Yes you read it right. The Israeli Defense Forces have recently announced that they finished developing their first Smartphone which supports both 4G networks and the IDF closed network, which obviously means this Smartphone has encryption capabilities. Knowing the IDF from the inside, this is not the first device that resembles the IDF’s innovative attempt to integrate & unite different capabilities – into a one operational language.
The Smartphone will replace the old ‘Mountain-Rose” (direct translation – ‘Vered Harim,’ also note that the same name is used for the cellular network by LOTEM) a secured Mobile phone that officers have carried since 2004 in the field. In the past, Mountain Rose phones were reserved for high ranks or leaders in operational units. Its appearance in the IDF has greatly changed the organization perspective on communication in many operational units, and especially the SOF community. Mostly because it was easy, simple to use….and obviously lightweight.
According to the IDF, the Motorola Smartphone will have an extended battery life worth 400 minutes of talking, an 8 megapixel camera and the capability to use both civilian or military networks. All in all, a military tool in a modern Android shell. This announcement marks the end of a 100 million dollar contract between the IDF & Motorola which started in 2014. The Smartphone is expected to remain in service for 15 years.
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In my opinion, the new smart phone will be probably more than just that. Knowing the need and the challenges we normally faced in the past in the terms of communication in a compressed and crowded battle space (complexity which requires a great depth of immediate communication) it is fair to assume that the Smartphone will probably include several applications. It remains to be seen what they will be, but current necessities indicate that the Smartphone will likely use apps that are similar or not far removed from civilian apps such as Find My Friends, Skype or maybe even a Facebook-like network to allow better command and control over certain ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) assets. Either way, one thing is for sure – the future is appearing more lightweight and comfortable for the commo guys !