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Israeli Anti-Aircraft Forces Complete Large-Scale Live Fire Exercise

An interceptor missile being launched
Source: IDF spokesperson via YNET

The threats that Israel faces from the air today are much more complex than they have ever been. They include simultaneous firing of various types of ballistic weaponry, both guided and unguided, as well as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Combating this threat requires multiple layers of defensive weapons such as the Iron Dome and Patriot missile defense systems. A critical aspect of combined defense is the rapid acquisition, classification, and sharing of targets between the different batteries and the different types of defensive armaments. An incoming target must be acquired, analyzed, classified in terms of its trajectory and threat level, and finally assigned to the specific battery that will launch against it and destroy it. All of this must be done in seconds and sometimes even less than that.

The cost and complexity of performing live fire exercises with anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems is enormous. These exercises require the launch of multiple targets, each representing a different threat and each costing a lot of money. The interceptor missiles cost tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars each. Finally, large swaths of Israel’s tiny airspace must be closed to civil aviation when massed fire of anti-aircraft weaponry takes place in order to prevent accidents. Thus most training is done via computer simulations. These simulations, while accurate, can never duplicate the real-life experience of a live fire exercise performed in real-world atmospheric conditions.

Yesterday, a massed live-fire exercise of Iron Dome and Patriot missile systems was successfully completed in central Israel. This exercise was of proportions that are virtually unheard of in Israel or elsewhere and it was observed by representatives from the Greek and the American armed forces. In total, ten “targets” were destroyed at different altitudes and ranges, each representing a different threat to Israeli military and civilian installations.

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