— by David Streeter
U.S. and Israeli forces will be conducting their largest joint military exercise in the coming weeks, according to The Jerusalem Post. The exercise — known as Austere Challenge 12 — will start on October 21 and focus on strengthening Israel’s air and missile defense capabilities. Notably, the exercise will include further testing of Israel’s Iron Dome missile interception system, a project which was championed and funded by the Obama administration.
The Jerusalem Post reported:
The US and Israel will commence the largest-ever joint air defense drill of its kind in Israel on October 21, an army source said on Tuesday….
[L]arge numbers of American soldiers are expected to begin arriving in Israel, where they will set up aerial defense positions on Israeli territory and on US Navy vessels off the Israeli coastline.
The three-week drill will simulate various missile defense scenarios, and is expected to end with a live-fire interception of a decoy incoming Patriot missile.
One of the objectives of the drill is to facilitate the rapid deployment of US missile defense systems to Israel and test their ability to operate in conjunction with Israeli defense systems during a conflict….
In 2009, the IDF and US European Command held the Juniper Cobra 10 air defense exercise, which involved 1,400 US soldiers and the same number of IDF soldiers.
The exercise was hailed as a success by Israeli and American military commanders.
The IDF Spokesman’s Office said of the U.S.-Israel military relationship, “the US and Israel hold regular joint exercises between the militaries” and that the upcoming drill represents “another milestone in the common strategic relations between the US and Israel.”