TEL AVIV — Israel's Defense Ministry has awarded Elbit Systems rights to develop the next generation of the Israeli Army's digital C4I network under a series of multiyear contracts estimated at $117 million.

The Haifa-based firm, developers of the Israeli Army's operational network known here as Tzayad, or Digital Army Program, (DAP), announced Thursday receipt of the bundled MoD contracts, most of them extending over a six-year period.

Under the contracts, them, Elbit will develop what it described as "a master program that computerizes all operations in the land forces, connecting all field and command echelons into a central data transfer network."

"We're talking about a technological upgrade that will provide an enormous leap in combat effectiveness that comes from networked operations," Bezhalel (Butzi) Machlis, Elbit president and CEO, Chief Executive Officer told Defense News.

"It will allow us to transition from the transfer of information to the transfer of knowledge ... all based on the secure, robust digital net that has proven itself so well in recent years," he said.

In a Jan. 15 interview, Machlis said The project is part of the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF's) plan to support advanced, interoperable communications systems through the "smart" transfer of huge amounts of bandwidth, he said.

In parallel, the firm will upgrade, maintain, supply and support communications systems and wideband radio systems on behalf of the Israeli military under a private financing initiative (PFI) outsourcing deal with MoD.

"This order strengthens our communications roadmap and preserves our technological lead in this critical field," the Elbit executive said.

"No less important, it is a clear manifestation of the level of satisfaction in the IDF and MoD."

He added, "We're excited about delivering a next generation of systems that will serve all echelons, from the single soldier up through the command chain and vice versa."

Col. Yossi Mashiah is the recently retired head of the C4I Programs and Systems Engineering Department of the C4I Division, part of the IDF's Israel Defense Forces (IDF) General Staff.

On Tuesday, In a Jan. 13 interview, prior to Elbit's announcement, on Thursday, Mashiah said a central project slated to take off this year would support "hundreds of gigas" and enable broadband communication throughout the territory of Israel and command centers "wherever they are to be connected."

He declined to speak specifically of Elbit's role, yet noted that the firm has been pivotal — through Tzayad and other programs — in ushering the IDF into the era of networked operations.

"I was there at the start of Tzayad for the ground forces back in 2001. It's a fabulous feeling of pride to be able to accompany the process from an initial idea through operational deployment," said Mashiah, an engineer who spent 27 years in the IDF Signals Corps and later, the C4I Division.

Elbit's June 15 announcement of the latest $117 million contracts follows three other contracts awarded by Israel's MoD since the beginning of the year.

Since Jan. 4, the firm announced receipt of $451 million in new MoD business spanning the spectrum from firefighting aircraft, avionics support for fighter aircraft and advanced electro-optical systems.


Opall-Rome is Israel bureau chief for Defense News. She has been covering U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation, Mideast security and missile defense since May 1988. She lives north of Tel Aviv. Visit her website at

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