Urban Warfare Training Center – Simulating the Modern Battle-Field

After research conducted following operation ‘Defensive Shield’ (2002) and the Second Lebanon War (2006), the IDF Ground-Forces Command decided to build a training facility to answer the IDF’s needs for a modern urban warfare training.
After understanding that the combat field has made the transition from open territory to closed quarters and clearly bordered urban spaces, the Urban Warfare Training Center (UWTC) was constructed.

The Urban Warfare Center Simulates an Authentic, Modern Desert City, Gaza, Hamas, IDF, Israel

The Urban Warfare Center Simulates an Authentic, Modern Desert City

The UWTC is now fully operational and gives the Israeli soldier the tools they need before taking foot in the battle-fields of the 21st century.

The training center, considered to be one of the world’s most advanced army facilities, consists of over 600 individual structures, simulating an authentic, modern desert city. Among the structures, one can find buildings ranging from eight-story-high, fully-populated complexes to shabby shacks, schools, city-stores, public buildings and market places.

Panoramic night-view of the Urban Warfare Training Center, IDF, Hamas, Gaza

Panoramic night-view of the Urban Warfare Training Center

While training in the UWTC, special emphasis is placed on one of the biggest challenges presented by combat in large cities and community centers; the civilian population that lives within those urban centers and who are exploited by the terrorists as human shields. The center’s instructors seek to minimize any harm to civilians that may stray into the theater of combat. Unlike terrorists, IDF officers instruct their soldiers on how to maintain the Israel Defense Forces as one of the world’s most humane armies by actively avoiding unnecessary civilian casualties. For this reason, every soldier that arrives at the UWTC is given special training on how to distinguish terrorists from city residents, facilitating the focus on precision operations that engage the enemy and only the enemy.

Infiltrating a closed area in close-quarters training, IDF, Gaza, Hamas

Infiltrating a closed area in close-quarters training. Photo: Shay Wagner, IDF Spokesperson Unit

Besides the IDF, other nations and armed forces around the world have come face to face with the problems presented by urban warfare. The center was proven to be efficient and effective to the IDF, which subsequently opened the doors for other countries to send their troops for training in UWTC.

Covered by his fellow soldier, a soldier charges the target, IDF, Gaza, Hamas

Covered by his fellow soldier, a soldier charges the target

In spite of the masculine image that has been attributed to the UWTC, many of the soldiers who operate the center are, in fact, women.  Women have taken a critical role in maintaining the training facility as one of the world’s leading centers. Among the roles that are occupied by women in the training center, one can find positions such as Combat Hummer operators and shooting instructors.


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