U.S. Deploys State-of-the-Art Missile Defense System in Israel, Prepares for Joint Exercises with IDF

The United States has deployed a state-of-the-art missile defense system in Israel, ahead of joint training exercises in the use of the system, The Jerusalem Post reported Monday.

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) is being deployed by the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) “as a demonstration of the United States’ continued commitment to Israel’s regional security,” according to a statement released by the command.

According to the IDF, the unprecedented deployment of the advanced anti-missile system will afford Israel the opportunity to “practice rapid deployment across the globe of complex systems, and to enhance cooperation with the IAF’s Air Defense Systems.” The joint drill, according to the statement, gives the IDF an opportunity to work in “cooperation with US forces in order to enhance coordination between the two militaries and to strengthen the ability to defend Israeli airspace.”

During the drill, THAAD will be coordinated with other elements of Israel’s anti-missile systems, allowing Israel the “opportunity to practice its integration in the IAF Air Defense Array.”

Israel possesses a multi-tiered air defense system to counter varied threats, including defending itself against short-range, mid-range and long-range missiles that can be fired from Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, and even Iran. Among the components of Israel’s air-defense system are Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Arrow-2, and Arrow-3. Arrow-3 is designed to defend against missiles in space.

Each component of Israel’s air defense system is produced with significant financial assistance from the U.S. In exchange, U.S. companies get a share of the work in developing the systems.

Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis said that the THAAD system will be deployed at the Nevatim airbase in southern Israel and that some 200 U.S. troops will participate in the drill.

The THAAD system is part of the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command (AAMDC), and is based in Fort Bliss, Texas.

“Deployment of the American anti-missile system in Israel is additional testimony to the commitment of the US to the security of Israel,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

“The American THAAD system is considered one of the most advanced systems in the world, and together with our defensive systems we are even stronger in order to deal with near and distant threats from throughout the Middle East,” he added.

Netanyahu said that the “bond between the US and Israel has never been stronger.”

In January, the U.S. and Israel announced a successful test of the Arrow-3 anti-missile system. At the time, Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, commander of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), said, “This successful test provides confidence in Israel’s capability to protect itself from existing threats in the region.”


[Photo: United States Missile Defense Agency ]