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The IDF built Palmachim Air Base during the 1970s as a missile test site, although officially the base station’s IAF helicopters. 1
Palmachim serves as the primary test site for Israel’s Jericho II ballistic missiles and Arrow missile defense systems. 2 According to Jane’s, the base’s missile operations are top secret. 3 The facilities are only 1km from Highway 4 and the town of Yavne.
Shavit SLVs launch Ofeq reconnaissance satellites from this location as well. Unlike the missile operations, Shavit launches are publicly acknowledged. All launches from Palmachim are aimed west toward the Mediterranean Sea in order to prevent rocket debris from landing onto the territories of Israel’s eastern neighbors. 4 Accordingly, Israel sends its Ofeq satellites into a west-to-east retrograde orbit. 5
More recently, Palmachim has become home to four IAF drone squadrons as well as the army’s drone training program. 6
The IDF deployed the first Arrow II weapons system battery at Palmachim Air Force Base. 7
- “Palmachim/Palmikhim/Yavne,” GlobalSecurity.org, 19 March 2010, www.globalsecurity.org.
- “Arrow Weapon System (AWS),” Jane’s Land-Based Air Defence, 11 November 2009; “Jericho 1/2/3 (YA-1/YA-3),” Jane’s Strategic Weapon Systems, 3 August 2009.
- “Palmachim Air Force Base,” Jane’s Space Systems and Industry, 7 October 2009.
- “Israel Missile Update - 2000,” The Risk Report 6, no. 6, November to December 2000, www.wisconsinproject.org.
- “Shavit/Leolink,” Jane’s Strategic Weapon Systems, 24 March 2010.
- “Palmachim: an airbase within a nature reserve,” Jerusalem Post, 18 September 2021.
- “Eastern Mediterranean, Strategic Weapons Systems,” Jane’s Sentinel Security Assessment, 18 March 2010.