File photo. Patriot missile
Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit
Massive joint IAF-USEUCOM exercise to begin March
Israel Air Force aerial defense personnel, some 2,500 American forces from United States European Command to commence 2-week Juniper Cobra 2018 exercise March 4; exercise to simulate various aerial defense scenarios, including heavy rocket barrage on Israel.
More than 2,500 American soldiers and officers from United States European Command (USEUCOM) have recently arrived to Israel to participate in Juniper Cobra, a joint exercise with the Israel Air Force to commence March 4 in southern Israel and last for two weeks.
After the exercise concludes, further joint operations will continue until the end of March.
As part of the preparations for the drill—which will also include some 2,000 soldiers from Israel's aerial defense array—heavy military vehicle traffic could be spotted on Israel's roads lately, carrying air defense batteries such as American-made Patriot launchers and radar systems.
The exercise will help military forces from both countries to prepare for a multitude of aerial defense scenarios, from dealing with enemy planes and drones, through heavy rocket barrages from several fronts and ending with precision-targeted missiles being fired at Israel.
Several live interceptions will take place as part of the drill, but most of the scenarios will be played out through computer simulations. The exercise simulates a scenario in which US forces would deploy to Israel in order to aid the IDF's aerial defense forces. Together they will carry out simulations of a variety of rocket threat scenarios in different regions.
Simulations include the use of the Arrow, Iron Dome, Patriot, and David's Sling systems. The David's Sling System was declared operational in April 2017.
Commander of the Aerial Defense Array, Brig.-Gen. Zvika Haimovich, said, "The 'Juniper Cobra 2018' exercise will serve as an opportunity for the IDF, and the IAF in particular, to enhance operational capabilities in the face of high-trajectory threats.
"The exercise demonstrates the strategic and fundamental cooperation between the IDF and the US Armed Forces. In the coming weeks we will train together to face complex and challenging scenarios, which are relevant to the dynamic range of threats that we must be prepared to face."
US Air Force Third Air Force Commander Lt.-Gen. Richard M. Clark said, "The United States and Israel enjoy a strong and enduring military to military partnership built on a trust that has been developed over decades of cooperation.
"The Juniper Cobra exercises continue to strengthen this relationship, providing us with the opportunity to bolster interoperability and develop seamless integration with our Israeli partners."
2016's Juniper Cobra exercise (צילום: דו"צ)
The IDF said that the purposes of the exercise are to strengthen cooperation and coordination between the two militaries, to promote bilateral learning and enhance aerial defense capabilities.
The Juniper Cobra exercise was first held in Israel in 2001, and will be held for the ninth time this year. It will be the largest IDF and USEUCOM joint exercise taking place this year.