Sunday, July 26, 2009

IDF, US conduct X-Band radar test

The IDF and the United States Military's European Command conducted a joint exercise this week of the X-Band radar that is deployed in the Negev to check its interoperability with Israeli early-warning systems.The drill was conducted at EUCOM headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. A similar drill took place last week, also in Germany. Israel received the advanced X-Band radar in October as a farewell gift from the Bush administration to beef up Israeli defenses in face of Iran's nuclear program and growing ballistic missile capability. The radar is deployed in southern Israel near the Nevatim Air Force Base and is reportedly capable of tracking small targets from thousands of kilometers away. According to a defense official involved in the drill, when operated in coordination with additional Israeli warning systems the X-Band radar enables the IDF Home Front Command to issue an alert about an incoming missile between five and seven minutes before impact. The total flight time of a missile from Iran to Israel would be approximately 10 minutes. In comparison, the residents of Sderot usually have up to 15 seconds to seek shelter from when they hear a siren and before a Kassam rocket strikes the city. The drill was held in Germany since the X-Band radar deployed in southern Israel is under EUCOM's command and is controlled by US soldiers. In October, the IDF and the US will hold a joint missile defense exercise called Juniper Cobra, during which the American-made Aegis and THAAD defense systems will deploy in Israel for the first time. The purpose of the exercise is to create interoperability between the American systems and Israel's Arrow missile defense system.

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