Israel: IDF, US Forces to Carry Out Largest Defense Drill Ever
The IDF is gearing up together with US forces for a major missile defense exercise, the army announced Thursday, as tension between Iran and the international community escalates.
The drill is called “Austere Challenge 12” and is designed to improve defense systems and cooperation between the US and Israeli forces. It follows a 10-day Iranian naval exercise near the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
The IDF said the drill with the US was planned long ago and is not tied to recent events. Both Israeli and US officials said the exercise would be the largest-ever joint drill by the two countries.
The IDF spokesman did not give a date for the drill Thursday, but a senior military official said it would be in the next few weeks. He was speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.
The Israeli official said thousands of American and Israeli soldiers from different units would take part. He said the drill would test multiple Israeli and US air defense systems against incoming missiles and rockets. Israel has deployed the “Arrow” system, jointly developed and funded with the US, designed to intercept Iranian missiles in the stratosphere, far from Israel.
“The US European Command and the Israel Defense Forces periodically conduct routine exercises in Israel,” the IDF said in a statement.