Israel is moving forward with plans to hold the largest-ever missile defense
exercise in its history this spring amid Iranian efforts to obtain nuclear
Last week, Lt.-Gen. Frank Gorenc, commander of the US’s Third
Air Force based in Germany, visited Israel to finalize plans for the upcoming
drill, expected to see the deployment of several thousand American soldiers in
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The drill, which is unprecedented in its size, will include the
establishment of US command posts in Israel and IDF command posts at EUCOM
headquarters in Germany – with the ultimate goal of establishing joint task
forces in the event of a large-scale conflict in the Middle East.
will also bring its THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) and shipbased
Aegis ballistic missile defense systems to Israel to simulate the interception
of missile salvos against Israel.
The American systems will work in
conjunction with Israel’s missile defense systems – the Arrow, Patriot and Iron
Gorenc came to Israel for talks with Brig.-Gen. Doron Gavish,
commander of the Air Force’s Air Defense Division.
He toured one of the
Iron Dome batteries in the South and the Israel Test Bed lab in Holon where the
IAF holds its interception simulation exercises.
The IAF is planning to
deploy a fourth battery of the Iron Dome counter-rocket system in the coming
months and is mulling the possibility of stationing it in Haifa to protect oil
refineries located there.
The Defense Ministry has allocated a budget to
manufacture an additional three Iron Dome batteries by the end of 2012. IAF
operational requirements call for the deployment of about a dozen batteries
along Israel’s northern and southern borders.
The IAF is also moving
forward with plans to deploy Rafael’s David’s Sling missile defense system,
which is designed to defend against medium-range rockets and cruise missiles.
Rafael recently completed a series of successful navigation and flight tests of
the David’s Sling’s interceptor and plans to hold the first interception test by