The Tactical Battle Group Training System (TBT). (Elbit Systems)
Female operators train on Elbit's the new MARS intelligence trainer. / Elbit Systems
TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — Israel’s Ministry of Defense has renewed a service contract with Elbit Systems to operate and maintain the Israeli Army’s growing inventory of company-built training systems through 2019.
Concluded in late January, the five-year, 88 million shekel ($24.9 million) award obliges the Haifa-based firm or its certified subcontractors to operate and maintain five different land force training systems deployed at separate sites throughout the country.
Industry and military sources here say the contract includes the firm’s Driving Simulators for Merkava tanks and Namer heavy troop carriers; a Tactical Battle Group Training (TBT) system; Skyrider unmanned aerial vehicle trainers; tank crew trainers; and a newly inaugurated MARS intelligence training simulator for command and control along Israel’s borders.
Elbit training systems interface with the firm’s Tzayad Digital Army Program (DAP), a secure C4I network connecting Israel’s headquarter commanders and service branches with armor, infantry, artillery and other specialty forces down to brigade level.
“The fact that our systems are integrated into the DAP provides enormous added value,” said Army Reserve Col. Ofer Segal, senior director for Elbit Land Forces Training & Simulation.
“It means that the young female border control operators about to deploy up north can train on the MARS field intelligence simulator down south according to the real operational environment they’ll face in the Golan Heights,” Segal said.
“The same applies to our TBT, which integrates battlefield simulation with actual C4I systems. That means forces drill on the same command and control network that supports real combat operations,” he added.
Elbit’s MARS intelligence training system began operations last September at the IDF’s Field Intelligence School near the Red Sea town of Eilat. And given regional stability and growing threats beyond all of its borders, the intelligence training system is in exceedingly high demand, military and industry sources here said.
“Demand is constantly growing for skilled observers trained to monitor the sensor-fused intelligence capabilities guarding our borders,” said Brig. Gen. Eyal Zelinger, head of the IDF’s C4I Corps.
In an interview late last year, Zelinger noted that Elbit’s MARS simulator was not his responsibility, but rather that of the IDF’s Ground Forces Command. “It’s not my baby, so I can’t take credit for this extraordinary system that is already saving us man-hours and enhancing operational effectiveness.”
He added, “It properly prepares our young female conscripts to operate the C4I system connecting their assigned sectors to warriors in the field.”
As for other training systems included in the recently awarded contract, Elbit’s TBT has been operational for nearly a decade. The company works continuously with program managers at Israel’s Ground Forces Command to update the TBT with latest operational versions of the DAP digital network.
The firm’s driving simulators, mounted on full motion platforms, are expected to yield considerable savings in fuel and repair costs associated with accidents and misuse, military and industry sources said.
Israel’s Ground Forces Command plans to inaugurate its new trainer for Namer heavy troop carriers on February 6 at the IDF’s infantry school near Yeroham. Another trainer for Merkava main battle tanks is expected to become operational at the IDF’s Armored School by the end of the year. ■