New virtual goggles assist IDF in tunnel combat
The 3D goggles now being used in the elite combat engineers Yahalom unit contain software enabling soldiers to familiarize themselves with details pertaining to construction and layout of Hamas terror tunnel network and to easily identify explosives to facilitate quicker disposal; ‘This is a great technological leap forward...They can learn without leaving the class.'
Israel’s security apparatus has expended billions of shekels since the conclusion of Operation Protective Edge in 2014 in its effort to counter the threat of Hamas tunnels infiltrating from the Gaza Strip into Israel.
The money has gone on a giant underground fence along the border, as well as on the soldiers who will be required to take on the tunnels in any future conflict with Hamas.
The new system, which has been declared ready for operational use, now enables soldiers to prepare and acquire the skills required for dealing with the tunnels.
Soldiers from the special Yahalom unit under the IDF’s Military Engineer’s unit have already begun training with the 3D goggles which help soldiers become more acquainted with Hamas’s underground network, and provides crucial information about them.
For examples, soldiers can use the goggles to learn how Hamas constructed the tunnels, how they improve their subterranean infrastructure, how they are increasing the width and height of the main routes, and how they split the two ends of tunnels into operational and administrative use.
“There is a great technological leap forward here. If once we needed to bring soldiers to the classes and explain things through presentations, today you can do everything with the new software using a tablet, through which the soldiers can open and dismantle explosives without leaving the class,” Lieutenant Colonel Ohad Bachar, a commander in the IDF’s Yahalom Combat Engineers unit school added, told Ynet
In the main virtual situation room, the soldier finds himself crouching as he advances in a tunnel, with two sensors hung on the ceiling of the room detecting his movements and small signs that he's holding in his hand allowing him to move under the ground, while at the same time remaining at ground level enjoying the AC.
In addition, the new software allows for 3D learning of 14 types of ammunition, including RPG missiles, mortar shells and explosive devices. This helps shorten and upgrade the theoretical stage of the soldier learning how to dispose of a bomb.
“With this new system we will be able to demonstrate how to deal with explosive spheres. With the new form of study, the average time of one hour will be 15 minutes,” Major Maya, an officer in the training facility, said in an interview with Ynet on the technological breakthrough.