TEL AVIV – Israeli soldiers from an elite special forces unit last week took part in a unique IDF drill using state-of-the-art special effects – including hyper-realistic body parts, ammunition smells, screams, and choking smoke – simulating the most detailed mass casualty scenario to date.
Props for the bloody scene were manufactured by Xtreme Simulations, a small startup that develops props and training exercises for security and medical purposes.
“This is the closest thing to real scenarios fighters will encounter in the field,” Lt. Col. (res) Jonathan Bahat, the company’s COO, told Israeli news site nrg. “After an exercise such as this, the preparedness of combat fighters to handle these types of scenarios – which we all hope will not happen – will be far better.”
IDF medics were exposed to a range of different “wounds” using technologically-equipped dummies and theater make-up.
According to Bahat, beyond administering first aid, treating the wounded and making real-time battlefield decisions, the simulations train soldiers in how to deal with the mental and emotional aspect of casualty sites.
One aspect the simulations are still lacking in, however, is the “real sense of fear on the battlefield – something that is almost impossible to convey, even using such advanced simulations,” Bahat said.
“With each simulation, using all the props and the deliberate confusion aimed at disorienting the soldier as much as possible, at the end of the day they are still aware that it is an exercise and fear is simply left out of the picture,” he said.