An American “Prophet” Takes on the Prophet Mohammed’s Fighters in Iraq
DEBKA file Exclusive Military Report
On November 19, Lt. Col. Steve Iwicki, director of the Actionable Intelligence Department of the Army G2, announced that the 3rd Infantry Division’s “units of action” due for shipment to Iraq will be equipped with the first unmanned vehicles of the Prophet collection system. He disclosed that in the next few years, 9,000 of these new military intelligence positions will be deployed with US forces world wide, 5,000 with brigade-sized units, 3,000 at the division level, and 1,000 with corps.
DEBKA file ’s military sources report that these new infantry units for beefing up election security in Iraq will arrive complete with 40 Prophet systems. Their deployment is the most important military development in the Iraq war since the high-mobility, eight-wheeled Strykers were introduced last January to take over urban combat in Iraq’s narrow streets from the heavy Abrams M1 tanks. Although many commanders had complained that the tanks were too slow and unwieldy to fight guerillas, they soon found the Stryker offered no substitute for the tanks’ protective armor and fire power; its flexibility did not make the Stryker less vulnerable than tanks to attack in street combat. The Stryker was finally relegated to the outer fringes of the towns where open spaces provide this vehicle with greater range than city streets.
The Abrams was restored as a theater system for the Najef campaign last August. It played a critical role in the capture of the Shiite shrine city and its purge of Sadrist rebel forces. The Abrams starred again in this month’s Fallujah offensive. But the Stryker brigade came into its own last week in the pursuit of Baathist rebel fugitives in Mosul’s Sunni districts which are situated amid broad sweeps of empty land.
The Prophet system is named for “The Prophets” Delta Company, 104th Military Intelligence Battalion, 4th Infantry Division. Nothing could represent a greater antithesis to the Prophet Mohammed and his Koran than the unit’s emblem of a star-spangled, white-bearded wizard grasping a magical cosmic ball with electronically charged hands. It will therefore be interesting to see the outcome of the first confrontation between American troops armed with their electronic Prophet and the Prophet Muhammad’s followers – a contest which will not be just military. The Americans will field the most advanced electronic intelligence and command wizardry ever devised, orchestrated from satellites and the military Internet and embodying lessons painfully learned in battling guerrillas and terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Israeli-Palestinian war. Facing them will be insurgent guerrillas and Islamic terrorists armed with rocket-propelled grenades, mortars, Kalashnikov AK-47 automatic rifles, car bombs and explosives.
Eleven months ago, the first Strykers in Iraq were greeted by some American commanders as the great hope for defeating the guerillas’ RPG. But in the six major offensives fought since then, US forces have still not vanquished the signature insurgent weapon.
It is now the American Prophet’s turn to enter the ring.
This symbolically-named tool may be fairly termed the most sophisticated piece of electronic intelligence gadgetry ever made available to ground commanders - from the division level down to brigade, battalion and platoon levels. It will serve them by collecting the graphic and other data present in a battle environment, point up the dangers lying in wait for US forces, expose and nail every enemy combat element, including hostile intelligence, and electronically attack their signals to prevent them from communicating critical data. The effect will be to silence enemy communications, as well as jamming its command, computer and electronical warfare systems.
A ground commander equipped with a Prophet will receive on his laptop a comprehensive picture of electronic emitters within a battle arena of any size up to 150km wide and 120 kilometers deep. He will have a full view of his own forces in relation to the enemy and be guided in mid-combat to openings that will give his troops the advantage.
In the course of battle, he will be able to pinpoint, collect and electronically attack emitters, however large or small, beyond the reach of conventional reconnaissance – whether small, hidden knots of Iraqi guerrillas using any kind of communications or signaling gear, including a mobile phone, gadgets for remote-control of explosive devices or bomb cars, or even an Iraqi guerilla command center operating deep inside Iran or Syria. US commanders often know where an enemy position across the Iraqi border is located. The Prophet extends their reach and arms them with the option of long-distance electronic attack.
The Prophet system is made up of three components:
• Prophet Ground.
• Prophet Air
• Prophet Control
Their missions are:
A. Electronic Mapping.
B. Electronic Attack.
C. Navigational Warfare
D. Precise locationing techniques to assist targeting.
E. Selected signals internal exploitation (either directly from the Ground or remotely from Air)
Prophet Ground is capable of functioning both from moving vehicles and fortified buildings.
Prophet Air is mounted on helicopters and drones taking part in combat.
Prophet Control is the heart of the system. Its two identical components orchestrate within a division its overall signal intelligence/early warning effort, task its Prophet Ground sensors, and organize the graphic displays for commanders. PC is fully integrated with artillery and counter-mortar battery radars and is capable of projecting the routes of forces on the move and canceling unnecessary deployments.
Prophet can not only facilitate the protection of Global Positioning Systems, but detect the intrusion of false GPS signals and attack opposing forces’ ability to use or misuse GPS.
DEBKA file ’s military experts conclude that US military planners have decided to deploy this highly-sophisticated weapon in Iraq at this time for three objectives:
1. To test it for the first time in real battle conditions.
2. To try and cut down on US troop losses.
3. To see if it can obviate the need for large reinforcements to Iraq on top of the 130,000 already deployed. The hope is that the Prophet’s brilliance in precisely locating the enemy and determining the fastest and shortest ways of destroying him will reduce the numbers of American forces Iraq needs for securing the country and stabilizing the regime.
However, since most newfangled weapons systems prove only too often to be a lot less effective than military brass and their designers imagine, US Stryker and Prophet-equipped forces may still face some uphill fighting in Iraq.