Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Israel-U.S. Missile Exercise Confirmed

by David Bedein

JERUSALEM - The Middle East Newsline has confirmed Israel and the United States have been conducting a multi-phased missile defense exercise meant to defend against an Iranian attack.

The two countries have been engaged in Juniper Cobra-2010 in several areas of Israel.

“Juniper Cobra”, organized by the Israel Air Force and U.S. European Command, marked the biggest edition of the biannual exercise and sought to counter Iran’s new Sejil-2 solid-fuel ballistic missile. The exercise began on Oct. 21 and is scheduled to end on Thursday.

“Each exercise varies in focus and scope, and this year we are concentrating on combined air defense,” U.S. Navy 6th Fleet chief of staff Capt. Mike Martin said.

The exercise, the fifth edition since 2001, has been divided into three phases. Officials said the first phase was the deployment of more than 1,000 U.S. military personnel, including 17 naval vessels, around Israel.

The second phase would consist of a simulation of ballistic missile attacks meant to reflect Iran’s capabilities. Officials said this phase would link such missile-defense systems as Israel’s Arrow-2, PAC-2 and the U.S. PAC-3, sea-based Aegis and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense.

“The simulation would test against a salvo of advanced Iranian missiles,” an official said.

The third phase of Juniper Cobra would feature a live-fire missile defense test. Officials said Israel and the United States would oversee the fire of PAC-3.

“JC-10 is the fifth iteration of this exercise with this year’s focus on testing the active missile-defense capabilities of both U.S. and Israeli armed forces,” the U.S. Navy said Tuesday.

The U.S. Navy has deployed the USS Higgins to transport sailors and soldiers to the Israeli port of Haifa. The exercise was also the first in which the U.S. military’s AN/TPY-2 X-band radar was deployed in Israel.

“We will advance both the art and science of ballistic missile defense between our two forces, and in the end, I am confident we will have a safe and successful Juniper Cobra exercise,” Rear Sixth Fleet deputy chief Adm. John Richardson, also the commander of JC-10’s joint task force, said.

View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

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