Large scale Israel-US air defense drill to be held later this year

IAF Website

Commander from the U.S. Air & Missile Defense Command discusses the upcoming ‘Austere Challenge’ training exercise, at a visit to a recent IDF (Zahal) Air Defense training day

Date: 01/04/2012, 6:39 PM     Author: IAF Website

At a recent formation-wide Air Defense training exercise, head of the 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command of the U.S. Army, Col. Stephen Richmond, spoke of the upcoming Austere Challenge exercise to be conducted later this year. The joint Israeli-American training exercise will include thousands of soldiers from both militaries.

“I’m looking forward to the Austere Challenge exercise”, said Col. Richmond, who arrived last week at the Aerial Defense Academy, where a general exercise day for all units in the formation was held. The drill included soldiers of all IDF (Zahal) air defense systems, the Arrow, the Patriot, Hawk, Stinger, and representatives from the Iron Dome batteries currently in operational use.

Commander of the Active Defense Wing, Col. Zvika Haimovich, accompanied Col. Richmond and briefed him on the various defense systems currently used in the IDF (Zahal).”The ability of the formation to bring together all the defense systems is amazing”, said Col. Richmond. “I’m very impressed with the capabilities presented here.”

Israeli-American aerial defense cooperation has lasted for over a decade with numerous joint exercises and operations. The “Juniper Cobra” exercises, which are conducted once every few years, include use of air defense batteries, intensive training and even missile launchings. This year, the exercise, planned as a part of the IAF’s training routine, will focus on the active defense mission.