A combination of precision-guided munitions and integrated command-and-control (C2) allowed the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to carry out airstrikes that were unprecedentedly close to ground forces during the recent Operation ‘Protective Edge’ against militants in the Gaza Strip.

Major A (full name withheld), a deputy commander of an Israeli Air Force (IAF) fighter squadron, said the improved weapons and C2 allowed large bombs to be dropped by jets in the vicinity of ground forces in Gaza, and for ‘friendly fire’ incidents to be avoided.

The IDF has integrated the different C2 systems used by its various branches into what it calls ‘Network IDF’, allowing the IAF to see the locations of ground units in real time. The IDF consequently allowed its fighter jets to carry out airstrikes 50% closer to ground forces than in previous conflicts. Such close air support missions were previously carried out by attack helicopters with less powerful weapons. […]