As part of ongoing exercises between the Israeli Air Force and the U.S. Central Command, American B-52 strategic bombers will drop live ammunition on targets in southern Israel on Wednesday.
Channel 12 news on Tuesday evening, without citing a source, said the targets in the Negev Desert simulated Iran’s nuclear facilities. The network said the bombers would drop 100 tons of bunker-destroying explosives, but this also did not mention the source.
However, American officials who told American media said there were no mock-ups of Iranian targets during the drills and that the exercises were not aimed at any particular adversary and were intended to send a message to Iran and China. He said that
The Israel Defense Forces did not explain the exercises to reporters at all, other than a brief statement announcing the start of military exercises with additional details shortly after CENTCOM did.
IDF does not plan to issue any statement or media until the exercise is completed only after CENTCOM has officially completed the exercise.
A hype video released by CENTCOM on Tuesday showed various military activities as part of an exercise called Juniper Oaks 2023.
Juniper Oak 23.2 is just the beginning… pic.twitter.com/DN8tVsGT3D
— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) January 24, 2023
The US-led exercise involving more than 140 aircraft, 12 naval vessels and artillery systems from both countries is expected to conclude later this week, according to both IDF and CENTCOM.
A senior Pentagon official said the exercise shows that Washington is less distracted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s threat to mobilize large-scale military forces against adversaries such as Iran. said it was intended to
In its statement, CENTCOM said the military will conduct joint command and control, air operations in naval surface warfare, combat search and rescue, electronic strikes, suppression of enemy air defenses, attack coordination and reconnaissance, and air interdiction.
Of the 142 aircraft that took part in the exercise, 100 were American-made, and US media reported four B-52 strategic bombers, four F-35 fighters, 45 F/A-18 fighters, an MQ It reportedly included two -9 Reaper drones.
CENTCOM said F-15 and F-16 fighter jets, AC-130 gunships, Apache helicopters and other rescue and refueling aircraft, including the Boeing KC-46, which Israel plans to receive in 2025, will also participate.
The Israel Defense Forces said the aircraft would run “various scenarios”, including attack targets simulating naval threats and US bombers dropping live ammunition over southern Israel.
The 12 naval vessels that participated in the exercise included six Israeli naval vessels and six U.S. vessels, the latter including a carrier strike group.
The IDF said Israeli Navy Saar 5-class corvettes and submarines will participate in the exercise. Corvettes will be refueled from American supply tankers during the exercise, which it said would “expand the IDF’s range and operational domain in routine and contingency situations.”
CENTCOM and IDF said the training would include infantry and special forces, as well as high-mobility artillery rocket systems and multiple-launch rocket systems.
About 6,400 US personnel will join 1,100 Israeli personnel in the exercise. Senior CENTCOM commanders, including its chief executive, Michael Crilla, observe the drill.
An official who spoke to a US outlet said it was “the most significant exercise ever between the US and Israel” and the number of aircraft and personnel involved was enormous.
He said the exercises would not target any specific country, but regional adversaries like Iran would take notice. We may draw certain inferences,” an official told NBC News.
“This is primarily intended to kick a tire about Israel and its ability to do things on this scale against various threats. It wouldn’t surprise me to see what the two of us can do.
Israel regularly conducts various training exercises with US forces in the country, including air force exercises and missile defense drills.
In November, the IDF and US forces conducted a series of joint aerial exercises to simulate attacks on Iran and its regional terrorist proxies.
Then-IDF Director Aviv Kohabi said at the time that joint operations with US forces in the Middle East would be “significantly expanded.”