Israeli, US troops wrap up annual joint missile defense war games
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Israeli, US troops wrap up annual joint missile defense war games

700 American and Israeli soldiers take part in week-long Juniper Falcon drill to prepare for deployment of US troops in Israel

IDF and American troops unload a US Air Force cargo plane at an Israeli military base during the Juniper Falcon joint military exercise, February 2019. (US Army photo)
IDF and American troops unload a US Air Force cargo plane at an Israeli military base during the Juniper Falcon joint military exercise, February 2019. (US Army photo)

Three hundred American soldiers on Thursday wrapped up an week-long joint military exercise with the Israel Defense Forces.

The IDF said in a statement that US troops worked with 400 IDF soldiers as the armies rehearsed scenarios in which US troops were deployed to Israel to aid in missile defense operations, including against “high trajectory fire on the State of Israel.”

The military drill, dubbed Juniper Falcon, is part of the ongoing strategic cooperation between the IDF and the US Army. The IDF branches involved included the air force, logistics units and medical forces. It was last held in 2017.

“The objectives of the joint exercise were to increase the coordination between the armies, to practice orders and procedures in times of emergency and to deepen the familiarity between the forces,” said Brig. Gen. Ran Kochav, commander of the Israel Air Force’s Air Defense Division.

Israeli and American soldiers at the annual Juniper Falcon joint military exercise held in Israel. 300 American and 400 IDF troops participated. (US Army photo)

The American commander of the exercise, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian of the the US Air Force, said it was a “great opportunity for US forces to work once again with our Israeli partners to improve our combined missile defense capability.”

“It has always been a challenging exercise, but the lessons learned will help the two armies continue to strengthen relations between us and our combined capabilities in ballistic missile defense,” said Harrigian.

Israel and the US also hold the five-day Juniper Cobra combined air force drill every two years. Last year’s drill simulated a massive ballistic missile attack and culminated with live-fire tests of two air defense systems over the skies of central Israel.

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