The US Central Command (CENTCOM) together with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have commenced the multi-domain bilateral exercise, Juniper Oak 23.2.

The exercise is being held in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea region and Israel.

It aims to bolster readiness and interoperability between the two nations’ forces to further strengthen regional stability and security. 

CENTCOM commander general Michael Kurilla said: “Consistent with CENTCOM’s strategic approach of People, Partners, and Innovation, we are committed to strengthening military-to-military relations throughout the region.

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“Juniper Oak is a Combined Joint All-Domain exercise which improves interoperability on land, in air, at sea, in space and in cyberspace with our partners, enhances our ability to respond to contingencies, and underscores our commitment to the Middle East.”

This year, Juniper Oak involves participation of 12 naval vessels, 140 air assets as well as multi-domain forces, including naval forces, Special Operations Forces, infantry forces.

Among the 140 participating aircraft are F-35 fighter jets, F-16 Fighting Falcon, FA-18 Hornet aircraft, B-52 strategic bombers, F-15 jets, tanker aircraft, AC-130 aircraft, AH-64 Apache rotary wing aircraft and other space force assets. 

The High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems and Multiple Launch Rocket Systems have also been deployed for the exercise.

As part of the exercise, the participating US-Israeli assets will together be engaged in a large-scale live fire activity joint command-and-control missions, combat search and rescue operations, air operations in maritime surface warfare and other electronic attack scenarios.

It also includes drills to practice suppression of enemy’s air defence, air interdiction and strike coordination and reconnaissance missions.

Kurilla added: “These kinds of exercises – which CENTCOM routinely conducts with our partners – develop interoperability between military forces, increase military capabilities, and are important to the security and stability of the region.”