US and Israel stage major air defense exercise

The US and Israeli militaries will launch their biggest joint missile defense drill yet on Wednesday, in the shadow of mounting missile threats from Iran, Hizbullah and Syria, and growing regional tension over Teheran's nuclear program.

The Juniper Cobra 10 exercise will test responses to a range of incoming projectiles.

More than 1,000 members of the US military's European Command and a similar number of IDF soldiers will participate, the IDF announced on Tuesday. The two militaries will test Israel's Arrow 2 Theater Ballistic Missile Defense System, and the American Navy's AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense System. US Patriot advanced capability anti-missile missiles will also be deployed.

Seventeen US Navy ships have cruised into Israel's territorial waters for the exercise, and will be visible from the coast. The fleet consists of missile ships that will fire dummy projectiles to test defenses, and radar ships that will play an integral part in the exercise.

Air force planes will play a variety of roles during the drill.

Radar stations have been erected around the country, and Israel's Green Pine and Super Green Pine missile detection systems will be activated.

The US-made Forward Based X-band Tactical radar, situated in the Negev, which has long-range missile detection system, will also come into play. The X-band radar works in conjunction with the Arrow missile defense, while also transmitting data to a US joint tactical ground station.
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