The Jericho II is a road-mobile, two-stage, solid-propellant missile with an approximate range of 1,500 kilometers and a reported payload of 1,000 kilograms. It is generally believed that the missile has been given a nuclear mission, and it is difficult to imagine any other role given the missile's characteristics, which dramatically increase the number of targets falling within range of the missile relative to the earlier Jericho 1. The Jericho 2 reportedly has enhanced accuracy, and puts most Arab capitals and the southern areas of the former Soviet Union within striking distance from Israel.
Developed in the mid-1970's to early 1980's as a successort to the Jericho I, according to some reports the Jericho II was first flight-tested in 1986. Other accounts suggest that the first test of the Jericho II was noted by Western intelligence in May 1987. The missile traveled a distance of 850 km into the Mediterranean. A second test occurred in September 1988, near the time of Israel's Offeq-1 satellite launch. In September 1989, a Jericho 2 missile was fired into the Mediterranean and travelled 1,300 km.
In addition to its basic inertial guidance, it is purported to have some terminal guidance capability for increased accuracy. According to Jane's, the South African Arniston missile may be closely related to the Jericho II, with the latter having possibly been te recipient of significant funding from South Africa. Long range tests of the missile may have been conducted in South Africa. This model has been successfully tested several times and is now operational and deployed.
Some reports claim there are two separate missile systems under development, the Jericho 2 with a 800 km range and the Jericho 2B with an extended 1,500 km range. The range of this missile is frequently reported as about 1,500 km with a 1,000 kg payload, but other estimates suggest that it is capable of a much longer range.
Israel has launched satellites into earth orbit using its indigenously produced Shavit launch vehicle. Some analysts have speculated that the Jericho II is simply is the first two stages of the Shavit SLV. The Shavit is a 3-stage solid launcher. The two first stages are identical with a composite structure with a weight of approximately 13 tons. The third stage, built by Raphael, is spherical with a titanium structure. It weighs 2 tons and its 60 kN motor burns during 92.5 seconds.
Following the launch of the first Offeq satellite, scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory reportedly calculated that the Shavit "could transport a nuclear warhead a minimum of 5,300 km" if deployed as a ballistic missile, and analysts at the Defense Department estimated a range of 7,200 km for the missile, with an unspecified payload capacity. In July 1990, Steve Fetter, a physicist at the University of Maryland, calculated the payload and range parameters of the Shavit, based on data about the two Offeq launches provided in the press. He found that if the Shavit were deployed as a ballistic missile it could deliver a 775-kg payload a distance of 4,000 km, putting the whole of the Middle East (and a large part of the former Soviet Union) within striking distance.
Israel successfully carried out a secret launch of the Jericho II medium-range ballistic missile on 27 June 2001. The test took place at the Palmahim missile range south of Tel Aviv.
The Jericho 1 and 2 are deployed near Sedot Mikha in the Judean foothills, about 23 km east of Jerusalem (and about 40 km southeast of Tel Aviv). The facility is located a few kilometers to the southeast of Tel Nof air base.
|Warhead Type||Conventional, chemical, or nuclear|
|Number Deployed||~50 missiles (reported)|
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