TEL AVIV — Technology developers from the US and Israel have concluded an intensive missile defense war game simulating five full days of coordinated, multidirectional missile and rocket attacks on the Israeli homefront, officials from both countries announced Wednesday.
Known as Integrated Ground Test-2016 (IGT-16), the round-the-clock simulation took place at the jointly funded Israel Test Bed in Holon, south of Tel Aviv, and was managed by Elisra, a subsidiary of Elbit Systems.
It was the first major computerized drill involving engineers and program developers — rather than war fighters — since 2008, Israeli Navy Capt. S., an electronic warfare specialist at the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO), told Defense News on Wednesday.
"The purpose was to evaluate in depth our technical ability to interoperate with new systems and block models slated to become operational in the coming year," said the IMDO officer, whose full name was withheld from publication for security reasons.
The Israeli officer noted that in contrast to biannual Juniper Cobra (JC) command post and live-fire drills conducted by war fighters of the two countries, the drill that concluded on June 22 involved technologists and program officials.
"JC focuses on interoperability, but in terms of operational concepts and joint war," the officer said. "This drill was about the engineers, the technology developers and all the smart people from industry checking algorithms and processes to ensure that our architecture is integrated to the point that one plus one equals more than two."
Nearly six months in the planning, the five-day drill involved IMDO, the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and US European Command, and it aimed to validate the integrated architecture of all US and Israeli active defense assets deployed or soon to be deployed in the event of sustained rocket and missile attacks on Israel.
US assets included Aegis ships and SM-3 interceptors; the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), Patriot Pac-3 systems and the US AN/TPY-2, a forward-deployed X-band radar providing Israel additional early warning in the event of long-range, heavy rocket attack from Iran.
Integrated into the American network were the mid- and upper-tier layers of Israel's active defense network, including the new David's Sling, latest block versions of the operational Arrow-2 and the planned Arrow-3 intercepting systems.
In a joint July 6 statement, IMDO and the Pentagon's MDA said simulated test scenarios consisted of "multiple missile and rocket attacks… against Israel with both United States and Israel successfully employing, engaging and destroying the simulated incoming threats."
The statement added that the war game "demonstrated the United States' commitment for the protection of Israel as well as the interoperability between the United States and Israeli integrated defense system architecture."
The Israeli officer said that teams from both countries would meet again within two or three months for a more in-depth review of data collected during the five-day drill. Based on preliminary data, he said US and Israeli air defenders were indeed able to receive a continuous and full situational picture based on shared information.
"That's the beauty of interoperability. When the two eyes in your head are not properly connected to your brain, you can't operate properly. … But in this case, both sides had full three-dimensional vision," the Navy captain said.
He added that both sides are committed to not waiting another eight years for the next intensive IGT technology drill, but that scheduling would be events-driven, based on need to validate new systems and block models of existing systems.