INTRODUCTION: Israel is one of the world's leading arms importers, but it also has a booming arms export trade.
INTRODUCTION: Israel is one of the world's leading arms importers, but it also has a booming arms export trade. It makes its own fighter jets, missiles and cannon. Mortar shells, bombs, machine guns and other weapons are also made in local factories. Among these is a 155 mm self-propelled gun. Computerised artillery is one of the latest innovations. there has also been an interesting development in classroom training in the artillery corps.
SYNOPSIS: Girl soldiers are nothing new in Israel, but petticoat power has recently taken on a more dominating role. Pretty girl soldiers are now starting to tell the men what to do -- or rather, how to do. The introduction of female instructors is designed to liberate more and more men for front-line units, by relieving them of instruction duties. It's happening in the infantry too. A few months ago an experiment began with women drilling male recruits in a training camp. And that includes teaching them how to shoot.
The big guns of this artillery unit, training in the desert in southern Israel, are strictly for the boys, though. You won't find any women here.
But computerised artillery plotting, with a special command unit acting as a kind of brain, is an increasing feature of the artillery corps. And that's where the girls come in. Because plotting is their business as instructors. The girl instructors say they think it must be difficult for men to have a woman tell them what to do. But the men say they rather like it.
If popularity is anything to go by, the experiment is clearly a success. One commander said recently he had planned to transfer one of his girl instructors. But the whole of her male platoon signed a petition asking for her to stay. Obviously it has all gone with a bang.