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Jericho 2

An improved version of the Jericho, 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. 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. Also, longer-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. 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.

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