The Next Step in Israeli-American Exercise: Patriot Launchings

The launchings take place after a week of simulations of dealing with missile barrage attacks The Next Step in Israeli-American Exercise: Patriot Launchings

The Experimental Missile Unit launched missiles toward simulated enemy targets

Photography: Arik Hermoni, Ministry of Defense

The Next Step in Israeli-American Exercise: Patriot Launchings

Minister of Defense Barak: “An expression of the deep-rooted cooperation between us and the Americans”

Photography: Arik Hermoni, Ministry of Defense

Simulated attacks on Israel, Patriot launchings and cooperation of all operational aerial defense fronts: The Israeli-American AC exercise reaches its peak

Shir Aharon Bram

This week, the most advanced combat lab in the world for active defense began the operational stage of its exercise–interception. U.S and Israeli forces, which are practicing defense from a general attack, will simulate a variety of scenarios of missile attacks on Israel and launch PAC-2 16 Patriot missiles, the type Israel uses. The “Patriot” system is an advanced system whose purpose is to intercept enemy planes and ground-to-air missiles. “This is first and foremost an expression of the deep-rooted cooperation between us and the Americans, and the adaption of the systems toward possible future examinations”, said Minister of Defense Ehud Barak, “Additionally, it is proof that the older, veteran systems still work well and produce results”.

In a rare opportunity, Patriot fighters of the Aerial Defense Formation will be able to practice actual launchings of the missiles. This is also the first time they will be practicing interceptions on the new version of the Patriot system, which had begun to be operated a short while before the AC exercise. Alongside said IAF fighters, an entire American Patriot division that has arrived in Israel for the joint exercise will practice as well. This division uses the PAC-3 advanced version of the Patriot missile.

All Operational Systems Practice Together

Missile launchings are conducted after the simulation week, in which the Aerial Defense Formation and U.S forces simulated a scenario contesting with barrages of missiles. In an advanced simulation, all the operational missile interception systems were grouped together: Israeli and American Patriot batteries, the “Arrow” system, Iron Dome and AEGIS ships. In addition, an American Patriot battalion back in the U.S participated in the simulation from afar and even practiced alongside the Israeli forces.

In the operations room that was constructed in the American forces’ area, a large map of the Middle East is being screened to the participants, with small lines running across and up and down it. Every line represents a launching of a missile toward Israel. “From here you can see everything we’re planning on launching”, explains Major Tamir Tzimber, an Aerial Defense officer responsible for planning the scenarios. “The forces practicing can only see what is falling, and don’t know what will happen afterwards. A judgment cell examines the performance of the systems and the interception statistics, and at the end of every day everyone gathers and we have a joint debrief to understand our conclusions”.