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3 years ago

Israeli Military Uses Virtual Reality Tech For Tunnel Combat Operations Training

Seeker Land
Seeker Land
With virtual reality, Israeli soldiers train in simulated terror tunnels -
IDF using computer technology to teach troops to navigate Hamas and Hezbollah underground passages. An Israeli soldier carefully eyes the narrow, damp tunnel carved from surrounding rock through a tightly strapped black headset. He is not in one of the attack tunnels built by Lebanon-based terror group Hezbollah under the border with Israel, but one of a new generation of soldiers using virtual and augmented reality to train.

In a small computer-lined room, T., a 20-year-old member of Yahalom, or Diamond — the special operations unit of the army’s combat engineering corps — simulates an advance along the narrow passage.

His head sweeps from side to side and up and down, while his hands probe walls invisible to the onlooker.

“We see everything, even falling drops of water,” says the soldier, who cannot be named for security reasons.

“I really feel like I’m there,” he tells AFP. “I feel the humidity, the sense of being stifled.”

The headset displays every detail of the virtual tunnel — a reconstruction of one of several subterranean infiltrations uncovered by the army — allowing instructors to guide T. in real time.

In December, the Israeli army launched an anti-tunnel operation on the Lebanese border dubbed “Northern Shield.” Israel said it had found six tunnels, while UN officials confirmed three reached into the Jewish state’s territory. Hezbollah planned to use them to abduct or kill Israeli soldiers or civilians, and to seize territory in the event of hostilities, according to the military. They ran for dozens of meters and some reached a depth of 55 meters (180 feet).

In recent days, fresh tensions have erupted between Hezbollah and Israel; the Iran-aligned Shiite movement blamed the Jewish state for a drone attack on its Beirut stronghold. Israel has not commented. Hezbollah chief Hasan Nasrallah called it the first such “hostile action” since a 2006 war between his movement and the Jewish state. He threatened retaliation.

The Israeli army is also on the lookout for tunnels dug into the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. They are used by terrorists and, on the Egyptian border, smugglers trying to circumvent a blockade on the Palestinian enclave. The Israeli army says it has destroyed several tunnels that ran into its territory and were designed as attack launchpads. The Egyptian army has vigorously hunted for and blocked smuggling tunnels from its side of the frontier.

Music: Snooper (103 bpm) by Dhruva Aliman
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