U.S., Israel Plan Missile Defense Drill

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - The U.S. and Israel plan to conduct the largest joint missile defense system exercise ever held later this year.

The Juniper Cobra drill will test three missile defense systems: the Israeli-developed Arrow 2, America's THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense), and the Aegis, a ballistic missile defense system launched from ships.

The IAF's (Israel Air Force) Defense Division, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and EUCOM (the U.S. Military's European Command) have conducted Juniper Cobra exercises over the past five years.

"The Juniper Cobra exercise between EUCOM and the IDF will be the fifth and most complex exercise yet designed," U.S. Missile Defense Agency director Lt.-Gen. Patrick J. O'Reilly told the defense subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee earlier this month.

O'Reilly also briefed the subcommittee on the Arrow 3, saying that while he personally supported funding Israel's development of the system, U.S. defense cuts may shelve the project.

The agency is looking into a land-launched version of the Aegis SM-3 missile instead of the Arrow 3.

"To mitigate the Arrow 3 high schedule risk, we are pursuing concept development of a land-based variant of the proven Aegis SM-3 missile to meet Israel's more immediate upper-tier requirements," the general said.

Meanwhile, New York Congresswoman Nita Lowey, who chairs the Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, which approves funding to continue developing the Arrow 3, is visiting Israel as part of a congressional delegation.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak will meet with her on Thursday to discuss the Arrow 3 program.

Last week, the IAF conducted the 17th successful test of the newly developed Arrow 2, which intercepted and destroyed a mockup of the Iranian Shihab ballistic missile.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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