THAAD in Israel for month-long US-IDF military drill; Netanyahu: The bond between the US and Israel has never been stronger. I welcome the holding of this joint exercise.

The US European Command (EUCOM) for the first time deployed the world’s most advanced air and missile defense system, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, in Israel to take part in a military drill with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

The THAAD was stationed at Israel’s Nevatim Airbase in southern Israel on Monday, EUCOM confirming it “is currently conducting a missile defense system (THAAD) exercise deployment in Israel, which is part of US efforts to implement its operational concept & mission to assist in Israel’s aerial defense.”

The joint military drill, which includes 200 US and IDF soldiers, will be held throughout Israel over the month of March. The drill will focus on US Army and IDF military cooperation and war scenarios including long-range missiles. According to EUCOM, participants will “practice operational procedures for augmenting Israel’s existing air and missile defense architecture,” adding “Our service members will refine network connectivity, validate requirements for the THAAD system, and will conduct multinational training and security cooperation activities with our allies to improve interoperability and build readiness.”

The EUCOM referred to the drill “as a demonstration of the United States’ continued commitment to Israel’s regional security under the Department of Defense’s Dynamic Force Employment concept.”

The IDF released the following statement on the military drill and strong bilateral ties between Israel and the United States, “The purpose of the deployment is to practice rapid deployment across the globe of complex systems, and to enhance cooperation with the IAF’s air defense systems… The IDF is working in cooperation with US forces in order to enhance coordination between the two militaries and to strengthen the ability to defend Israeli airspace.” It added that the drill and deployment are not related to any specific event, and that ”The IDF is grateful for this exercise and stands ready to protect Israel’s airspace and civilians against a variety of threats from near and far.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu praised US-Israeli relations, addressing the month-long military drill and deployment of THAAD. He stated on Tuesday morning, “Deployment of the American anti-missile system in Israel is additional testimony to the commitment of the US to the security of Israel. The American THAAD system is considered one of the most advanced systems in the world, and together with our defensive systems we are even stronger in order to deal with near and distant threats from throughout the Middle East. The bond between the US and Israel has never been stronger. I welcome the holding of this joint exercise.”

An Israel Air Force (IAF) delegation recently completed a two-week exercise in Arizona and Missouri. The IAF delegation included 60 soldiers and tested the Israel Air Force’s seventh recently acquired Samson Hercules C-130J transport plane.

Photo: ChiccoDodiFC/