As the Israeli army concentrates its forces in preparation for a full-scale invasion of Gaza, its troops prepare to confront a maze of narrow streets, vast networks of tunnels, booby traps and sniper positions.
In this urban environment, the D9R armored bulldozer, affectionately nicknamed Doobi or ‘Teddy Bear’, will be critical to a successful assault.
A ground operation in the dense residential districts of the Palestinian enclave will require specialized equipment to clear the way for the 300 tanks and 173,000 troops massing on the border.
If fighting breaks out, the Israeli-modified Caterpillar bulldozer will be used to detonate mines and improvised explosive devices and demolish obstacles along the way.
With 15 tons of additional armor and a reinforced blade, the D9R is almost impervious to firearms or explosives and will play a key role in allowing infantry to advance safely.
The D9R armored bulldozer, affectionately nicknamed Doobi or ‘Teddy Bear’, will be critical to a successful assault
In an urban warfare scenario, the D9R would be used to clear mines and explosives from the path of advancing ground troops and tanks.
What is D9R?
Nicknamed Doobi or ‘Teddy Bear’, the D9R is the latest generation of D9 armored dozers that were first deployed by the Israel Defense Forces in the 1950s.
It measures 26.2 feet long x 13 feet high x 14.7 feet wide (8 m long x 4 m high x 4.5 m wide) and weighs 62 tons.
The vehicle is equipped with a large front blade and a rear ripper attachment to clear obstacles and detonate explosives.
In the armored cabin there is space for a crew of two, who are protected by bulletproof glass against sniper and machine gun fire.
The D9R can also be equipped with a mounted machine gun, grenade launcher, or smoke projector.
More than 100 were deployed in the 2014 Operation Cast Lead raid, a 22-day assault on Gaza by Israeli military forces.
In 2018, the Israeli military revealed the D9R Panda, a remotely operated version of the vehicle.
The D9R gets its nickname “the teddy bear” from military slang for any type of bulldozer.
It can accommodate a crew of two soldiers in its armored cabin (a driver and a commander), where bulletproof glass offers them protection from sniper and machine gun fire.
In 2015, the D9R was upgraded with ‘slat armor’ to offer the vehicle more protection against rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) widely used by Hamas in previous conflicts.
Slat armor, also known as cage or bar armor, works by allowing the sensitive tip of the rocket’s detonator to pass through before deforming the explosive body so that it does not detonate or is less effective.
At 26.2 feet long x 13 feet high x 14.7 feet wide (8 m long x 4 m high x 4.5 m wide) and weighing 62 tons, the D9R is a massive piece of equipment. of military equipment capable of crossing any obstacle in its path.
The D9R dozer is powered by a Cat 3408C engine capable of producing 405 horsepower and pulling over 70 tons.
This not only helps the excavator overcome obstacles, but also enables various infrastructure support functions, such as digging trenches and building bridges or defensive structures.
The Teddy Bear can also be equipped with a mounted machine gun installation, grenade launcher, or smoke projector for additional combat capability.
In 2018, the Israeli military also began fielding and operating the D9R Panda, a remotely operated version of the bulldozer for more hostile environments.
The cost of a D9R is unclear, as the Israeli military purchases the vehicles directly from Caterpillar and then equips them with its specialized armor.
However, the cost of a new Cat D9 dozer is at least $900,000 (£739,624) even before any additional upgrades have been made.
In response to the massacre of 1,300 Israelis at the hands of Hamas terrorists, the Israeli army has already bombed the 45-kilometer (25-mile) Gaza Strip with more than 6,000 bombs containing a total of 4,000 tons.
Palestinian authorities say 1,400 people have been killed so far by Israeli bombing, and today Israeli authorities ordered the evacuation of northern Gaza in preparation for an attack.
With his reinforced blade and lamellar armor, the teddy bear is almost completely immune to bullets and explosives.
The specialized slat armor was added in 2015 as a specific response to the rocket-propelled grenades frequently used by Hamas.
The Israeli military announced that it has deployed the D9R Panda, a remotely operated version of the armored bulldozer for even more hostile environments.
Israel is harnessing its enormous military power, including thousands of tanks, fighter jets and troops, in a large-scale ground invasion of the enclave in response to a series of terrorist attacks that killed 1,300 Israelis.
While Hamas is believed to only possess about 10,000 rockets and cannot match the size or technological capabilities of the Israeli army, the group’s fighters are still expected to put up bloody resistance.
Before reaching Hamas’ defensive strongholds, Israeli forces will have to breach a series of defensive lines including mines, mortar targets, anti-tank weaponry and potentially suicide bombers.
Since 2007, Hamas is believed to have built up to 1,370 tunnels beneath the enclave, forming a network hundreds of kilometers long dubbed “the Gaza Metro.”
As part of 2008’s Operation Cast Lead, a large-scale raid into Gaza, the Israeli military deployed 109 D9Rs which played a key role in demolishing buildings such as bunkers and tunnels.
During the most recent conflict in 2014, at least 66 Israeli soldiers and six civilians were killed in fighting, while in Palestine, the UN reported that 2,133 people were killed, of whom 1,489 were civilians.
Given current plans for a new assault on Gaza, the fighting this time will undoubtedly be bloody on both sides, and advanced technology like the D9R will play a vital role for Israeli forces.