Thomas Wictor

Now I understand how the IDF did it

Now I understand how the IDF did it

What I couldn’t figure out about Operation Protective Edge was how the Israeli Defense Forces could so accurately target buildings, rocket launchers, and mortar positions. The IDF has Tzayad (Hebrew for “Hunter”), the Digital Army Program that allows commanders to see the battlefield in both virtual and actual form. Assets and enemies are assigned twelve-digit codes; these are plotted on the screen so that commanders know who is where. But the IDF can do a lot more than that.

This is surreal.

Military Intelligence’s offensive cyber division is not only able to attack enemy systems; it also mines data and combines it with visual and signals intelligence.

This technique was used to create a digital map of Gaza so detailed that thousands of targets appeared on it, and every building in Gaza was shown from four different angles.

There’s one element missing from this description that I’m pretty sure I’m right about: If the IDF has digital maps of the outsides of buildings, they almost certainly use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with synthetic-aperture radar (SAR).

SAR can be used to see inside buildings.

Seeing through walls

Researchers develop an innovative radar system that locates people behind concrete walls

MIT Lincoln Laboratory researchers developed a new radar system that looks through walls. This ultrawideband (UWB) multiple-input, multiple-output phased-array sensor has real-time acquisition and processing capability and provides video-like synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images of people moving behind a concrete wall. The system demonstrated the ability to capture meaningful imagery at a 10.8 Hz frame rate through 4-inch- and 8-inch-thick, as well as cinder block, walls from a standoff distance of approximately 20 feet. Dr. Gregory Charvat, who developed the system along with colleagues John Peabody and Tyler Ralston of Lincoln Laboratory’s Aerospace Sensor Technology Group, says, “We estimate the maximum range to be approximately 60 feet when looking through an 8-inch concrete wall.”

If you combine digital mapping with SAR, you have the ability to see where the weapons depots are. Then you can drop inert concrete bombs on them, or you can use much smaller munitions.

I wondered how the IDF channeled the energy from explosions.

Well, now we know. They can see where the weapons cache is inside the structure; they choose a particular munition and fire it from the required direction.

You can bet that Israeli SAR capabilities are in the realm of what was once science fiction. Recently in Yemen, someone dropped a massive ordnance penetrator (MOP) on an underground facility.

The United States didn’t do that.

Another way you can use SAR is to map underground facilities.


Let’s say you’re a small nation whose people have been persecuted throughout history. And let’s say that there’s a neighboring country that regularly threatens to wipe you off the map and is working hell-for-leather to obtain nuclear weapons. And let’s say that a community organizer with a track record of abysmal judgement promises you that the guys trying to get nuclear weapons are just kidding. When they say they want to wipe you off the map, it’s just for domestic consumption. You know, to make these people happy.


Now, if you—the small country with the neighbors who keep saying they’re going to exterminate you—have the ability to see inside underground facilities, and you’ve developed your own MOPs, will you rely on the promises of the community organizer?

Or will you use your MOPs to clean up the mess?



That’s a toughie. An imponderable. A mystery we may never solve.

You know, Sting is an amazing bassist, but he almost never shows it. I stopped listening to his music well over a decade ago. Sometime in the mid-nineties, I went to a concert he gave in Berkeley, California, and there was a five-minute jamming portion that was some of the best music I’ve ever heard. You’d think that after a man made his hundreds of millions and had become one of the most famous people in human history, he’d…evolve. Instead of the stardom, he’d use his one-in-a-million skills on the electric bass to make people happy.

You might think that, but you’d be wrong.

We may not have a massively destructive war in the Middle East. The Iranians may decide to face reality and concede defeat. I doubt it, but anything’s possible.

At any rate, nobody has a chance against Israel or her allies. I recently read that Boko Haram is surrounded in Nigeria, and the Cameroonian Bataillion d’Intervention Rapide (BIR) is about to go in and finish them off. Some people don’t think it’s going to happen. I disagree. The BIR was trained by the IDF. Look at their faces.


That photo tells us a lot about them. They don’t wear body armor, which means they prefer speed and mobility. They also don’t wear helmets. Really good special operators often avoid helmets. What they do instead of armoring up is lay down a tidal wave of fire. You can see that each man has two or three rifle magazines connected “jungle style”; they tape magazines together so that they can change them very quickly. This lets them shoot a huge number of bullets in a short time.

I’m optimistic. I think we’re seeing the end of the beginning of the war against Islamic terrorism, and now the world is getting serious.

Not as serious as EIGHTEEN jungle-style magazines, but we’re closer than we were even a year ago.


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