Juniper Cobra 2014
Juniper Cobra 2014Matty Stern/US Embassy/FLASH90

Security forces have begun main preparations, including the extensive deployment of forces across the country and initial drills, in anticipation of the largest IDF and United States European Command (USEUCOM) forces joint exercise taking place this year, "Juniper Cobra 2018."

The exercise will take place between March 4th and March 15th, 2018. Additional joint activities involving Israeli and US forces will take place through the end of March.

Over the last few weeks, Israeli security forces have undertaken extensive preparations for the exercise, including the reception of American forces to Israel via air and sea.

The aims of the exercise are to strengthen the cooperation and coordination between the two militaries, to promote bilateral learning and enhance aerial defense capabilities.

This is the ninth time the "Juniper Cobra" exercise has taken place in Israel since 2001. This will be the largest IDF and USEUCOM joint exercise taking place this year.

Over 2,500 US troops deployed in Europe will be participating in the exercise, alongside 2,000 Israeli Aerial Defense troops, logistics units, medical forces, and additional IDF units.

The exercise simulates a scenario in which US forces would deploy to Israel in order to aid the IDF Aerial Defense forces. Together they will perform computerized simulations of a variety of rocket threat scenarios in different regions. The simulations include the use of the "Arrow," "Iron Dome", "Patriot", and "David's Sling" Systems. The David's Sling system was declared operational in April 2017.

"The ‘Juniper Cobra 2018’ exercise will serve as an opportunity for the IDF, and the IAF in particular, to enhance operational capabilities in the face of high-trajectory threats,” said Commander of the Aerial Defense Array, Brig. Gen. Zvika Haimovich.

“The exercise demonstrates the strategic and fundamental cooperation between the IDF and the US Armed Forces. In the coming weeks we will train together to face complex and challenging scenarios, which are relevant to the dynamic range of threats that we must be prepared to face."