Wednesday, Oct 21st, 2009
Israel and the United States plan to begin their largest-ever joint war exercise on Wednesday to simulate possible missile attacks on Israel.
The Juniper Cobra air defense drill will involve some 1,000 troops from the US European Command and the same number of Israeli soldiers, the Israeli army said in a Tuesday statement.
The 16-day war game, which was originally scheduled to start last week, will also test the Israeli Arrow (Hetz) missile defense system together with three US systems, including the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), the ship-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, as well as Patriot and Hawk anti-aircraft systems.
The US has also dispatched 17 warships, including those planned to fire dummy projectiles to test defenses, and radar ships that will play an integral part in the exercise.
The US-made Forward Based X-band Tactical radar, capable of detecting long-range missiles, has been erected in the Negev and will work along with the Arrow missile system, while also transmitting data to a US joint tactical ground station.
The Israeli army claims the fifth biennial Juniper Cobra drill is not in response to any world events, but is ‘part of a routine training cycle designed to improve the interoperability of both air defense systems’.
The drills will simulate the firing of long-range missiles against Israel, and towards the end will include a ‘live missile interception’, the Yediot Aharonot daily reported.
The air drill is based on expectations that the United States will provide Israel with missile defense systems that will operate alongside Israel’s Arrow 2 system in the event of a war, the paper added.
This article was posted: Wednesday, October 21, 2009 at 3:44 am