The U.S. and Israeli militaries have concluded their biggest-yet bilateral missile defense exercise, Agence France-Presse reported on Wednesday.
"Yesterday, the U.S. European Command and the Israel Defense Forces successfully concluded Austere Challenge 2012, a large-scale air defense exercise that included both field training and command post simulations," according to an Israeli armed forces statement.
The much-anticipated three-week drill saw personnel from both nations receive preparation in the operation of U.S. Patriot missile interceptors, Israel's Iron Dome system and Arrow missile interception technology that is a collaborative project by the allies.
Approximately 1,000 Israeli military personnel and 3,500 U.S. troops took part in the drill, which was anticipated to come with a $38 million price tag. Washington and Tel Aviv are sharing the cost on a 75 percent-25 percent split
Israel has used its Iron Dome system in recent days to counter rockets being fired from Gaza during an escalating conflict with Hamas.