US, Israel involve 6 air defense systems in unprecedented missile defense drill

Aegis, THAAD, Patriot, Arrow 3, David's Sling and Iron Dome all take part in computer-simulated Juniper Cobra drill; Source: Rocket arsenals, ranges, are growing.

By
February 25, 2016 21:46
2 minute read.

US-Israel missile defense drill

US-Israel missile defense drill

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

The US and Israel have for the first time involved six air defense systems in a single computer-simulated rocket and missile defense drill, security officials said Thursday.

During the ongoing Juniper Cobra 2016 exercise, which began two weeks ago in Israel, the US European Command (EUCOM) integrated the command and control systems of the Aegis Combat system, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, and Patriots, while Israel plugged in systems from its Arrow-3, David’s Sling, and Iron Dome defenses.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


These systems were linked to simulators, officials said, though the US did not deploy its ship-based interceptors, and there is no live-fire stage in the drill.

The drill is the first to include David’s Sling, “which will become operational this year,” and is “an inseparable part” of Israeli air defenses, an Israeli security source said.

He added that “we are very close” to making Arrow-3, which intercepts ballistic missiles in space, operational.

EUCOM sent 1,700 air, marine, navy and army personnel to Israel, while 1,500 Israel Air Force members took part in the exercise, which is being run out of joint control centers.

The US government has built permanent infrastructure for US personnel to work out of in Israel.



“This is the highest priority exercise for the EUCOM in 2016, an American defense official said.

The Israeli source added, “We are increasing our readiness for projectile threats. Arsenals are growing larger around us. It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking at Gaza or the northern arena. The projectile vector is the main effort the other side is preparing. They will try to challenge us. We are in a race. The enemy is learning, and we are, too.”

Rockets from Gaza can hit northern cities like Haifa, while Hezbollah’s rockets in Lebanon can strike the southern city of Beersheba, the source warned, meaning that borders are blurring when it comes to air defenses. Additionally, Hezbollah is receiving precision-guided rockets and has accurate drone capabilities.

Future scenarios will be “more complex than the Second Lebanon War and Operation Protective Edge. Even if we double the amount of air defense systems and interceptors, there will be no hermetic defense of Israel. Our job is to minimize the damage, and protect significant assets. We can’t intercept everything,” the source said.

In a real conflict, the Israeli government would have to make a request to the US president to mobilize US ship-based air defenses for Israel.

During a press conference held at Hatzor airbase near Ashdod, the US commander of the exercise, Lt.-Gen. Timothy M. Ray, said, “This is a combined ballistic mission exercise. We have improved interoperability by exercising missile defenses.”

Ray is commander, Third Air Force, and is also the Joint Task Force commander, meaning that he has direct command of all US military personnel in Israel.

Brig.-Gen. Zvika Haimovich, commander of the IAF’s Aerial Defense, said, “We will be better prepared after his drill, in the face of a changing reality.”

Related Content

July 19, 2018
Sweet fruit from the West Bank - to those who love Israel around the world

By HAGAY HACOHEN