Jerusalem, Apr 1 : The four-week air defence drill between Israel Defence Forces and US military was completed on Sunday. The excercise between the two countries saw the deployment of the United States’ most advanced missile defence system Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in Israel for the first time. The US European Command (US EUCOM) deployed the THAAD system in the southern Israel on March 4 along with 250 officers and soldiers.
According to Col. Guy Amosi, deputy commander of the IAF’s Megiddo unit, which led the joint exercise said " The THAAD was deployed in Israel, we did a month of exercises with it. At the end of this month, it will go back to its place, and we will have improved our air defences".
“We learned tons,” he added, reports The Times of Israel. The deployment of the THAAD system has taken place for the first time, however, one of the X-Band radar arrays connected to the THAAD system has been stationed in Israel for over a decade.
I don’t know why [the US decided to deploy the THAAD in Israel]. We got an order that the system was coming,” Amosi said. Amosi refused to comment on the potential of the THAAD being deployed again in Israel in the future.
At the start of the drill, US EUCOM said the deployment was ordered by acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and was meant to demonstrate America’s “continued commitment” to Israel’s security. “This deployment incorporates key capabilities, systems and people stationed in the continental United States and Europe, and with our partners in the Israel Defense Force,” EUCOM said in a statement released by the US Embassy in Israel.
According to the colonel, the joint exercise was visited by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, and senior officials throughout the Israel Defence Forces. On February 15, around 400 IDF and 300 American soldiers concluded the military drill, dubbed as Juniper Falcon which was part of the ongoing strategic cooperation between the IDF and the US Army. (UNI)