IDF Artillery Corps Revamps for New Roles, Missions

Israel’s Artillery Corps is revamping weaponry, doctrine and institutional culture to transition from a supporting actor in maneuvering war to a center-stage performer of precision, standoff attack.

No longer the saturation-centric force that fired off 170,000 rounds to little effect in the 2006 Lebanon War, today’s Artillery Corps aspires to “one-shot, one-target” accuracy. It is transforming itself, officers and industry experts here said, for network-enabled roles and missions, including targeted killings and even urban war.

“Artillery comes in mass, but the future, the not-too-distant future, is one shot, one target,” said Brig. Gen. Roy Riftin, the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) chief artillery officer.

New weapons, an expanding digital C4 network that links artillery to armor and infantry, and upgrades to existing inventory are driving new doctrine, operational concepts and a rewritten mission statement.

With network-enabled UAVs to replace traditional fire control officers to direct fire from increasingly accurate guns and extended-range rockets, Israel’s Artillery Corps is positioning itself to share in operations formerly reserved for airpower.

“It shouldn’t be only the Air Force or, to a much lesser extent, the Navy, that destroys targets from standoff range,” an Army officer said.

In addition to precision standoff attacks against fixed targets, the Ground Force officer said combined arms warfare will soon be able to deal with time-sensitive moving targets some 40 kilometers away.

“Because our firepower is so significant, we can allow ourselves to take on additional missions, such as targets of opportunity,” said the IDF’s chief gunner. “These targets pop up quickly and then disappear. But if I’m fast enough and precise enough, we can effectively destroy them with the first round or the first rocket.”

The corps’ proposed mission statement and accompanying doctrine will be presented to IDF brass this month in the run-up to General Staff deliberations on its latest five-year spending plan, dubbed Teuza (valor). It is expected to relegate its traditional close-support mission for maneuvering forces to second-tier status while accenting destroying enemy targets through precision standoff attack.

In parallel, the corps is finalizing what it calls Fire2025, a strategic investment plan for firepower that is precise yet flexible for use across the operational spectrum. The Artillery Corps and Israel’s Ground Forces Command are lobbying to include key elements of Fire2025 in the IDF’s Teuza spending plan for 2014-2018

 

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