Thursday, October 18, 2012

U.S.-Israel Joint Defense Drills

U.S.-Israel Defense Plans

The largest joint defense drill between the United States and Israel will take place next week, with 1,000 American soldiers arriving in Israel, joined by an equal number of Israeli forces; an additional 2,000 American military personnel will be participating remotely from Europe and the Mediterranean. In the largest defense exercise of its kind, an equal number of Israeli military will be participating in an exercise to test Israel's air-defense capabilities. Yaakov Lappin of The Jerusalem Post writes:
During the drill, named Austere Challenge 12, Israeli air defense systems, such as the Iron Dome anti-rocket shield and Arrow 2 anti-ballistic missile batteries, will be deployed, as well as US and Israeli Patriot batteries. American naval ships carrying the Aegis combat system, which can intercept missiles, will take part, and  at least one US Navy ship will dock at Haifa. 
The IDF and the US military's European Command will set up missile defense batteries across Israel. Most of the drill will involve computer simulations of incoming rockets, though in the last stage, a Patriot will be fired at a mock enemy projectile. "Anyone can take away any message they want from this," said the IDF's Brig-Gen. Nitzan Nuriel, who is heading the Israeli side of the exercise. "The fact that we are working together is a strong message by itself," he added. Nuriel defined a successful program as "the interception of all incoming missiles to reduce damage to Israeli infrastructure."
Air Force Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin, US Third Air Force Commander and the senior American commander in Israel for the exercise, said Washington will be spending 30 million dollars on the drill. Nuriel said Israel would be spending the same amount.
The focus of the drill is to practice working together against a range of threats that Israel can face. As Ynet news adds: "American forces have started arriving in Israel and others will participate from positions around Europe and the Mediterranean in what the military is calling Austere Challenge 2012, US Air Force Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin said via telephone from Germany. ' "It's about teamwork," Franklin said, noting the drill has been planned for more than two years. The exercise, he said, "is not related to national elections nor any perceived tensions in the Middle East." '

Perhaps so, but it is certain that Israel's enemies will be watching and taking note. And in this case, the message is clear.

You can read the rest of the article at [Jerusalem Post]

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