The Israeli Air Force (IAF) announced on December 11 that it had successfully used its new “Guided Supply” parachute guidance system during operations in Gaza. The operation, aimed at airdropping supplies, was reportedly codenamed “Gift from Heaven.”
The IAF stated that it recently carried out the war’s first airdrop to reach almost seven tons of water to hundreds of fighters engaged in combat in Khan Younis. Israeli media was quick to note that it was the first aerial delivery of supplies in battle in almost 17 years, with the last such operation taking place during the Second Lebanon War of 2006.
In a press release, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) announced that Guided Supply “is an advanced operational system that enables parachuting equipment to ground forces using precise navigational capabilities.” A video has since been published, although the IAF stopped short of giving more specific information about the new technology.
The video shows an image of the aircraft in the air at night. The video frame then shifts, and the camera pans to three cartons being unloaded via the back cargo ramp. Most attention, however, went to a purple light-emitting device on the top of the aircraft, which was understood to be responsible for autonomous guidance.
“During the last few days, a logistical supply was carried out that included dropping about 7 tons of logistical supply to hundreds of fighters of the commando formation who are currently fighting in the Khan Yunis sector,” the IDF announced in a statement.
The IAF just said, ”In a joint operation with the Technology and Logistics Division and the Airborne Supply Unit of the High Altitude Brigade, a supply was carried out using an Air Force ‘Samson’ type aircraft of Squadron 103.”
In the announcement, “Guided Provisions” was characterized as an advanced operating system that allows exact equipment parachute landings and technology that self-adjusts to ground forces so that the airdrop can land precisely where it wants to.
Gaza strip – Khan Younis , 103 squadron (C-130J Super Hercules) doing guided supply drop of supplies to the advancing troops. #FreeHamasfromGaza #FreeGazaFromHamas #FreePalestine #Gaza #GazaGenocide #HamasTerrorists #HamasisISIS #BringThemHomeNow #Israel pic.twitter.com/p4hDk4c3Dq
— Israel war report (@WKazingmei) December 11, 2023
“One of the operational capabilities unique to the 98th Division is the ability to be independent in situations where it is not possible to send supplies on the ground,” the IDF said about the division operating deep within the Gaza Strip.
Concluding the announcement, the IAF observed, ”All the departments practiced using the system together to achieve the accurate parachute delivery capability.”
Judging by the video, in which a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft is seen dropping supplies to the IDF troops, military analysts predicted that it could either be parachute kits equipped with GPS support and manufactured in the United States or a JPADS system supplied to Israel by the United States.
The US military started using the Joint Precision Airdrop System in 2001 to supply troops in forward-offensive positions in parts of Afghanistan that were too dangerous to access by road. Pallets were dropped by parachute and maneuvered with a rudder and GPS guidance.
In November this year, there were reports that Jordan airdropped aid to a hospital it funds in the besieged Gaza Strip, reportedly using the Joint Precision Airdrop System. King Abdullah II posted A photograph on Platform X, showing an aid pallet being loaded onto a Hercules plane. Military experts noticed a JPAD at the top of the pallet as the photo went viral.
At dawn, in X platform post that astonished the world, King Abdullah II, King of Jordan, announced the airdrop of medical and humanitarian aid and medicines to the Jordanian field hospital in #Gaza to enable it to continue its efforts to aid and rescue #Gaza pic.twitter.com/XVpbvYMS39
— Israeli Affairs Expert ايمن الحنيطي (@AymanHunaiti) November 6, 2023
Although little details are available about the device used by Israel, a Middle East-based military expert told EurAsian Times: “It is likely that Israel is using a JPAD-like system tailored by its ally United States for Tel Aviv’s use. However, it is also likely that Israel’s advanced defense manufacturers made a similar system locally, maybe with some assistance from Washington. It is hard to tell at this stage, but its operation looks very similar to the JPAD.”
The installation of this equipment by the IAF emphasizes the difficulties Israel has in providing its forces with supplies during an intense battle in hard-to-reach urban areas in the Gaza Strip. Military experts have been warning the IDF of the perils of a ground invasion inside the narrow enclave that is the Hamas’ stronghold.
The IDF has, nonetheless, continued to push deeper inside Gaza. Israeli tanks on December 11 advanced on Khan Younis, the southern city where hundreds of thousands of Gazans have taken refuge. The number of deaths from hand-to-hand fighting in the town has increased on both sides, according to Israel’s minister of defense.
Israel has now ordered them to relocate to al-Mawasi. Still, foreign humanitarian organizations disagree with the order since the location is a tiny strip of land with few structures and no infrastructure to provide basic human requirements.
United Nations Pleads For Ceasefire
The Israeli military claims to have taken control of Hamas’s previous headquarters in Gaza City, but on December 11, fighting between the two groups was still going on in Gaza’s southern region, and things were becoming worse for the civilian population.
Roughly 2 million men, women, and children, or 90% of the population of the Palestinian territories, have been displaced, according to United Nations humanitarian agencies. According to the UN World Food Program (WFP), half of the displaced Palestinians are starving, and almost everyone in the enclave is going without food for days at a time.
Days after the US rejected a UN Security Council resolution urging a humanitarian truce, the UN General Assembly will reconvene on December 12 to discuss the dire situation in Gaza.
A senior official warned that the US veto had left UN employees in Gaza feeling abandoned. Philippe Lazzarini, the head of UNRWA, told CNN that they “cannot understand” why a truce has not been reached after thousands of people have been murdered and displaced.
It took the UNSC over thirty days after the war broke out between Israel and Hamas terrorists to raise a united front. In mid-November, the Council called for humanitarian “pauses” in the fighting following four texts that had been rejected.
A “complete breakdown of public order” in the beleaguered Gaza Strip is imminent, according to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.