and quickly find a better spot. Instantly, their new position will be communicated to all other active units. The quick communication makes complicated changes seem simple. After the battle, the system allows for the review and investigation of all troop movements. This allows the IDF (Zahal) to learn for the future and fine-tune strategies and methods.
The first prototype was revealed at a recent hackathon hosted at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Maj. Moshe Castro and six of his soldiers were on hand for the demonstration. “We tested the system and it worked,” he said. Just like at any startup, Castro will have to pitch the platform to military leadership. Recently, the system was presented to the army as part of its multi-year training plan. “I believe in this idea, and I believe it will spread around the military,” he said.