One of the challenging aspects of Israel Defense Forces’ Digital Army Program (DAP, also known as Zayad) is the network. The IDF evaluated ad-hoc networking to support high capacity mobile communications. At present conventional multi-tier broadband network is used for the program. To support the needs of combat elements from the division down to the lowest echelon, a network different from the typical divisional combat radio network is established. The new wide area wireless network covers the entire divisional area and links all elements down to the lowest echelon. The network should be able to bridge communications gaps over long distances, in situations where related elements are situated far ahead or behind the area of operation.
The DAP network combines several layers – WiMAX COTS based wireless broadband network (using Giga Ethernet switches and routers) will use microwave links to establish the backbone connecting between command posts and higher echelons. Tactical Very Small Aperture Terminal (T/VSAT) will provide backup for users, particularly in deep operations and where line of sight communication does not provide reliable links. Satellite will provide strategic broadband on demand. Data radios will provide up to 13 Mbps for deployed locations. Division and brigade command posts use wireless LAN networking to replace current physical line connectivity.
At the division and brigade levels, MAXESS enhanced wireless LANs could be used to support command posts, (Military Wireless LAN) providing secure 1-11 Mbps data rates ad-hoc over 5 km. Such networks will be capable of hosting up to 60 members with low (4 watt) power transmission. Same WLAN, but without the amplifier, will provide up to 500 m coverage, with low signature, supporting deployed or on-the-move connectivity between combat elements or command vehicles. High capacity data radios carry data down to the battalion level supporting up to 13 MBps data rates in stationary positions and up to 1 Mbps in mobile deployments.
At the battalion level and below, software-based Future Tactical Combat Radio (FTCR) currently developed by Tadiran Communications will be used to drive much higher data rates than currently available by CNR (64 up to 115Kbps). FTCRs will provide the standard tactical radio equipment at Brigade and below. Battalion commanders are to be equipped with data radios, providing the gateway between the WINBMS and brigade and divisional elements of DPA.