U.S. deploys THAAD missile defense system to Israel for joint exercise

U.S. deploys THAAD missile defense system to Israel for joint exercise
THAAD interceptor launch, Pacific Missile Test Range Hawaii, 2011. US Missile Defense Agency video

[Ed. – A big move, in fact. THAAD provides for terminal phase intercept of intermediate-range ballistic missiles, including limited extra-atmospheric intercept. This wouldn’t have to be just for the defense of Israel but could potentially defend a chunk of Southeastern Europe as well; e.g., against missiles from Iran.  That isn’t being emphasized, probably because it would agitate Turkey.  Iran already has the missiles, so this is playing catch-up. The TPY-2 radar has been in Israel for some time, but this is the first deployment of the full system to the area.]

The U.S. has deployed a highly advanced missile defense system in Israel for the first time, the American and Israeli militaries announced Monday, reflecting their shared concerns about Iran’s development of powerful missiles. …

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli army spokesman, told reporters that a THAAD battery, flown in from the U.S. and Europe, arrived Monday at an air force base in southern Israel. He said that the defense battery has only been installed a few times elsewhere in the world, and tested the U.S. ability to carry out accelerated deployment of such powerful and complex weapons. …

During this week’s drill, the THAAD battery, which shoots down long and intermediate range missiles, will bolster Israel’s existing systems. The deployment is temporary, and for now, the THAAD system will not be permanently integrated into the Israeli defense shield, Conricus said.

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