Dear Members and Friends,
During the early part of this month, 1,400 soldiers and personnel from the U.S. European Combat Command and 1,400 Israeli soldiers from the Israel Defense Force deployed in Israel with the most current missile defense weapon platforms successfully exercised a joint integrated forces mission to defend Israel from the current and future threats of Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. This was the largest missile defense force ever assembled between the two countries to perform a missile defense exercise. The missile defense systems and architecture deployed in this mission by the United States represented the current missile defense architecture for Europe. The interoperability between the Israel missile defense systems and those of the United States acting as one cohesive unit both tactically and strategically was the main objective of the mission. The firing solutions of these missile defense systems to adequately protect and defend Israel present significant challenges as Israeli soldiers cannot authorize the use and fire of U.S. systems and vice-versa. These challenges along with operational readiness and war fighter proficiency were successfully demonstrated, leaving Israel and the United States the most confident they have ever been in their joint ability to protect and defend Israel from a missile attack.
As Iran demonstrated yesterday with their publicly announced war exercises against Israel, this U.S./Israeli joint exercise comes at a pivotal time in the Middle East when Iran has backed off President Obama and his administration’s request on exporting enrichment of uranium to the U.S. or France and when Israeli Special forces recently intercepted the ship “Francop” suspected of carrying Russian missile parts for the Russian S-300s a surface-to-air missile and air defense system. Iran has purchased the S-300s from Russia for most likely air defense of their nuclear sites housing centrifuges and missile fields from the Israeli Air Force.
Having demonstrated confidence in a large interoperable missile defense force that combines U.S. and Israeli intercept missiles, sensors, systems and soldiers provides immense security and stability to the region and its inhabitants to include the populations and deployed forces located there. This allows the diplomatic inroads, international sanctions and pressure to continue to bear on Iran without fear or credibility of a military missile strike. This substantial missile defense demonstration also brings forth considerable messages to Iran on investment into missile systems. However, Israel can also look at this demonstration as giving the Israeli public more confidence they can withstand a Iranian missile strike and may choose to be the aggressor if U.S. diplomacy fails and before Iran has enrichment capability and deployment of Russian S-300s are in place defending those nuclear centrifuge sites or missile fields.
The U.S. Missile Defense Systems used in the mission included the a U.S. Aegis Missile Defense capable ship in the port of Haifa, a THAAD Battery, a AN/TPY-2 Forward-based X-Band Radar, two Patriot 3 batteries and the battle management C2BMC out of EUCOM in Germany.
The Israeli missile defense systems used in the mission included Israeli purchased Patriot 2 batteries, the Israeli Arrow 2 block 4 missile defense system including the Green Pine and Super Green Pine radars with their fire control systems and yet to be deployed Israel/US joint David Sling, a ground-based air-to-air missile defense system for short-range missiles and rockets.
The United States Government with Congressional and Presidential approval continues to fund Israel missile defense requests as 2010 budget request will provide around $200 million to Israel for missile defense.
We at MDAA strongly support continued joint missile defense exercises and the protection of Israel, a Holy Land for many people around the world, for if conflict of magnitude is to occur, this region is the most likely in our world to use missile defense to defend and protect human life. Unlike anywhere else in the world Israel has and continues to be under consistent rocket and missile attack, they have a duty to protect their citizens and country. The United States has the responsibility to protect its friends and allies from harm.