U.S. THAAD Missile Defense System Deployed In Israel

FILE PHOTO - A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense ( THAAD ) interceptor is launched during a successful intercept test, in this undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency. U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense...

TEL AVIV – In a first, the U.S. military deployed THAAD, its most advanced missile defense system, in Israel as part of a drill with the IDF. 

The U.S. European Command (EUCOM)’s deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system was supposed to simulate dispatching it quickly across the world while working together with Israeli air defenses to combat airborne threats, including long-range ballistic missiles, a statement by the IDF said.

“The IDF is working in cooperation with U.S. forces in order to enhance coordination between the two militaries and to strengthen the ability to defend Israeli airspace,” it said.

It added that the missile defense system’s presence in Israel was “not related to any specific event.”

“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,” the IDF said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the deployment was “additional testimony to the commitment of the U.S. 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 prime minister said.

“The bond between the U.S. and Israel has never been stronger. I welcome the holding of this joint exercise.”

The deployment was ordered by acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan with the aim of demonstrating America’s “continued commitment” to Israel’s security, a EUCOM spokesperson said.

“This deployment incorporates key capabilities, systems and people stationed in the continental United States and Europe, and with our partners in the Israel Defense Force,” it said in a statement.

U.S. troops would be deployed in several locations across the country to “practice operational procedures for augmenting Israel’s existing air and missile defense architecture.”

“THAAD is the most advanced integrated air and missile defense system in the world, and this deployment readiness exercise demonstrates that U.S. forces are agile, and can respond quickly and unpredictably to any threat, anywhere, at any time,” according to EUCOM.

The deployment comes on the heels of a week-long joint drill between the Israeli and U.S. militaries.


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