Last Updated: January 1, 2011
Other Name: Yavne; Palmachim Air Force Base
Location: Yavne, Israel
Subordinate To: Israel Defense Forces
Size: Unknown
Facility Status: Operational

The IDF built Palmachim Air Base during the 1970s as a missile test site, although officially the base station's IAF helicopters. [1]

Launch Site

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 publically 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]

Missile Defense

The IDF deployed the first Arrow II weapons system battery at Palmachim Air Force Base. [6]

[1] "Palmachim/Palmikhim/Yavne,", 19 March 2010,
[2] "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.
[3] "Palmachim Air Force Base," Jane's Space Systems and Industry, 7 October 2009.
[4] "Israel Missile Update - 2000," The Risk Report 6, no. 6, November to December 2000,
[5] "Shavit/Leolink," Jane's Strategic Weapon Systems, 24 March 2010.
[6] "Eastern Mediterranean, Strategic Weapons Systems," Jane's Sentinel Security Assessment, 18 March 2010.

Country Profile
Flag of Israel

This article provides an overview of Israel's historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.

Learn More →

This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2019.