Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States
Appendix III: Unclassified Working Papers
North Africa/Israel: Seth Carus and Dov Zakheim
April 6, 1998
On April 6, 1998, System Planning Corporation (SPC) hosted a roundtable
discussion for the Rumsfeld Commission to discuss the ballistic missile
threat to the United States from Israel, Libya and Egypt. Dr. Seth Carus of
the National Defense University led the discussion. Dr. Dov Zakheim of SPC
also participated. The following is a summary of the meeting, and
highlights key areas of consensus.
Israel's ballistic missile program dates back to several missile and rocket
programs in the late 1950's and early 1960's. Israel's military research
and development establishment developed two missiles: the Luz, with a range
of 27 km, and the Shavit II rocket, an experimental system.
Zakheim and Carus agreed that the Jericho I was Israel's first true
ballistic missile program. They both asserted that little is known about
the system, and that there is considerable debate about the range and
payload specifications of the system. Some have stated that the missile has
a range of 260 km, while others assert that it could be as great as 750 km.
It is generally agreed that Israel has or had between 50-100 Jericho I
missiles and that it was designed as a nuclear delivery vehicle.
The participants also agreed that Israel initiated development of a follow
on to the Jericho I, the Jericho II in 1985. The Israelis initiated a
series of test launches of this missile into the Mediterranean between May
1987 and March 1992. These missiles were tested to a range of 1300 km (800
miles), although little is known about the payload specifications during
It is believed that this missile is more accurate than the Jericho I. It is
also believed that the missile is very similar to the Pershing II missile,
and that it has a radar terminal guidance system. It is unknown how many
Jericho II missiles Israel has deployed, and whether they are armed with
Jericho II B
There are reports that Israel is building a follow on to the Jericho II,
the Jericho II B, also known as the Jericho III. This missile could carry a
1000 kg payload to a range of 2,800 km.
Carus noted that Israel has derived much of its ballistic missile
technology from its space launch program, particularly from the Shavit
space launch vehicle. It appears that the Jericho II's first two stages are
identical to the Shavit's. Carus also concluded that a ballistic missile
based on the design of the Shavit's first two stages could carry a 900 kg
payload to a range of 4,850 km (3,000 miles), and a 500 kg payload to 7,600
km (4,700 miles). Both of the participants agreed, however, that Israel
will probably not attempt to develop a missile with a range beyond that of
the Jericho II B. There are no strategic advantages to do this.
Israel's ballistic missile programs have been aided by French and American
technology acquired during the 1960's and 1970's.
The participants also agreed that there is evidence of Israeli-South
African cooperation. South Africa's ballistic missile program, code named
Arniston by the CIA, was an advanced version of the Jericho I. Moreover,
there is speculation that South Africa has provided Israel with a
test-range for its ballistic missile programs. The participants agreed that
this cooperation could still be ongoing.
Carus also spoke of possible Israeli-Iranian cooperation during the late
1970's. In 1978 and 1979, Israel and Iran were negotiating weapons
cooperation agreements with the Israelis on surface-to-surface weapons
systems, anti-ship cruise missiles, and a version of the Jericho missile
with a 750 kg warhead. There is no evidence suggesting that this
cooperation continued after the Iranian revolution.
Carus provided a brief examination of Libya's past efforts to acquire
ballistic missiles. Both Carus and Zakheim concluded that Libya does not
have the infrastructure to support a missile program without foreign
assistance. The nation has dubious research, development and testing
capabilities. In addition, considering that the nation is small (2 million
people) and relatively poor, they have a limited capability to obtain the
required infrastructure to develop ballistic missiles. Although there has
been some talk of Iraqi assistance, this cooperation may be occurring on a
very limited basis.
The participants agreed that Egypt's ballistic missile program dates back
to the late 1950's. Egypt's efforts to generate its first type of ballistic
missile system proved unsuccessful, largely because Israeli intelligence
forces eliminated many of their scientists and technicians. Egypt was also
a participant in the Condor program, a joint venture between Egypt,
Argentina and Iraq. It appears that Egypt acquired some of the Condor's
technology off the other two nations' efforts without expending its own
Egypt has started to develop the infrastructure to develop ballistic
missiles, however. Egypt has developed a ballistic missile with North Korea
that appears to be a modified Scud B or C. In fact, Carus concluded that
much of the DPRK's ballistic missile program was developed in conjunction
Carus concluded that Egypt will not present a threat to the United States
by 2015. It simply does not have the technical and industrial
infrastructure to develop a long-range ballistic missile without "major"
amounts of foreign assistance. Carus argued that Israel does not need an
ICBM to address its security concerns. Its current missile programs have
been designed to garner prestige and respect in the Arab world, and to keep
the attention of the Israelis.