Air force control center undergoes nuclear upgrade
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Air force control center undergoes nuclear upgrade

The ‘pit’ in Tel Aviv’s Kirya headquarters will be protected from non-conventional attack, with US funding

Lazar Berman is a former breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C), Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (R), and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz seen during a meeting in the situation room of the Israeli Air Force on Thursday, July 10, 2014, the third day of Operation Protective Edge. (photo credit: Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C), Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (R), and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz seen during a meeting in the situation room of the Israeli Air Force on Thursday, July 10, 2014, the third day of Operation Protective Edge. (photo credit: Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry/Flash90)

The Air Force’s operational command bunker in Tel Aviv — commonly known as “the pit” — is nearing the end of a multi-million dollar upgrade, funded by the United States.

The pit, at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv, will be protected from nuclear and biological attack, Ynet reported.

The project began more than three years ago, and is scheduled to be completed in the coming months.

The new pit is being constructed over the current one, with dozens of underground command and control centers. The communication and coordination between the various branches of the air force, including intelligence, pilots, and headquarters, are expected to improve significantly as a result of the new state-of-the-art command center.

In addition, the main command center, known as “the greenhouse,” will also be upgraded. Senior defense officials, including the prime minister, are hosted in the greenhouse during wars and certain operations.

The command centers are in use around the clock during the construction, a factor which has slowed down the project.

The Pentagon is funding the renovation, and is involved in rendering the pit in line with American control centers.

“The infrastructure in the pit is not ideal for managing major operations or wars,” an air force source told Ynet. “Some of the floors are in poor condition and some of the electrical systems are temporary. In the new pit it will be possible to manage a multi-theater war with the air force’s full power, in tandem and in less time for everything having to do with the use of force. It will become one of the air force’s operational control centers, among the most advanced in the world.”

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