Jericho 3 is a solid-fueled intermediate-range ballistic missile developed and produced by Israel to replace its older Jericho 2 ballistic missiles. It was first tested in 2008, and entered service in 2011.1
Jericho 3 at a Glance
- Originated from
- Possessed by
- Alternate names
- Intermediate-range Ballistic Missile (IRBM)
- TEL vehicle, silo-based, railcar-based
- 15.5 – 16.0 m
- 1.56 m
- Launch weight
- 29,000 kg
- Single warhead
- High explosive, nuclear
- Three-stage solid propellant
- 4,800 – 6,500 km
- In service
- 2011 – present
Jericho 3 Development
Reports suggest that the Jericho 3 missile, also designated the YA-4, was first tested in January 2008 from the Palmachim flight center near Tel Aviv, with a subsequent motor test in February 2008.2 Another unconfirmed test was also reported in 2011.3 The Jericho 3 has an increased range from its predecessor. The missile’s entry into service in 2011 likely means that the Jericho 2 missiles will be phased out within the next ten years. 4
Further tests conducted in July 2013 could have been for the Jericho 3 or possibly the Jericho 3A missile, a follow up missile believed to have a new motor.5 Some speculate that Israel again tested the Jericho 3 in December 2019, when Israel announced a missile propulsion test after images of the launch appeared on social media.6
Jericho 3 Specifications
The Jericho 3 is an intermediate-range ballistic missile, although it is is unclear whether it has two or three stages. The missile is estimated to be between 15.5-16 m long and have a body diameter of 1.56 m. It has an estimated launch weight of 29,000 kg and payload of 1,000 to 1,300 kg.7 The missile is reportedly equipped with a 750 kg nuclear warhead with a yield between 150 and 400 kT.8 It is suspected that there are decoys included in the payload and several independently targeted RVs (if equipped with the smaller nuclear yield). It has a range of 4,800 to 6,500 km and uses inertial guidance with a radar guided warhead.9
These missiles are reportedly based in Zacharia, located south-west of Tel Aviv and stationed in underground caves.10
- James O’Halloran, IHS Jane’s Weapons: Strategic 2015-2016, 2015, (United Kingdom: IHS), 52.
- “Jericho III,” Military Today, March, 2017, http://www.military-today.com/missiles/jericho_3.htm.
- O’Halloran, 52.
- Nuclear Threat Initiative, “Israel,” November 2012, http://www.nti.org/learn/countries/israel/delivery-systems/.
- O’Halloran, 53.
- Anna Ahronheim, “IDF Tests Rocket Propulsion System,” Jerusalem Post, December 7, 2019, https://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/IDF-successfully-tests-new-rocket-propulsion-system-610073.
- O’Halloran, 53.
- Nuclear Threat Initiative.