US and Israel begin joint military exercise Juniper Falcon

11 February 2019 (Last Updated February 11th, 2019 11:28)

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) Air Defense Division and the US European Command (USEUCOM) have commenced the latest iteration of the joint military exercise, code-named Juniper Falcon.

US and Israel begin joint military exercise Juniper Falcon
Juniper Falcon focuses on improving the strategic cooperation between the countries and militaries. Credit: Alexandra Aksyutich / IAF.

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) Air Defense Division and the US European Command (USEUCOM) have commenced the latest iteration of the joint military exercise, code-named Juniper Falcon.

Around 300 US troops and 400 Israel Defense Force (IDF) soldiers from several units are participating in Juniper Falcon 2019. Units include the air defence division, the operations directorate, the navy, logistical units and medical forces.

This year’s exercise will focus on simulating the deployment of US Forces in Israel for cooperation during future conflicts in the region.

The drill will involve simulating a scenario, which will involve the US forces arriving in Israel to assist with missile defence.

According to IAF, the objective of Juniper Falcon is to preserve and improve the strategic cooperation between the countries and militaries.

“The exercise allows us to familiarise ourselves with the operational orders at hand even better.”

As part of the preparation for the exercise, IDF carried out infrastructural and logistical preparation ahead of the US Forces’ arrival.

The forces are training at several theatres, including Hatzor Air Force Base (AFB) and the IDF Headquarters.

Exercise Directorate head colonel Erez Elimelech said: “The exercise allows us to familiarise ourselves with the operational orders at hand even better.

“In the past, we would train alongside the US Forces once every two years, but now we do it every year. The forces’ arrival in Israel from Europe and their deployment here is a very significant stage of the complex process, which includes multiple logistical intricacies, especially seeing as the activity occurs during wartime.”

Due to end on 15 February, the exercise is part of an agreement between the US and Israel to hold joint training exercises regularly to enhance interoperability.

Last year’s exercise involved operational orders regarding missile defence.