Despite the objection of a number of senior military commanders to women performing combat service in tanks، the IDF is preparing to launch a pilot program in which the job will be opened to a limited number of women who will serve in all-female tank crews، as Israel Hayom said. The IDF is also examining ways to integrate women into the ranks of combat engineering equipment operators; as combat soldiers with the Israeli Air Force's elite 669 combat search and rescue unit، into more combat roles in the Artillery Corps، and into service on board the Israeli Navy's new defense ships. Military personnel officials، medical professionals and combat officers consult for and participate in the army's work to more fully integrate women. Meanwhile، a senior IDF commander claimed on Thursday that this past year had seen women dropping out of the mixed-gender Caracal infantry battalion in their third year of service at a high rate. According to the officer، the drop-out stems from the fact that women who volunteer for combat roles are asked to sign on for longer compulsory service so that the length of their enlisted time will be the same as the men's. According to the officer، when the female combat soldiers see their noncombat friends complete their military service، many decide to stop serving in combat. In response to a question from Israel Hayom، the IDF's Personnel Directorate recently held a meeting to examine the issue of women supposedly dropping out of combat service. A Personnel Directorate official said that the army's numbers were not in line with the officer's remarks on Thursday about a "major drop out،" and that in the light infantry brigades، such as Caracal، the drop-out rate for women stood at only 5%.