November 23, 2011: Last year, Israel began expanding its battlefield intelligence collection and analysis capabilities. The new Combat Collection Corps is basically the 11 year old Field Intelligence Corps, beefed up with more personnel, equipment and training, and able collect more information on the battlefield, do it faster and analyze it more intensely. The impetus for all this was a review of field intelligence work over the last few years, which revealed that technology, and the experience of the Americans in Iraq, indicated that more could, and should, be done.
The new Israeli techniques use vehicles moving around on the battlefield, using sensors to soak up everything (cell phone, walkie talkie and whatever chatter) and combine it with radar and vidcam images of the battle area, and make it almost instantly available to commanders. This will soon include a tablet computer for platoon and company commanders to access instant updates. The Israelis also let aircraft overhead share this data as well, which makes friendly fire less likely, and air support more effective.
In support of this effort, the Israeli military is using its new Sufa (Storm) 3 all-terrain vehicles to move the sensors to where the fighting is. These are two ton jeep type vehicles. Actually, they are militarized versions of the Chrysler Jeep Wrangler (which is, ironically, also produced under license in Iran). Sufa 1 first appeared in 1990, with Sufa 2 showing up in 2005 and now Sufa 3. There are several versions (command, recon, armored) and the design has been optimized to deal with all the unique types of off road terrain encountered in Israel.
While smaller than the American Hummer, the Sufa is more suitable to Israeli needs (which largely consist of policing hostile Palestinians). The Sufa 3 is 4.5 meters (14.7 feet) long and 1.68 meters (5.5 feet) wide. In contrast the heavier Hmmwv (hummer) is 4.6 meters (15 feet) long and 2.1 meters (7.1 feet) wide. The electronic monitoring version is configured to not look like anything special, so that it does not become a prime target (as it should be) for the enemy. These versions of the Sufa 3 will often be armored (to at least protect against rifle and machine-gun bullets).