Israel, U.S. ready for largest ever bilateral air defense exercise - officials

Israel, U.S. ready for largest ever bilateral air defense exercise - officials

The United States and Israel are ready for their largest ever bilateral air defense exercise, aiming to improve the missile defense of Israel, senior U.S. and Israeli military officials said Wednesday, Xinhua reported.

More than 1,000 American troops will be deploying in the next few weeks alongside Israeli army counterparts at radar and air- defense sites scattered throughout Israel and offshore in a massive drill dubbed, "Austere Challenge 12," Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin, a regional defense commander for the U.S. European Command (EUCOM), told reporters via telephone from an air base in Germany.

During the conference call, both Franklin and Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Brig.-Gen. Nitzan Nuriel declined to give an exact date for the drill, the sixth of its kind, for security reasons.

The complex simulation, which Israeli media reported earlier would commence next week and last up to three weeks, is expected to test both nations' combined air-defense abilities to protect the Jewish state.

However, Franklin, who heads the American side of the equation, denied reports that the test was, in part at least, meant to be a combined show of force meant for either U.S. or Israeli upcoming elections, or to deter Iran from considering any possible attack on Israel.

"This exercise is purely about improving combined U.S.-Israeli military capability," Franklin said, adding that it "is not related to any national elections nor any perceived tensions in the Middle East."

In total, some 3,500 U.S. troops will take part in the drill, which will range from the European theater to U.S. naval craft along Israel's shore, and on land to Patriot 3, Arrow II, Iron Dome and David's Sling missile interceptors arrayed in batteries across Israel.

A U.S. Navy cruiser packing an Aegis naval ballistic missile defense system will serve as command and control for the event, Franklin said. The system is also networked via a series of radar sites, stretching from Israel's upper Galilee near Lebanon, down to its Negev desert.

"The scenario is going to be with threats from all the fronts," Nuriel said, noting that the test would include live fire, in addition to the computer ballistic rocket modeling, as well as hardware and software testing.

Referring to a Hezbollah-sent drone that overflew southern Israel last Saturday until Air Force jets shot it out of the sky, Nuriel said the combined forces had also planned to test reactions to such a flight.

"As part of the scenario, we are going to let the forces deal with this kind of threat, as well," Nuriel said. "We did not need the real event in order to plan against it -- it's part of the plan."

Originally scheduled for April, the joint war game was postponed at the request of Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who cited budget constraints at the time.

IDF spokesman Capt. Roni Kaplan told Xinhua last week that the exercises are part of a long-standing strategic Israeli-U.S. partnership and "are planned in advance and designed to improve the interoperability of our defense systems."

However, speculations were running high that the delay was a result of the deepening rift between Jerusalem and Washington on how to deal with Iran's nuclear program.

In 2010, Israel and EUCOM held a similar, albeit smaller, air defense drill, code-named Juniper Cobra 10, which involved a combined 2,800 troops and was hailed as a success by both sides.

