from the February 2008 issue

IDF develops tiny bulldozer for combat inside cities

The Israel Defense Forces have developed a tiny bulldozer for combat operations inside Palestinian cities, a military publication reported.

The little machine is designed for rumbling down narrow roads and paths in the closer quarters of Palestinian cities, where old sections are warrens of crowded alleyways between rundown concrete block buildings. In previous operations, IDF forces have sent full-size bulldozers ahead of ground troops, causing considerable damage to buildings. The current edition of the soldiers' weekly Bamahaneh carries a picture of the new machine, called Lioness. It looks like a toy - a vehicle higher than it is wide or long, painted olive drab, with small wheels, and a black shovel attached to the front. It has room for one person behind heavily reinforced and protected windows.

The description of the innocuous-looking machine takes it far out of the toy category.

The main innovation, besides its small size, is a firing post for the driver, the article said. The driver can fire in all directions, staving off attacks and destroying targets, the article said. Ordinary bulldozers to not allow the driver to open fire. The little vehicle, running in front of the troops, can clear away obstacles like piles of garbage and improvised blockades of rocks and other materials, the article said. The article quoted Col. Amir Kochavi of the IDF ground forces engineering section, said the new bulldozer was developed because "there are different combat requirements to those we faced before, mostly because of the need to carry out engineering tasks in crowded, built-up areas."

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report February 2008

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