US Postpones Joint Bilateral Exercise Juniper Cobra with Israel, New Dates to be Announced Later

By ARIE EGOZI

Bilateral

Tel Aviv: The United States has cancelled its joint biennial exercise with Israel scheduled for March due to tensions in Eastern Europe and fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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According to an IDF Spokesman, the exercise was planned to take place during March, and now was postponed “due to a variety of considerations” and will take place at a different date, which will be announced later.

On February 7, the Juniper Cobra exercise, which is primarily intended to train the air defence systems of the US and Israeli armies, was postponed to an unknown date. The reason is that all US air defence batteries are now deployed in Europe on operational alert.

According to Nir Dvori military correspondent of Israeli Ch. 12 , the reason for the exercise cancelation is that all US air defence batteries are now deployed in Europe on operational alert. “The cancellation of the exercise at the moment sends clear and decisive messages about the US fear of the possibility of a large-scale military confrontation involving the Russian military.”

Israeli defence sources said that the exercise was meant to enhance the operational coordination between the American and Israel air defence units in a case of war. When necessary, US Forces will deploy in Israel and fight alongside Israel’s Aerial Defence Division in order to protect Israel from missiles.

Like in previous exercises, the participating IAF Forces that will train with their American counterparts will be the IAF’s Aerial Defence Division, IAF Headquarters, a designated exercise directorate, Home Front Command and personnel from Israel’s defence industries. The participating US Forces are comprised of a USAFE brigade whose mission is to assist Israel in missile defence.

The first part of the training exercise (now delayed) is planned to involve scenarios that will simulate the operation of US Patriot THAAD and Aegis to operate in coordination with Israeli systems like the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow.

The Israeli multi layered system against rockets and missiles is being upgraded with new versions of some already operational systems and will be further improved when the Arrow 4, the currently developed version of the ballistic missiles interceptor is operational. The multi layered system is designed to operate with foreign systems that will be deployed in Israel in a case of war.

Israel is now making a big effort to improve its early warning systems, that will be capable of detecting preparations for a launch of a ballistic missiles from countries like Iran. The Iranian effort to equip its long range ballistic missiles with solid fuel motors shortens the time that an early warning sensor can detect preparations for launch.