Another significant challenge involves connecting and interfacing disparate systems. The communication medium should be both reliable and adequate. Although mobile abilities will never match the standard of fixed stations, efforts should be made to reach maximum flexibility and continuous control on the move, officials say. Yet, most modern communications gear demands high levels of bandwidth and must be carefully controlled to prevent clogging the network.
Furthermore, communications security is becoming a highly complex affair. It is tempting to think that soon everyone could have iPad-like devices at the troop level. Although their use appears simple, in reality it is increasingly challenging as the enemy in hybrid warfare also uses equally sophisticated handheld equipment.
Another C4I prerequisite is operating simplicity, and here there is a chance for an immediate clash with commercial interests. Humans have a tendency to constantly refine applications. The manufacturing companies want to do it and so do we, in principle, but in our operational C3 systems, we have already reached a situation in which some militaries will do whatever they can to freeze the configuration to the maximum extent possible. The Israeli military is a reservist-based organization and a substantial percentage of the personnel expected to operate C3 systems will be reservists. Many are veterans from a different generation than the iPhone-toting youngsters in mandatory service.
For the next few years, Moscovitch considers tactical connectivity his prime task. “We are already in an era where there are many sensors and a lot of information and intelligence on the ground,” he said. “We want to reach a state where we would be able to freely convey data records among combat platforms, particularly between land and air, and vice versa.”
A major challenge will be to provide the lower tactical combat element and special operations forces with simple but highly flexible C4I systems that enable them to direct long-range precision fire and stay ahead of the increasingly fast “sensor-to-shooter” cycle. This is the most important element in fighting hybrid warfare, IDF officials say.
Industry sees an opportunity, and a recent innovation developed by Elbit Systems might answer this challenge. Elbit has introduced a new subset of the Dominator IICS integrated combat system designed for the dismounted soldier. The system employs the rugged Raptor wearable computer running a subset of the Torch-D battle management application. It is supported by the Tadiran PNR-1000 UHF encrypted personal network radio, offering an all-in system to access the Tzayad network.
Meanwhile, the chief of the IDF Ground Forces, Maj. Gen. Sami Turgeman, also revealed at the Fire Conference that his land forces are reviewing a forward-interception system concept to deal with steep-trajectory munitions threats. In turn, officials are looking at acquiring a new precision rocket with a range of up to 40 km (25 mi.) to become operational by the end of this year.
Indeed, the most immediate and probable threat to Israel comes from the terrorist organizations operating around the country that continue to grow stronger and more hybrid in their approach to warfare. These organizations rely on capabilities and the substantial support of sponsor countries such as Syria and Iran. Beyond building their own defenses, they continuously deploy troops around Israel's borders and maintain a relatively high level of readiness, with dozens of rockets aimed at strategic objectives inside Israel.
“Any reasonable person understands that the clashes in 2006 and in 2008 were not the last clashes against Hezbollah and Hamas, and that we will probably face these groups again, either separately or together,” Turgeman warned.