1. Joint U.S.-Israel Exercise Declared a Success
After three weeks of joint drills by U.S. and Israeli forces, the exercise known as Juniper Cobra was declared a success by both sides, YNet reported. Some 1,400 American soldiers participated in the exercise in Israel, which focused on aerial defense and emergency response. “From an operational standpoint, the exercise and its learning procedure demonstrate another step up in the readiness of the forces,” said Doron Gavish, commander of the Israel Air Force’s Air Defense Division.
2. Israeli Subsidiary Expands Mississippi UAV Facility
Stark Aerospace, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries, recently opened its new 86,000-square-foot complex in Columbus, Mississippi, the Starkville Daily News reported. The facility will meet the growing demand of the United States and other allies for unmanned aerial vehicles such as the Heron and Hunter. “This is an operation that literally saves lives of American soldiers on a daily basis,” Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) said after the ceremony. Speaking of the additional jobs that will be brought to the region, Gray Swoope, executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority, said “This is the absolute great example in economic development.”
3. Arrow Interceptor Production Increased Planned
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that he plans to increase the production of the Arrow interceptor, The Jerusalem Post reported. Iran reportedly possesses dozens of operational Shihab ballistic missiles that are capable of reaching Israel. The Israel Air Force is also in the process of upgrading its inventory of Arrow-2 missiles with new avionics and boost systems.
4. Iron Dome Development Ahead of Schedule
According to numerous defense sources, the short range missile defense system indigenous to Israel called Iron Dome is developing on schedule and could be operational by mid-2010, Ha’aretz reported. Iron Dome is designed to intercept rockets at ranges between four and 77 kilometers, and will be used as the main response to incoming short range rockets. A major test of the system is planned in the coming weeks.
5. Israeli Navy to Participate in NATO Mission
The Israeli Navy will send a ship to join a NATO mission to patrol the Mediterranean Sea, The Jerusalem Post reported. The mission, aimed at preventing the smuggling of weapons, will be the first time that Israeli troops will actively participate in a NATO operation in the Mediterranean Sea as part of the Active Endeavor maritime counter-terror operation. The decision to include Israel came in the context of a visit by NATO Military Commander Admiral Giampaolo Di Paoloa to the country.