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Friday, December 23, 2011

"Austere Challenge": Massive Israel/US Missile Defense Exercise in April

Yaakov Katz writes in a Jerusalem Post article entitled "US commander visits Israel to finalize missile drill" ( that Israel and the US are planning a joint missile defense exercise in April 2012:

Last week, Lt.-Gen. Frank Gorenc, commander of the US’s Third Air Force based in Germany, visited Israel to finalize plans for the upcoming drill, expected to see the deployment of several thousand American soldiers in Israel.

The drill, which is unprecedented in its size, will include the establishment of US command posts in Israel and IDF command posts at EUCOM headquarters in Germany – with the ultimate goal of establishing joint task forces in the event of a large-scale conflict in the Middle East.

The US will also bring its THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) and shipbased Aegis ballistic missile defense systems to Israel to simulate the interception of missile salvos against Israel.

The American systems will work in conjunction with Israel’s missile defense systems – the Arrow, Patriot and Iron Dome.

As reported by the Israeli Air Force (

"The purpose of [Lt.-Gen. Frank Gorenc's] visit is to practice commands and mutual regulations, in the fields as well as in the command center, as a part of preparation for the ["Austere Challenge" exercise]", says Lieutenant Colonel Dedi Meiri, Commander of the Flight Squadron in the Active Defense Wing. "We're showing the General the fields, what really goes on in the batteries. Then we'll practice system cooperation and coordination in the ITB, such as 'Arrow' and 'David's Sling'".

The Lieutenant General's tour began at Battery A' of the "Iron Dome", which intercepted a rocket fired toward Israel from the Gaza Strip over the past weekend.

Lieutenant General Gorenc was hosted by Brigadier General Doron Gavish, Commander of the Aerial Defense Formation, who also led the tour. At the battery, the Lieutenant General met with Lieutenant Colonel Gilad Biran, Commander of the "Iron Dome" Unit and with Captain Elad Tzinamon, Commander of the Battery, who explained to him the structure of the battery, how the system works and the "Discovery to Warning" system.

The fanfare attending the upcoming "Austere Challenge" exercise is unusual. Israeli is deeply indebted to the US for this show of support, given the imminent threat of combined missile attacks from Iran, Lebanon, Syria and Gaza.

Enough said.


  1. "Thank you, Obama" or just a 2012 election year stratagem? After three years of enmity toward Israel, has Obama truly changed course?

  2. Of course, not. A stratagem.