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Israel’s Secretive ‘Doomsday’ Nuclear Arsenal: Jericho Missile System

Israel’s Secretive ‘Doomsday’ Nuclear Arsenal: Jericho Missile System

The Jericho missile system, developed by Israel, has been a topic of discussion following an Israeli legislator’s calls for the use of a “doomsday” weapon against Hamas and Palestine. The Jericho missile program was initiated in the 1960s and has since evolved to include the Jericho-1, Jericho-2, and Jericho-3 models.

The Jericho missile system is Israel’s original ballistic missile program, named after the biblical city located in the West Bank. It was initially a collaboration with the French aerospace company Dassault, but when France withdrew in 1969, Israel continued its development.

The first operational model, Jericho-1, was used during the Yom Kippur War in 1973. It had a weight of 6.5 tons, a length of 13.4 meters, and a diameter of 0.8 meters. The Jericho-1 had a range of 500 kilometers (approximately 310.6 miles) and could carry a 1,000-kilogram (about 2,205-pound) payload. However, it only had a 50 percent chance of hitting within a 1,000-meter radius of its target. The Jericho-1 was retired in the 1990s.

Israel later developed the Jericho-2, a longer-range missile, in the late 1980s. It had a length of 15 meters and a diameter of 1.35 meters, while maintaining the same payload capacity as the Jericho-1. The Jericho-2 had a range between 1,500 and 3,500 kilometers (about 932 to 2,175 miles).

The Jericho-3, an intermediate-range system, was introduced years later and reportedly tested in 2008 before entering service in 2011. It featured improvements over the previous models, with a longer length and a larger diameter of 1.56 meters. The Jericho-3 had a single warhead weighing approximately 750 kilograms (1,653 pounds) and a range of 4,800 to 6,500 kilometers (about 2,983 to 4,039 miles). Its payload capacity extended to about 1,300 kilograms (2,866 pounds).

It is yet unclear if the Jericho-3 has been deployed by Israel during the ongoing retaliatory offensive against Hamas in Gaza.

Overall, the Jericho missile system represents Israel’s capability to possess long-range ballistic missiles, which has raised concerns about the potential use of nuclear weapons in the region.

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