The Jerusalem Post’s well-informed military correspondent Yaakov Katz wrote in an article published early today that the IDF has an “unmanned version of the D9 bulldozer – called ‘Black Thunder‘ – [which] was developed several years ago by the Engineering Corps and … only recently declassified”.
These are large, very large machines, that apparently were lumbering around the densely-populated Gaza strip while being operated by remote control.
[See our earlier post, “What were 100 bulldozers going to do there?, here.]
This new “unmanned bulldozer” worked so well during the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead — the ground offensive started on 3 January, and continued until the cease-fire on 18 January — that, Katz wrote in the JPost today, “The IDF Ground Forces Command plans to double the number of unmanned D9 armored bulldozers in the Engineering Corps arsenal after the vehicle provided exceptional results during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip in January … ‘
Katz’s article in the Jerusalem Post continued: “The unmanned D9 performed remarkably during Operation Cast Lead, clearing roads of mines and explosive devices’, explained one officer in the Ground Forces Command. ‘There was even one vehicle that was damaged, which demonstrates how it did its job since no one was injured’. The Black Thunder looks like a regular D9 bulldozer but is equipped with a number of cameras that transmit images to the operator, who controls the vehicle with a wireless remote control. The unmanned D9 participated widely in Operation Cast Lead as well as in the Second Lebanon War in 2006. ‘The unmanned version is important since if there is a concern that an area is loaded with mines it can save lives’, the officer said, adding that in the event of a communications malfunction the vehicle can be turned into a manned vehicle and operated like a regular D9. The Engineering Corps receive[d] praise within the IDF for its participation in the operation in Gaza in January, with soldiers specializing in bomb disposal and detection leading regular infantry and armored forces on searches of Palestinian homes”… Yaakov Katz’s article in the JPost can be read in full here.
Last week, The Guardian published an article and three videos after their own investigation into the war in Gaza. In one of the videos, “Clancy Chassay asks why Israeli drones with optics capable of seeing the colour of a target’s clothes killed so many Palestinian civilians during the recent Gaza invasion”, which can be viewed here.