Israel planning UAVs for every battalion

May 5, 2008 at 8:29 PM

JERUSALEM, May 5 (UPI) -- Plans are under way to equip every Israel Defense Force battalion with an unmanned aerial vehicle system to increase intelligence and operational capabilities.

The UAV plan is part of the Israeli Ground Forces Technology Brigade Sky and Earth project as a way to gain a tactical advantage for soldiers on the ground over enemy operatives. The project to equip each battalion with a UAV is expected to take several years, but Defense officials say the IDF already has several of the systems that can be deployed with troops where routine security measures are taken, the Israel Defense Force reported.

The UAV technology, developed for Israeli troops by Elbit Systems, is increasingly being incorporated into battlefield strategy by the United States in combat zones like Iraq and Afghanistan. Officials say the UAVs offer a way to increase the intelligence gathering and operational capabilities of troops in the field.

"In the future, we will have the ability to open cells of the Sky and Earth project which will be allocated to areas or specific units," Lt. Gen. Erez Diner, Israeli Ground Forces missile department head, said in a statement. "For example, when a brigade of reserve soldiers returns to service in Samaria, a cell from the project will be allocated to the group. They will work together until they finish their reserve service. That way we can do more surveillance of the systems and its performance, and learn how we can improve it even more."

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