US, Israel begin their largest ever joint military exercises in missile defense

In an 2005 joint Israeli-U.S. exercise, a Patriot missile is fired from a desert launch site in southern Israel.
In a joint Israeli-U.S. exercise, a Patriot missile is fired.

JERUSALEM (CNN) — Israel and the United States commenced what is believed to be their largest ever joint military exercises in missile defense Wednesday.

The long-planned, two-week air defense exercise has been dubbed Juniper Cobra 10 and will involve participation of 1,000 personnel from the U.S. European Command and the Israeli military, according to a statement from the Israel Defense Forces. It’s the fifth such exercise since 2001.

According to the global security analysis firm Stratfor, the Juniper Cobra drill will be the “largest and most complex bilateral ballistic missile defense exercise” the two countries have conducted together and “will include a series of ballistic missile defense systems that would be used to defend against a hypothetical ballistic missile attack launched from Iran.”

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In a news release about the joint air defense exercises, the Israeli military said the drill “is not in response to any world events,” but the maneuvers do come at time of increasing tensions amongst the United States and Israel with Iran over its nuclear program.

Read moreUS, Israel begin their largest ever joint military exercises in missile defense

US missile system’s track record: test delays, failed launches, missed targets

Designed to feed the military-industrial complex with taxpayer money.


For a system designed to protect the country from nuclear oblivion, the US national missile defence project’s history of failure has long raised eyebrows among scientists.

Years of testing have seen rocket-propelled interceptors refuse to launch from their silos, fail to separate from their boosters and miss their targets, sometimes by hundreds of miles.

Military officials can claim only a 50% hit rate, and only then in tests that are far removed from a real world attack scenario, said David Wright, a physicist and co-director of global security at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Some tests were delayed for months because the weather was not considered good enough for the interceptor to find its target.

When tests did go ahead, missile operators knew when the target would be launched and its trajectory in the sky. The missile system that was due to be installed in Europe had undergone even less rigorous testing. The plans included a two-stage interceptor which has yet to even begin flight tests.

Read moreUS missile system’s track record: test delays, failed launches, missed targets

Japan-U.S. missile defense test fails off Hawaii


A missile is launched from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ship Chokai in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii November 20, 2008. (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force/Handout/Reuters)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Japanese warship failed to shoot down a ballistic missile target in a joint test with U.S. forces Wednesday because of a glitch in the final stage of an interceptor made by Raytheon Co, a U.S. military official said.

The kinetic warhead’s infrared “seeker” lost track in the last few seconds of the $55 million test, about 100 miles above Hawaiian waters, said U.S. Rear Admiral Brad Hicks, program director of the Aegis sea-based leg of an emerging U.S. anti-missile shield.

“This was a failure,” he said in a teleconference with reporters. It brought the tally of Aegis intercepts to 16 in 20 tries.

The problem “hopefully was related just to a single interceptor,” not to a systemic issue with the Standard Missile-3 Block 1A, the same missile used in February to blow apart a crippled U.S. spy satellite, Hicks said.

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US general warns Russia on nuclear bombers in Cuba

Installing a missile defense system in eastern Europe is alright and cannot be seen as a provocation, but….
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Russia would cross “a redline for the United States of America” if it were to base nuclear capable bombers in Cuba, a top US air force officer warned on Tuesday.

“If they did I think we should stand strong and indicate that is something that crosses a threshold, crosses a red line for the United States of America,” said General Norton Schwartz, nominated to be the air force’s chief of staff.

Read moreUS general warns Russia on nuclear bombers in Cuba