Juniper Cobra exercise in 2009
Juniper Cobra exercise in 2009 Ziv Koren/Flash 90

The United States and Israel will participate in a bilateral military exercise later this month, i24news reported Saturday, citing a statement from the IDF.

The exercise, Juniper Cobra, has been in the works since 2014, when the last drill with this name took place, and is designed to improve the cooperation and coordination between the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and the IDF.

The exercise scenario that the two will train on will be a simulation on ballistic missile defenses.

The drill will take place as Jerusalem and Washington continue to discuss a new American defense aid package. The current package is set to expire in 2017.

In November it was reported that Israel made an initial request for its annual defense aid to increase to as much as $5 billion.

Israel wants $5 billion per year in military aid for 10 years, for a total of $50 billion, congressional aides said at the time.

In 2013, during his visit to Israel, President Barack Obama indicated that Israel and the United States were opening talks on extending the American military aid to the Jewish state beyond the end of the current agreement.

But Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu put the brakes on aid talks with Washington in the run-up to the Iran deal that was reached in July, signaling his displeasure with the negotiations.

Later, however, Israeli officials indicated that Netanyahu was ready to move beyond his rejection of the Iran deal and re-launch talks with Washington on the aid package.

The last Juniper Cobra drill focused on computer-simulated bilateral air defense exercises. Since then Israel has significantly enhanced its multi-layered air defense systems, including successfully intercepting a target in space using its Arrow 3 missile defense system in December, noted i24news.

In October, the news channel added, the Israeli and American Air Forces along with other allied nations took part in the bi-annual Blue Flag joint Air Force exercise.

The Israel-led simulated combat exercise was a follow-up to a similar exercise two years earlier, with the participation of the United States, Italian and Greek air forces.

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