The US European Command and IDF joint military exercise dubbed ‘Austere Challenge 12′ concluded Tuesday according to a press release issued by the IDF. It was the largest exercise of its kind to be conducted between the two countries. 3,500 US personnel with more than 1,000 deployed to Israel took part. A similar number of IDF personnel participated.
The large-scale defense exercise kicked off in late-October and included both field training and command post simulations. On Monday photos were released of patriot missiles being fired as part of the exercise. It was the first time in two years the IDF had fired such missiles.
The IDF Air Defense Forces Commander, Brig. Gen. Shachar Shochat, said that “the success of the exercise, which drilled joint mechanisms and advanced technology, is a testament to the high level of cooperation between the two militaries”.
“Austere Challenge 12 was tremendously successful on several levels,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin, Third Air Force commander and commander of Joint Defense Forces-Israel during Austere Challenge 12. “We made great strides in improving our tactics and our command and control processes. Most importantly though, we reinforced our already strong US-IDF relationships. From our most senior commanders to most junior enlisted troops, we proved once again that there is clearly no substitute for training side by side with our Israeli partners.”
The press release issued by the IDF also stated: “The exercise was not in response to any current specific tensions in the region. Rather, [Austere Challenge 12] prepared forces for a variety of threats on multiple fronts for which Israel must prepare.”