The IAF Aerial Defense Division and U.S Army training exercise has come to an end. “Juniper Cobra” is considered to be the largest IDF-U.S cooperation. Here are some moments we captured from the exercise which employed over 4,000 officers, NCOs and soldiers from both Israel & U.S.A

Tal Giladi | Translation: Ohad Zeltzer Zubida

The “Juniper Cobra” training exercise took place over the course of a few weeks in which forces from the Israeli Aerial Defense Division and United States European Command forces trained side by side. This is the “Flagship” exercise of the Aerial Defense Division in the current training year and is the peak of cooperation between the two sides, which both signed an agreement which determines that in time of emergency the Americans will come to assist Israel in the mission of missile defense.
Many elements from the IDF and the IAF took part in the exercise. This participation made the cooperative exercise possible. In the exercise, protocols were updated and dynamics between the crews was improved.

"Juniper Cobra" 2016

Photography: Ayelet Eder

"Juniper Cobra" 2016

Photography: Mor Zidon

This year, the exercise took place for the eight time and many of its Israeli organizers and trainees have been taking part in it since its establishment, unlike the American officers who change every two years. “Throughout the years, the exercise has evolved on many levels”, said a reserve officer who has been taking part in the exercise since 2004. “There is now an understanding of the necessity of this cooperation, especially with the mediation mechanisms, which operate to mediate the cultural gaps between the Americans and Israelis. While the Americans operate according to very strict commands, the Israeli tendency is flexibility. As years pass, you learn to work together and have the cooperation flow and work smoothly”. In addition to the tightening of the relationship, stand the many geo-political changes the Middle-East is undergoing, a theater that the “partner” studies in the exercise from end to end.

"Juniper Cobra" 2016

Photography: Ayelet Eder

"Juniper Cobra" 2016

Photography: Mor Zidon

"Juniper Cobra" 2016

Photography: Yakir Huri

Rockets, launchers and weapon system become meaningless without human interference and the excellent communication between people and the understanding that mutual trust is above all, lead the “Juniper Cobra” exercise. In a special ceremony, Col. Yoni Sayda Marom, Commander of the Active Defense Wing in the Israeli Aerial Defense Division, was awarded the “Order of Saint Barbara” by the Air Defense Artillery Branch. The Order is awarded to individuals who demonstrate the highest standards of integrity and moral character, display an outstanding degree of professional competence, served the Artillery with selflessness and contributed to the promotion of the Artillery branch. Saint Barbara is regarded as patron saint of combatants going to battle from the forces of nature and battles against enemies.

"Juniper Cobra" 2016

Photography: Mor Zidon

"Juniper Cobra" 2016

Photography: Mor Zidon

The busy weeks of high intensity training were preceded by many months of preparation. Between designing the exercise’s contents, through analysis of intelligence evaluations and administrative and logistic work, we prepare in the economic aspect as well. The Budget Department, which is responsible for managing the exercise’s budgets, took on the complex and unique mission. “An important aspect of the exercise is budgetary management”, said Capt. Ilan Kazir, income and assistance officer in the Budget Department. “The JC is a large exercise with a budget scope of millions of shekels which requires meticulous planning with the goal of an economically stable exercise for the IAF”.

“Being that the ‘Juniper Cobra’ is a comprehensive exercise and many units take part in it, the department faces many budgetary challenges such as: infrastructure construction, single vendor certifications and work while facing changing demands from the ‘partner’ which needs to be executed in a short time”, elaborated Capt. Ilan. “As a result, synchronized work between every participant is required, the Americans, the exercise directorate, the Ministry of Defense’s Finance Department, the Budget Department, the Construction Unit’s on base that establish the sites on the ground, Operations and more. The exercise involves multiple factors and the more people there are, the mission of budgetary management becomes more complicated”.

"Juniper Cobra" 2016

Photography: Mor Zidon

"Juniper Cobra" 2016

Photography: Mor Zidon