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March 4, 2019 12:14 pm

US Deploys Advanced Anti-Ballistic Missile System in Israel as Part of Joint Exercise With IDF

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched from the Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska during Flight Test THAAD (FTT)-18 in Kodiak, Alaska, July 11, 2017. Photo: Leah Garton / Missile Defense Agency / Handout via Reuters.

The US Army deployed a new missile defense system in Israel as part of a joint exercise with the IDF, it was reported on Monday.

According to Hebrew news site Walla, the US Army’s European command (EUCOM) requested the deployment exercise, which was undertaken in collaboration with the IDF’s Operations Division.

The exercise employed the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, which is intended to intercept ballistic missiles in flight. It has a rapid deployment capability, meaning it can be put into operation quickly anywhere in the world. Capable of intercepting missiles both inside and outside the Earth’s atmosphere, THAAD uses kinetic energy — meaning it does not carry a warhead, but relies on force of impact to destroy its target.

The purpose of the exercise was to test the speed of deployment and coordinate with Israel’s own air defense systems.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Office said in a statement, “The deployment of the American defense system in Israel expresses the United States’ commitment to the security and defense of Israel.”

“The IDF acts in coordination with American forces to enhance mutual coordination and operational capabilities to protect the skies of Israel,” the statement added.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said of the exercise, “This is further evidence of the US’s commitment to Israel’s security. The American THAAD system is considered one of the most advanced systems in the world, and together with our defense systems, our ability to deal with close and distant threats from across the Middle East has been further strengthened.”

“The bond between the US and Israel has never been stronger,” Netanyahu added.

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