300 Americans, 400 Israelis and one goal: Today (Thursday) marks the beginning of the "Juniper Falcon" 2019 exercise, performed by the IAF Air Defense Division in cooperation with the USEUCOM (United States European Command). As part of the exercise, the forces will simulate the deployment of US forces in Israel in preparation for a future operational cooperation
The name may sound familiar, but an exercise like this has never been held before: the "Juniper Falcon" 2019 exercise – the main directorate exercise held by the IAF in cooperation with the US Military – has commenced today (Thursday). As part of the exercise, IAF Air Defense Division combatants will operate in cooperation with forces from the UESEUCOM (United States European Command) and drill the arrival of US forces to Israel. The exercise simulates a scenario in which US forces arrive at Israel to provide assistance in missile defense, and includes operational orders which may be utilized in the future.
The exercise is meant to preserve and improve the strategic cooperation between the countries and militaries, all while improving the two forces' preparedness for various threats. Preparation for the exercise, which lasted several weeks, included infrastructural and logistical preparation ahead of the US forces' arrival. Training is due to occur in several theatres, including Hatzor AFB and the IDF Headquarters, with an emphasis on mutual training by the Air Defense Division and its US counterpart.
Approximately one year ago the "Juniper Cobra" exercise was held, as part of which Israeli and US Forces drilled operational orders regarding missile defense. While the "Juniper Cobra" exercise commenced with the US Forces already spread across various sites in Israel, "Juniper Falcon" also drills the forces' arrival.
"The exercise allows us to familiarize ourselves with the operational orders at hand even better", said Col. (Res') Erez Elimelech, Head of the Exercise Directorate. "In the past we would train alongside the US forces once every two years, but now we do it every year. The forces' arrival at Israel from Europe and their deployment here is a very significant stage of the complex process, which includes multiple logistical intricacies, especially seeing as the activity occurs during wartime".
The "Juniper Falcon" is held in Israel every two years since 2001. Taking part in the exercise will be 300 US Military troops and 400 IDF troops from various units, including the Air Defense Division, the Operations Directorate, the Navy, logistical units and medical forces. Col. (Res') Elimelech emphasizes that the cooperation between Israel and the US is continuous and permanent: "Our friendship makes our work simpler. Interpersonal relationships are very meaningful and help solve many problems".
In light of the exercise, the United States announced yesterday (Wednesday) that it would purchase "Iron Dome" weapon systems for immediate use by the US Army as part of an agreement between the Israeli Ministry of Defense and the US Department of Defense. The "Iron Dome" system will be considered for defense of deployed US forces against a wide range of ballistic and aerial threats.