IDF Holds Largest-Ever Patriot Air Defense Drill

Two battalions deploy Patriot air defense batteries in wartime positions as IDF prepares for rapid shift from routine to combat operations.

Patriot air defense system (Archive: Pixabay)

The IDF recently held a four-day exercise to test the deployment of Patriot air defense batteries across Israel. The drill, which was launched without advance notice, was the largest of its kind in the army’s history, the Air Force said.

During the exercise, the IDF mobilized two air defense battalions along with auxiliary Air Force troops and command centers.  

The drill was designed to boost Israel’s readiness for a military conflict by testing the shift from routine to emergency operations, a senior officer said. To simulate a war scenario, air defense units moved Patriot batteries from their storage locations and deployed them in wartime positions.

IDF preparing for surprise

During the four days, the battalions operated day and night with little sleep. The army said that the exercise was completed successfully but didn’t provide further details about the maneuvers performed by troops.

Notably, the latest drill followed a large Air Force exercise simulating an all-out war on the northern front.

The two surprise drills indicate that the IDF expects the next war to erupt quickly and possibly without early warning, and is therefore preparing forces for rapid transition from routine to combat operations.

Earlier, the IDF launched a large infantry drill to simulate fighting against Hezbollah in Lebanon. The IDF is also planning a huge, month-long military exercise later this year.