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February 14, 2021 7:25 pm

Joint Military Exercise With US Simulates Barrage of Missile Fire on Israel for Next War

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avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

An IDF soldier stands next to an Iron Dome aerial defense battery, near Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, July 27, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Amir Cohen.

The ongoing Israel-US military exercise known as Juniper Falcon is seeing the two countries simulate and train for a number of scenarios in which Israel faces unprecedented missile attacks from Gaza, Lebanon, and even Syria and Iran.

Israeli news site N12 reported Sunday that, alongside the concerns about short- and long-range rockets from Hamas in Gaza or Hezbollah in Lebanon, the exercise is also preparing for the use of cruise missiles and suicide drones from western Iraq and Yemen — where Iran could use its proxies to retaliate against Israeli actions.

Brig. Gen. Ran Kochav, head of the Israeli Air Force’s air defense program, said that US-Israel cooperation is “an operational and professional asset for the air defense of Israeli citizens and the country’s home front. We insisted on holding the exercise in Israel, in Europe, and in the United States.”

Thus far, Kochav said, the participants have met the exercise’s goals and now “the operational test is in front of us.”

In recent years, Israel’s air defense system has seen rapid change, N12 reported. With the realization that thousands of missiles will likely be fired at Israel in the next conflict, the IDF has rethought its strategy.

Iron Dome batteries and other missile defense systems will be permanently deployed across the country, rather than moved from front to front. This will provide blanket protection for civilian areas and vital infrastructure. In addition, a new detection grid on land, sea, and air will also allow aerial attacks to be identified as quickly as possible.

The Iron Dome system itself has undergone a major upgrade, enabling it to deal with low-flying drones and precision-guided missiles. Its range has also been enhanced, meaning cities that had once required three batteries will now require only one.

The real-time analysis capacity of the support system for Iron Dome is also being improved, so that interceptor rockets will be fired only if the incoming missile is a direct threat to civilians or infrastructure, thus conserving Israel’s arsenal of interceptors.

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