Even if the planned US-Israeli joint anti-ballistic missiles exercise is smaller than expected and postponed, it will still give Israel a unique opportunity to evaluate its capability to handle massive ballistic missile attacks.
The exercise is being planned when in the background there is a war of words between those who favour an attack on the Iranian nuclear facilities and those who fiercely oppose it.
Austere Challenge-12 will still be the largest-ever ballistic missile defence exercise performed jointly by the USA and Israel.
As I said, even if press reports that only 1,500 US soldiers will take part instead of 5,000 are true, it will still serve as a huge laboratory to test anti-ballistic systems and, more importantly, the “language” that will let them talk to each other in war.
US Aegis ships and Israeli Arrow-2 anti-ballistic missiles batteries are only two ingredients of the planned exercise.
The basic idea behind the exercise is that in a war that will include massive salvos of missiles against Israeli cities and facilities, the USA will assist the Israelis with its own systems such as the Patriot PAC-3 and Aegis destroyers equipped with a long-range detection radar.
Not many people know that the USA is taking part in the Israeli missile defence effort on a permanent basis.
On a desert mountain in southern Israel, 100 US Army soldiers operate a US X-band detection radar. Experts say that this radar is enhancing Israel’s capability to detect incoming ballistic missiles launched to hit targets in the country.
Experts say that the X-band radar can detect an Iranian Shahab-3 ballistic missile seconds after launch.
The two Israeli operational Arrow-2 anti-ballistic missiles batteries are equipped with the locally made Green Pine radar, but having “another pair of eyes” is always a good thing.
So when the two countries deploy their forces in Israel and the Mediterranean, it will be a unique opportunity to see a massive dedicated deployment of systems developed to defeat massive ballistic missile attacks.
This threat may seem to many as a concern only to Israel. But when you check the intelligence data, the picture changes. Many other countries will face this threat sooner or later.