The Israel Defense Forces is preparing to train all its infantry in tunnel warfare using simulators that present soldiers with different scenarios, including detecting the tunnels, advancing through them, the complex and dangerous fighting within them, the complete mapping of their route, and their controlled destruction.

The decision to develop this unique simulator was made in recent months by IDF ground forces as part of implementing the plan for training large infantry forces in different forms of underground warfare, following the lessons learned in Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip last summer. During the 50-day campaign, the IDF detected and destroyed 32 offensive tunnels leading to Israel dug by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The tunnels threat was one of the significant challenges for the IDF during the prolonged campaign, despite the fact that the Ministry of Defense was aware in advance of Hamas’s extensive tunneling activity. During the fighting, the IDF had only limited forces, the Special Operations Engineering Unit (Yahalom) and the Weapons Caches and Tunnels Unit, with training in underground warfare. Six months after the fighting in the south, Hamas is preoccupied with preparing for the next round of against Israel, and is digging new offensive tunnels. In the next campaign, the IDF plans to use soldiers with much better training in underground warfare gained in special training facilities being built at the training bases of infantry brigades, including Golani, Nahal, Paratroopers, and Givati. […]