The Israel Defense Forces and US Army concluded on Monday their three-week joint air defense exercise dubbed Juniper Cobra 10
The drill, which aimed at improving cooperation between the two armies while focusing on aerial defense, was declared satisfactory.
"From an operational stand point, the exercise and its learning procedure demonstrate another step up in the readiness of the forces," said Doron Gavish, commander of the Israel Air Force's Air Defense Division.
Preparations ahead of the exercise, which was held for the fifth time, lasted a year and a half, and integrated some 1,400 soldiers from four different US military divisions and hundreds of IDF soldiers and commanders.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said
Monday during his speech
at the 2009 General Assembly of The Jewish Federations of North America in Washington that he salutes the American soldiers. Netanyahu also thanked president Obama for his lasting support of Israel's defense.
The first stage of the exercise included field training, in which different units practiced cooperation during several scenarios throughout Israel.
The second stage focused on operational training of air defense systems, and the third stage, which was concluded recently, included a joint-team firing range of patriot missiles.
Barak and Gates in Washington (Photo: Defense Ministry)
The drill did not test defense systems that have yet to be declared operational, such as "Iron dome", but did simulate situations such as rocket fire from different types of missiles.
Commanders from both forces expressed satisfaction with the exercise's results, saying it allowed its participants to learn from each other's expertise and experience.
Brigadier-General Gavish said that the exercise combined the active defense system with world-leading weapons systems, calling the drill "successful."
Leading the US taskforce, Rear Admiral John M. Richardson said the exercise yielded great results, adding that important lessons were made.
Richardson thanked the people of Israel,
and especially the IDF, for their hospitality and cooperation.
Meanwhile in Washington, Defense Minister Ehud Barak met
on Monday with his American counterpart Robert Gates, and thanked him for the support and cooperation in advancing the multi-layered defense systems against rockets and long-range missile threats.