Unique IDF Simulator Trains Forces for War in Lebanon

Military engineers modify video game to create real-life simulation of battles against Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Unique IDF simulator (Archive: ra2studio/iStock)

An innovative IDF simulator enables forces to imitate realistic battle scenarios in Lebanon with amazing accuracy. Military engineers teamed up with an Israeli high-tech company to modify a video game, ARMA 3, and tailor it to the army’s needs.

The virtual space created by the IDF includes over 14,000 people, weapons and vehicles, Makor Rishon weekly reported. Computerized enemy fighters can be programmed to attack IDF forces with a variety of weapons, including anti-tank missiles and bombs, the report said.

The simulator integrates numerous elements to produce scenarios that closely resemble reality. The soldiers’ level of fatigue, heavy equipment they carry, and weather conditions are all factored in. The simulation also takes into account seasonal changes and the time of the day, enabling users to train for daytime or nighttime combat.

The army upgraded the system with the help of Sindiana Technologies, a company specializing in state-of-the-art simulation software.

Reenacting the Lebanon War

The IDF invests great efforts to create a physical environment that is identical to the actual Lebanese landscape. The army’s secretive visual intelligence department, Unit 9900, was tasked with collecting huge amounts of information that is plugged into the simulator.

Unit 9900 uses its advanced capabilities, including spy satellites and other surveillance gear, to map sites in Lebanon. “Quite a few soldiers work day and night to produce the mapping foundation for an up-to-date snapshot,” a senior officer told Makor Rishon. Researchers also utilize hidden universes of data openly available online, he said.

Another unique feature allows the simulator to reenact clashes from previous wars with great precision. IDF troops can experience the 2006 Lebanon War from the perspective of soldiers who fought there, hear the original radio communications and watch the battles unfold.

So far, only senior officers were given access to the simulator, the report said. However, the IDF wants every combat soldier to use the advanced system to train for a future war in Lebanon or Syria.

Meanwhile, IDF combat units are already upgrading their skills in a new training zone on the northern border. The facility, which was unveiled last year, also replicates the physical environment soldiers will face in Lebanon.