Iran has means to restore oil extraction
Iran has means to restore oil extraction
Turkey's investments in natural gas supply reach $3B in 18 years
Turkey's investments in natural gas supply reach $3B in 18 years
EU would like new EPCA to enhance bilateral relations in Central Asia
EU would like new EPCA to enhance bilateral relations in Central Asia
Loading Bars
Azerbaijan sends interstate statement against Armenia to European Court of Human Rights
Georgia reports 780 coronavirus cases, 1 608 recoveries, 17 deaths
COVID-19 cases continue to drop in Turkey, TRNC braces for new lockdown
Azerbaijan approves COVID-19 vaccination strategy for 2021-2022
Delegation of Turkic Council, Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation and TURKSOY visit Aghdam (PHOTO)
Electricity supplies to Azerbaijan's liberated Shusha begin
Iran discloses number of contracts signed in industrial parks of Ardabil Province
Uzbekistan’s activity on Turkmenistan’s Commodity, Raw Materials Exchange for Dec. 2020
Guatemala cracks down on migrant caravan bound for United States
Iran has means to restore oil extraction
U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Kazakhstan launches ’30 Years Together’ campaign
Brazilian healthcare watchdog declines request for emergency use of Sputnik V vaccine
SOCAR bonds will again bring their owners $1.25 million
Turkey's investments in natural gas supply reach $3B in 18 years
EU would like new EPCA to enhance bilateral relations in Central Asia
Georgia to get first part of Covid vaccine in one month
AEOI issues statement in response to E3
Kazakhstan reports almost 1,000 new COVID-19 cases
U.S. state capitals, Washington on alert for possible pro-Trump armed protests
Argentina confirms first case of new variant of coronavirus
Frankfurt airport terminal shut down over man threatening police
Azerbaijani districts to be digitalized within Smart City project
G7 summit to take place in UK’s Cornwall in June
Volume of essential products available in Iranian ports revealed
France's COVID-19 death toll tops 70,000
Fires in central Chile consume over 3,200 hectares
2 IS militants killed, 6 arrested in Iraq
Iran's Bahar Azadi gold coin price continues to fall
Iranian Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on January 18
President Ilham Aliyev calls President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
WHO reports over 688,000 new daily cases of COVID-19
Tunisian PM appoints new ministers in sweeping cabinet reshuffle
Azerbaijani gymnasts awarded the title of "Honorary Master of Sports"
Thousands march in Vienna against coronavirus restrictions
Uzbekistan's Bukhara oil refinery starts production of RON-95 gasoline under QuWatt brand
Iran's SPGC reveals processing data of its first refinery
Kazakhstan, Greece boost trade turnover year-on-year
Building materials price hikes may increase cost of projects in Georgia
Serbia receives 1 mln Sinopharm vaccines from China
Iran's Rasht-Caspian railway to stimulate development of production
Over 110,000 health workers receive COVID-19 vaccine shots in Istanbul
7 killed in helicopter crash in southern Philippines
New footage from Azerbaijani Aghdam district's Shelli village issued (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Azerbaijan confirms 650 more COVID-19 recoveries
Buy/sell operations at Iran Mercantile Exchange soar
Georgian plans to vaccinate 60% of its population
Turkmenistan's MFA holds briefing dedicated to commissioning of infrastructure facilities (PHOTO)
Kazakhstan reports big increase in revenues from transporting cargo by air
Preliminary cost of building pharmaceutical cluster in Tashkent revealed
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for January 16
Member of Turkey's coronavirus board assures efficacy of CoronaVac
Azerbaijan shares footage from Mirzajamally village of Fuzuli district (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Summary of Operational Headquarters' amendments to quarantine regime in Azerbaijan
Azercell’s Mobile Eye and Mobile Dental Clinics provided free medical service to the hundreds of residents in 2020! (PHOTO)
Nepal approves emergency use of Covishield vaccine manufactured in India
COVID-19 infection rate falling in Azerbaijan - TABIB
Georgia reveals number of COVID-19 cases for Jan.16
Iran's trade turnover with Turkmenistan decreases
Japan interested in creation JVs in Uzbekistan in production and services spheres
Details of agricultural products exported to Iraq via Iran's Mehran customs announced
Turkmenistan's Main State Service opens tender for equipment purchase
Participation in funeral to be permitted via Azerbaijani Interior Ministry's Call Center
Toughened quarantine in Azerbaijan turned out to be effective - President's assistant
Vaccination of people aged over 65 to begin on Feb. 1 - Azerbaijani president's assistant
Storage facilities for COVID-19 vaccines being created in Azerbaijan's Shusha (UPDATE)
Nepal requests India for early provision of COVID-19 vaccines
S Jaishankar attends sixth meeting of India-Nepal Joint Commission
At 18 million, India has largest diaspora in the world: UN
Azerbaijan to purchase vaccines via Fund for Combating COVID-19
Baku subway, public transport not to work on weekends until quarantine ends
Azerbaijan reveals volume of imported Chinese Sinovac vaccine
Azerbaijan shares footage from liberated Hajikand village of Kalbajar (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Operational Headquarters of Azerbaijan talks international, domestic flights
Prime Minister Modi Launches pan India rollout of COVID-19 vaccination drive
GM to invest C$1 billion in Canada plant to manufacture electric vans
Azerbaijan to start vaccination from COVID-19 - Operational Headquarters
Barbershops and beauty salons in Azerbaijan to start working soon
Kazakhstan sees decrease in exports to EAEU countries
Review of transactions in national currency at Turkmen exchange for Dec. 2020
Total amount of transactions on Turkmen Commodity Exchange for Dec. 2020
Iran's companies can offer technical services in Azerbaijan's Karabakh
Azerbaijan to resume activity of shopping centers, museums, barbershops
Weekly review of Azerbaijani currency market
Uzbekistan reveals its COVID-19 data for January 16
Ban on entry-exit to some cities, regions of Azerbaijan remains in force
Azerbaijan makes wearing face masks mandatory both indoor, outdoor
Public catering facilities in Azerbaijan to resume activity soon
Aftershock rocks Indonesia quake zone as search continues
Kazakhstan's coal extracting venture to transformer substations via tender
Azerbaijan softens toughened quarantine regime
Turkmenistan, IBRD sign protocol of negotiations on COVID-19 response draft
Azerbaijan cancels SMS-permissions for leaving homes due to COVID-19
Iranian currency rates for January 16
Iran expects balance in foreign currency rates
Azerbaijan's import of grain from Russia's Stavropol for 2020 revealed
Mass inoculation of Russians against coronavirus to begin on January 18
Indonesia quake kills at least 42, injures hundreds
U.S. Health Secretary Azar condemns Capitol violence in resignation letter
UzAuto Motors doubles cars production volume in 2020
France's coronavirus death toll approaches 70,000
All news