Israel Aims for Net-Centric Warfare with the Tsayad Program
Israel has launched an ambitious program to digitize its Command, Control, Communications, Computer, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) architecture to increase the operational speed and agility of its ground forces. Built around a wireless backbone supported by software programmable radios, this Digital Army Program (DAP, known as Tsva Yabasha Digitali in Hebrew, or “Tsayad”) will build a system of systems including a software-based data radio called Green Elad; a layer called TIGER (Tactical Intranet Geographic dissEmination) that will tie DAP into legacy systems; the TORC2H system which seems similar to the U.S. “Blue Force Tracker“; a lightweight tactical operations center; plus a number of other command and communications applications, some of which were put on hold while DAP was fleshed out.
At present, the different branches of the IDF are not as well coordinated for joint operations as the Americans. In 2004, however, the IDF began a campaign to narrow the gap and move toward network-centric warfare. One move was to establish a new command similar to the U.S. military’s J-6 to coordinate strategic-level C4I. DAP is another outgrowth.
Designed for both high and low-intensity conflict, DAP will link all echelons from infantry squads up to the division level in a single network. Within the framework of the program, all land forces operations will be computerized (command, control and communications or C3) to the single soldier level, integrated and interfaced with new and advanced applications. The DAP calls for the contractors to provide and support all hardware and software, including command and control stations, data processing, and distribution systems.
Technologies developed through the program will provide enhanced situational awareness and ad hoc networking for voice, data and video transmissions between the various branches of Israel’s Defense Forces. Basically, the goal is to reduce sensor-to-shooter cycles by streaming real-time data to commanders, and allowing direct re-transmission of the consolidated data picture back to the field. This will enable force coordination at all levels, access to updated situational pictures, improved overall operational capabilities, survivability and accuracy, and more efficient utilization of personnel and other resources.
DAP’s current timetable calls for an initial operational capability by April 2008, with one division equipped for full scale warfare (similar to the U.S. effort to fully digitize the 4th Infantry Division). Full operational capability for the entire army is scheduled for 2011.
The 10-year program will cost approximately 875 million shekels ($204 million) and some $200 million in U.S. foreign military funding. Elbit Systems Limited of Haifa, Israel, is the prime contractor, with Rafael Armament Development Authority Limited in Haifa and Tadiran Systems Limited in Holon serving as major subcontractors.
Additional Readings & Sources
- SIGNAL Magazine (May 2005) – Israel Targets Network Centricity. Some very good coverage of the project-related challenges as well.
- Defense Update – Ground Forces Digitalization Program, Israel Defense Forces (ZAYAD)
- Elbit Systems (July 25/11) – Elbit Systems Awarded an Israeli Ministry of Defense Follow-on Order for the Digital Army Program. Could be worth up to $300 million more; DAP is currently in is in Phase 1 advanced implementation. See also UPI report.
- DID (Jan 22/07) – Tadiran Wins $20.5M Follow-On for Advanced Radios
- DID (July 20/06) – Israel Discovering Transformation’s Limits? Was Tsayad a net drain on the IDF’s performance during the 2006 Lebanon War?
- DID (June 20/05) – The Tactical Radio Market to 2015
- DID (Apr 28/05) – Jittery Over JTRS, Pentagon Puts Boeing on Notice. Contains links to subsequent DID coverage of the American JTRS program. JTRS is also a software-based radio system designed for radio, wireless, and networking.
- DID (March 16/05) – Dick Tracy Tech for UAVs: the V-RAMBO. This is the sort of technology that DAP can and will enable.
- RF Design (Dec 22/04) – Israeli Ministry of Defense launches Digital Army Program valued at $200 million
- Globes Online (Dec 14/04) – Elbit Systems, Defense Ministry sign $200m digital army contract