The Israeli Air Force conducted successful live-fire tests of its Patriot and Iron Dome missile defense systems on Tuesday, the IDF said in a statement.
“Air defense soldiers from the Israeli Air Force conducted successful interceptions of targets at various heights and ranges,” the IDF Spokesperson said.
According to the IAF website, the participating elements were a battery from the 139th “Yahalom” (Patriot) Battalion and a battery from the 137th “Iron Dome” Battalion.
The exercise, carried out in central Israel, was intended to test the preparedness of the military’s air defense and technical units as well as the anti-missile defense batteries themselves.
“This was a routine test planned as part of the yearly training program, meant to examine the system and the combatants’ preparedness,” said Maj. Guy Ben Ze'ev, the test leader. “At the same time, we drilled additional challenging scenarios in order to shed light on the systems’ new, yet unexamined capabilities.”
The test was also meant to increase the range of aerial threats the weapon systems are capable of intercepting. As part of the test, the “Yahalom” weapon system drilled a new scenario, which it had never tried before. “From time to time we examine the fitness of our crews and systems according to pre-designated goals,” elaborated Maj. Ben Ze’ev. “The goal is to face our service members with a challenge and ensure that they're prepared for the various scenarios the Air Defense Array might encounter.”
Addressing the Iron Dome system, Maj. Ben Ze’ev said the air force is “developing a new version of the system, and wanted to make sure that it would be operationally integrated and utilized properly in the IAF.”
The Iron Dome system is intended to intercept and neutralize short-range projectiles and mortar shells, as well as limited aircraft. The Patriot air defense system is designed to intercept longer-range incoming aircraft as well as long-range ballistic missiles.
Two foreign military delegations were present for the tests, the IDF said, without revealing the names of the countries. “The delegations came to watch the exercise and to study its results,” the IDF said. “The delegations will take part in a panel discussion that will focus on professional matters and inter-military cooperation.”
According to the IDF, the exercise was part of the military’s annual training schedule.