Together with a large homefront security drill taking place in Israel Sunday, the IDF is set to open on Sunday morning a major military exercise together with U.S. forces stationed in Europe. The AC12 Exercise (“Austere Challenge 12”) is the largest exercise ever between Israeli and American forces.
Among other things, the exercise will involve the deployment of Patriot missile batteries and other air defense systems, including surface-to-air missiles deployed on naval ships. The exercise is part of a long-term agreement between EUCOM (the United States European Command) and the IDF that calls for cooperative exercises on an annual basis.
The exercise is expected to last about three weeks, during which cutting-edge technology will be tested for the first time. Both armies will review and examine the Iron Dome batteries and the new Magic Wand (David’s Sling) anti-missile system in real-time.
Preparations for the exercise began over two years ago, and it is unrelated to the current situation in the Middle East. An IDF source explained that the exercise is not in response to a specific threat, but a general scenario and broad regional trends. “The scenario will focus on multiple areas and its goal will be to learn how to deal with various threats in the area,” said the source.
The joint exercise will focus on defensive maneuvers, not on offensive actions, and is aimed at responding to threats against Israel – including rockets, mortar shells, and both short and long-range ballistic missiles, an IDF spokesperson said.