In the midst of an ongoing joint military drill between the U.S. and Israel, defense officials are sounding confident in their assessment of the IDF's air defense capabilities. As one senior defense official said, "In the case of a missile attack, Israeli citizens will benefit from the best interceptors and the longest warning time that technology can provide."
As part of the joint exercise, 1,000 American soldiers arrived in Israel last week, and were joined by a number of U.S. Navy ships, which arrived Tuesday carrying Patriot missiles and other missile batteries. The exercise, which will last about a month, is designed to strengthen cooperation between the two countries with regard to missile defense, an exercise which, it has been speculated, might be preparation for a possible military strike against Iran.
Defense officials said that the widespread collaboration will be beneficial to both countries, as Israel plans on studying American ships capable of intercepting missiles and Americans get the opportunity to learn from Israeli ground-based missile-defense radars "Green Pine" and "Super Green Pine."
Israeli defense officials took pride in the joint drill and were appreciative of the onthe-spot improvements such drills often provide.
"Israel already knows how to respond and protect itself against missile and air threats, but the cooperation and support from other countries are very useful," said a defense official. "Israel has developed and is continuing to develop the most advanced and cost-effective defense systems. By way of comparison, the U.S. missile defense system costs millions of dollars, while Israel provides the same protection for one fifth of the price."