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Israel deploys anti-aircraft battery as part of aerial defense drill (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Gili Cohen 04/10/12)Source: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-deploys-anti-aircraft-battery-as-part-of-aerial-defense-drill-1.423449 HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
The Israel Air Force deployed an anti-ballistic missile system near the northern city of Haifa last week, Israel´s Channel 10 reported on Monday, as part of a larger aerial defense drill.

According to the report, the Patriot missile battery was set up in a site near Haifa University on the eve of Passover, indicating that this specific system was designed to target aircraft, as opposed to rockets.

The Israel Defense Forces´ Spokesman´s Office said in response to the report that it does not "comment on operational deployment."

The drill came, however, as air force officials identify an extensive aerial armament process throughout the Middle East, which includes the purchasing of advanced aircraft and technology.

Among others, these purchases include Syria´s purchase of billions of dollars worth of planes and radar systems.

IAF officials have stated in the past that some of these enhancements challenge Israel´s aerial superiority, while, at the same time, cutting back on the IAF´s technological regional command.

Last month, the IDF deployed an Iron Dome battery at three different sites in the Tel Aviv area beginning, as it prepares for the acquisition of a fourth battery of the anti-rocket system.

Three batteries have already been actively deployed in the southern cities of Ashkelon, Ashdod and Be´er Sheva. The deployment in Tel Aviv is intended to test the effectiveness of the battery in different areas, the IDF said.

During a joint U.S.-Israel aerial defense exercise in 2010, nicknamed "Juniper Cobra," the IAF drilled its older Patriot PAC- 1system, designed to target aircraft only. It was the same model deployed across Israel during the Gulf War, in an attempt to deal with the more advanced Scud missiles.

Currently, the IAF mostly operates the more advanced PAC-2 systems, which can also intercept rocket fire.

The next major joint Israel-U.S. drill, AC-12, is due to take place at the beginning of October. Officials in Israel´s aerial defense corps call the exercise a "major component in enhancing combat preparedness." (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz 04/10/12)

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