Cyber wars are fought in the Middle East on a daily basis and they are becoming more complex, more sophisticated and more focused.
This new type of war will change many things on the battlefield, including the way manned and unmanned aircraft are being used.
Part of the “trick” in such military cyber wars is to let the enemy think that nothing is happening.
In many cases of electronic warfare the enemy gets indications that something is wrong, but in cyber warfare the aim is to keep the operators of radar and other early warning sensors calm until the attack is over. The surprise is complete and swift.
While Israel is continuing to purchase and manufacture the most advanced weapon systems, experts in the new type of warfare are looking for the next hole in the shield.
This is a war between minds, between “wild” concepts that are based on much experience, and on the fact that the most advanced national facilities of every country rely on computers.
The firewalls are there, but the new warriors look for the smallest crack and, according to recent reports, they find them.
Can cyber attacks win a war? Can these attacks become a substitute for real weapon systems? Talking with the experts you get a somewhat contradictory picture. Some say this is the shape of wars to come, but others say this is only a complementary asset.
But one thing is obvious – the higher the importance of the target, the bigger the effort put into the cyber weapons.
The dilemma about cyber wars strongly resembles that concerning unmanned air systems (UAS). Should an airforce invest in more manned platforms or channel a limited budget to additional, more sophisticated UAS? The two dilemmas will be present for years to come because there is no general, not to mention a politician, who can, or actually wants to, make the decision.
But the dilemmas will be self-solved. UAS will continue to take over many tasks of manned aircraft at an increasing pace. The growing number of unmanned combat air vehicles programmes is enough to understand the trend.
The same thing is applicable to cyber war systems. These will become more complex and more sophisticated. Will they replace fighter jets, missiles and tanks?
Judging by the alleged use of cyber wars in the Middle East in recent years, the answer is yes. It will be a slow process, but it will happen as this is the ultimate war tool – destroying your enemy without any warning or him having any understanding of what hit him.
The “weapons” of this new type of war are being developed in secret facilities and by teams of geniuses that will probably never hold an assault rifle, but will win many wars.
In the Middle East, cyber wars are no longer something vague, they are part of everyday fighting, if press reports are to be believed.
In most cases we, the public, will never know.