Jericho 1

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Jericho 1 was a short-ranged, solid-fueled ballistic missile developed and produced by Israel. Israel’s first nuclear capable missile, it was retired from service during the 1990’s.1

Jericho 1 at a Glance

Originated from
Israel, France
Possessed by
Alternate names
YA-1, MD-620
Short-range ballistic missile (SRBM)
TEL vehicle, silo-based, railcar-based
13.72 m
0.8 m
Launch weight
6,700 kg
Single warhead
High explosive, nuclear
Two-stage solid propellant
500 – 720 km
In service
1973 – 1990s

Jericho 1 Development

The Jericho 1 is thought to have entered development in 1962 with the assistance of the French company Marcel-Dassault.2 The missile, given the designator YA-1, is based on Dassault’s design, the MD-620.3 Approximately 16 test launches took place between 1965 and 1968, of which 10 were successful.4 After initially receiving 14 Jericho 1 missiles from France, Israel domestically produced approximately 50 additional missiles between 1971 and 1978.5 The Jericho 1 was Israel’s first nuclear capable missile.6 The missile entered service in 1973.7

Jericho 1 Specifications

The Jericho 1 had a range of 500 km, with a payload of up to 650 kg. It was 13.4 m long, with a 0.8 m diameter, and a total launch weight of 6,700 kg.8 The missile used a two-stage solid propellant engine and could be launched from a railroad flat truck or a TEL vehicle. The Jericho could carry a payload of up to 650 kg, reportedly equipped with a 450 kg high explosive warhead, a 20 kT nuclear warhead, or potentially a chemical warhead.9 The missile reportedly has an accuracy of 1,000 m CEP.10

The range on the Jericho 1 was sufficient to strike major cities such as Damascus and Cairo from secured launch locations.11

Jericho 1 Service History

The Jericho 1 missiles were housed in Zacharia, located south-west of Tel Aviv and stationed in underground caves. Although the Jericho 1 missiles have been taken out of service, it is suspected that at least 90 Jericho 2 missiles remained at this site.12

It is believed that Israel took all Jericho 1 missiles out of service in the 1990’s and replaced with the longer-range Jericho 2.13


    1. James O’Halloran, IHS Jane’s Weapons: Strategic 2015-2016, 2015, (United Kingdom: IHS), 52.
    2. O’Halloran, 52.
    3. Dassault Aviation, “MD 620 Jericho”, 2013,
    4. Nuclear Threat Initiative, “Israel: Missile”, November 2012,
    5. O’Halloran, 53.
    6. Bulletin of Peace Proposals, “Nuclear Weapons in the Middle East,” Vol.7(4), 371.
    7. Global, “Jericho 1” 2016,
    8. Global, “Jericho 1”, 2016,
    9. Federation of American Scientists, “Jericho 1”, June 20, 2000,
    10. O’Halloran, 53.
    11. Nuclear Threat Initiative, “Israel: Missile”, November 2012,
    12. Ibid.
    13. O’Halloran, 52.
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Missile Defense Project, "Jericho 1," Missile Threat, Center for Strategic and International Studies, May 12, 2017, last modified April 23, 2024,