The United States and Israel are scheduled on Oct. 21 to begin their biggest-ever bilateral ballistic missile defense exercise, an unidentified Israeli army insider told the Jerusalem Post.
The three-week Austere Challenge 12 drill was delayed from an earlier scheduled date in the spring over concerns it would further exacerbate the troubles with Iran.
U.S. military personnel are anticipated on Sunday to start entering Israel, where they will begin preparing air defense systems on land and on U.S. warships floating near the small Middle Eastern nation.
The massive missile defense exercise is expected to cover a number of situations in which air defense and antimissile capabilities would come into play and to conclude with the interception of a dummy incoming Patriot missile.
The quick mobilization of U.S. antimissile assets to defend Israel and their ability to smoothly coordinate with Israeli missile defenses in a battle situation will be closely examined during the exercise.
An Israeli military spokesman said the coming maneuvers "form part of the routine [U.S.-Israeli] training program, aimed at improving mutual operations."