Recently, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has lasted for three weeks has entered a new stage, and Israel has begun to launch continuous ground attacks in the Gaza region. Major General Hagari of the Israel Defense Forces told the media that the Israeli ground forces are “expanding the scope of their activities” and “taking vigorous actions… to achieve war goals.”
In a video released by the Israel Defense Forces, a group of Merkava tanks can be seen moving across Gaza’s flat, open sand, attacking distant buildings with their main guns. Hamas also confirmed that it was engaged in ground combat with the Israel Defense Forces.
However, as predicted in my previous column, Israel’s ground operations will not involve large-scale penetration and encirclement, but will continue to slowly encroach from the edge with very cautious actions. Obviously, Israel is very aware that Hamas’s army has established a very strong underground network inside Gaza. It will be a defense system full of death traps, just like the Japanese army prepared for the US Marines in the Battle of Iwo Jima. Those death potholes.
To directly attack such an area, Israel would likely pay heavy casualties, which is of course the outcome Hamas wants. Does Israel have a way to deal with this authentic meat grinder that has been operating for many years?
In fact, compared with the era of the Battle of Iwo Jima, technological advancements have allowed today’s military to use some new technological means to detect the underground world.
The first is thermal imaging technology, which has been widely used in tunnel detection. Although the tunnel itself does not emit infrared signals, ventilation equipment must be installed in large tunnels to prevent people inside from being suffocated. At present, Israel has cut off the power supply to Gaza. Such ventilation equipment can only rely on its own generators to maintain operation. These generators and the vents of underground passages will be an identifiable thermal imaging signal. During peacetime, Hamas can still cover thermal imaging signals through some buildings and temporary facilities. However, once war breaks out, Israel will continue to destroy those ground buildings, forcing the exposure of heat sources such as vents and power generation equipment.
Another common tunnel detection method is synthetic aperture radar. This type of radar has the ability to detect underground metal objects at a certain depth, and can even detect the depth and position of underground tunnels. In 2021, the U.S. Army announced a new technology that can generate three-dimensional images of underground bunkers by simply comparing the images generated by synthetic aperture radar twice through an algorithm. Platforms including satellites, dedicated ground surveillance aircraft and drones can be equipped with synthetic aperture radar.
There is also an advanced technology that has received high hopes in recent years, namely hyperspectral imaging reconnaissance. Hyperspectral detection equipment is an imaging method that can distinguish extremely subtle changes on the surface of objects. Different soil media, water flows and even air fluctuations can be imaged in front of hyperspectral imaging equipment. This method has been widely used in minerals and water resources. aviation wide area detection. In the military, this imaging technology can also be used to discover the opponent’s bunkers, mines and hidden military forces. In recent years, hyperspectral imaging cameras have been integrated into drones and satellites. Israel has also done considerable research in this area and is at the leading level in the industry in several research directions.
It is worth mentioning that an almost science-fiction technology was also used in this conflict, that is, muon imaging technology.
As early as 1936, humans discovered the existence of a type of ray called muons in the universe, which can penetrate various materials, including hard granite and marble. In recent years, with the advancement of particle mechanics, humans have discovered that the penetration properties of muons can be used to image the interior of objects. The principle is the same as X-ray photography. Nowadays, muon photography technology is widely used in engineering, geological observation and archaeological activities, such as detecting the direction of magma inside volcanoes or observing the internal structure of pyramids. Even after the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident, muon cameras were also used Find out what’s going on inside the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.
However, muon imaging technology has rarely been used for military purposes in the past. The main reason is that this technology requires sensors to be deployed in at least two directions of the detected object, otherwise imaging cannot be performed. Military facilities are often underground, and aerial reconnaissance alone cannot meet imaging conditions.
However, the tunnels in the Gaza Strip have the conditions for using muon imaging technology, because it is a small area, and Israel almost surrounds the Gaza area from three sides, meeting the conditions for deploying muon photography equipment in multiple directions. Due to this The technology has been widely used in other fields and can basically be used.
The more battlefield technical reconnaissance means, the better. In addition to obtaining means, the ability to comprehensively analyze and utilize reconnaissance results is also crucial. With the advancement of human science and technology, although underground bunkers have a certain degree of concealment, they are no longer impenetrable. With all technical means overwhelming them, tunnel combat alone may not be able to withstand the opponent’s attack.