6/25/2012 - Israel, U.S. Planning Largest-Ever Military Drill
Israel and the United States are set to hold their largest-evermissile defense drill in October, local media said on Monday.
About3,000 soldiers are expected to take part in the drill and they will practiceresponses to a simulated mass barrage of hundreds of missiles fired at Israelsimultaneously from Iran and Syria, the Ma'ariv daily reported.
Israelwill deploy its upgraded Arrow 2 missile defense system, while the U.S. do itsAegis Ballistic Missile Defense and PAC-3 Patriot air defense systems duringthe drill, according to the report.
The IsraelDefense Force spokesman refused to comment on details of the drill and would notsay if the exercise was " Austere Challenge 12 (AC12)," which Israelpostponed in January, citing budgetary limitations at the time.
In AC12,the Israel Air Force had planned to test its gamut of counter-missile androcket systems, including Iron Dome, Arrow, Magic Wand and the U.S. - madePatriot. The U.S. was to bring along THAAD, a system for interceptinghigh-altitude missiles, as well as other hi-tech weapon platforms.
IsraeliDefense Minister Ehud Barak said in January that he had asked U.S. DefenseSecretary Leon Panetta to put off the joint defense exercise, citing budgetrestrictions.
"Thiswas not a last-minute announcement," Barak told Army Radio.
However,Israeli ambassador to the United States said the postponement "stemmedsolely from technical issues."
EmilyLandau, a senior analyst at the Institute for National Security Studies, toldXinhua that whatever the true rationale is, "it's important that positionsare seen as being coordinated between both militaries."