This annotated chronology is based on the data sources that follow each entry. Public sources often provide conflicting information on classified military programs. In some cases we are unable to resolve these discrepancies, in others we have deliberately refrained from doing so to highlight the potential influence of false or misleading information as it appeared over time. In many cases, we are unable to independently verify claims. Hence in reviewing this chronology, readers should take into account the credibility of the sources employed here.
Inclusion in this chronology does not necessarily indicate that a particular development is of direct or indirect proliferation significance. Some entries provide international or domestic context for technological development and national policymaking. Moreover, some entries may refer to developments with positive consequences for nonproliferation.
6 April 2000
Israel tests launches a Jericho-I missile off the Israeli coast that lands 64km from the US Navy Aegis cruiser Anzio, which is en route to a joint exercise with the IDF. U.S. Navy officials protest to Israeli officials regarding the proximity of the launch and the "no notice" missile launch policy implemented by the IDF.
--"U.S. Miffed at Jericho Missile Test," Jerusalem Post, 3 May 2000.
Israel is reported to have secretly carried out its first test-launches from two German-built Dolphin-class submarines of cruise missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. The missiles launched from vessels off the coast of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean are said to have hit a target at a range of about 1,500km. Israel is reported to possess a 200kg nuclear warhead, containing 6kg of plutonium that could be mounted on cruise missiles.
Israel is reportedly developing an air-launched cruise missile that could be operational by 2002, called the Popeye Turbo. The Popeye Turbo has an estimated range between 200-350km and is a turbo-jet powered cruise missile that incorporates avionics and other components developed for the Popeye family of missiles. The AGM-142 HAVE NAP is a variant of the Israeli Air Force Popeye missile, which uses a solid-propellant rocket motor. The Popeye II, also known as the Have Lite, is a smaller missile with more advanced technology. The Popeye II is designed for deployment on fighter aircraft and has a range of 150km.
The Popeye Turbo missile is likely similar, if not identical, to the Israeli submarine-launched cruise missile carried on the Dolphin-class submarines. The baseline Popeye missile has a range of 80km has a diameter of 21 inches, and is around 16 feet long.
The reported range of 1,500km for the SLCM tested is several times greater than the previously reported range for the Popeye Turbo. [Note: However, little is known about the Popeye Turbo and open source literature provides little information on this system.]
--Federation of American Scientists, "Special Weapons Systems, Israel, Popye," [undated],
Space Imaging Corporation satellite photos indicate Israeli nuclear facilities have not expanded considerably over the last 30 years. Before publication of the photos, international specialists had concluded that Israel had stockpiled approximately 400 nuclear warheads for its Jericho missiles. However, the Federation of American Scientists now estimates the warheads are not in excess of 200.
--David Horowitz "Satellite Sees Little Growth in Israel's Nuclear facility," Irish Times, 25 August 2000,
In its eighth test, the Arrow-2 hits and destroys a Black Sparrow target simulating a Scud flying towards the launch site, simulating a 300km-range ballistic missile attack. Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) declares that the system is ready for use.
--Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, "Israeli Missile Milestones," Risk Report (6) 2, November/December 2000,
The Arrow's radar detects the test of a Scud-D missile launched in eastern Syria.
--Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, "Israeli Missile Milestones," Risk Report (6) 2, November/December 2000,
The first batteries of the Arrow-2 system are declared operational.
--Jane's Strategic Weapons Systems 36, "Defensive Weapons, Israel, Arrow," 12 November 2001,
An unnamed Israeli Defense Forces source confirms the suspected link between the Jericho missile and the Shavit satellite launch vehicle stating that the "Shavit is Jericho." [Note: This revelation confirms years of speculation from international experts.]
--"Israel's Triad Could Deter TBM Attacks," Jane's Missiles & Rockets, June 2001,
Israel conducts a Jericho-II flight test from the Palmachim flight-test center near Tel Aviv.
--Jane's Strategic Weapon Systems 36, "Offensive Weapons, Israel, Jericho I/2 (YA-1/YA-3)," 24 July 2001,
26 June 2001
Israel successfully places its newest and most secret spy satellite, Ofek 5, in orbit an estimated 1000km above earth. The launch is conducted from the Shavit SLV and takes place at a site near the Palmachim Air Force base on the Mediterranean coast, west of Rishon Lezion and Rehovoth. The "brilliant flash and sparkling tail" is witnessed by thousands of motorists driving south and east on highways out of Tel Aviv, and gives rise to rumors of a Jericho-II launch. What witnesses actually see is the boost phase of the Ofek-5 by the Shavit.
--"DEBKA Military Sources: Israel Successfully Launched Secret Spy Satellite," DEBKA-Net-Weekly, in FBIS GMP20010706000093, 5 July 2001.
27 August 2001
Israel conducts a test of the Arrow-2 anti-ballistic missile system at the Palmachin airbase.
--Encyclopedia Astronautica, "Arrow-2,"
12 October 2003
A Los Angeles Times report discloses that Israel has modified US-supplied Harpoon cruise missiles to carry nuclear warheads on submarines. US officials disclose the information "to caution Israel's enemies at a time of heightened tensions in the region [because of the US-British invasion of Iraq] and concern over Iran's alleged [nuclear weapons] ambitions." [Note: It is unclear from the report whether US and Israeli officials were responding to the Times report or the revelations by the officials came first.]
--Douglas Frantz, "Israel Adds Fuel to Nuclear Fire," Los Angeles Times, 12 October 2003,
16 December 2003
Israel successfully conducts a test of the Arrow weapon system. It is the eleventh Arrow interceptor test and the sixth test of the complete weapon system. The test objectives are to demonstrate the system's improved performance including a higher altitude interception of an incoming target. According to Israeli Aircraft Industries, "the target trajectory demonstrated an operational scenario against the state of Israel and all the system components performed in their operational configuration." The target is air launched toward the Israeli coast. Working in operational configuration, the Fire Control Radar (FCR) acquires the target and sends data to the Battle Management Center (BMC). A defense plan was issued and a mission command sent to the launcher. The interceptor performs successfully and the target is intercepted.
--Israeli Aircraft Industries, "Successful Arrow Test," 16 December 2003,
3 March 2004
Israel's state-owned defense contractor, Israel Aircraft Industries, reports that it successfully tested a solid-fuel, long range guided missile in the Mediterranean Sea. The missile is meant to destroy targets such as surface-to-air missiles, air defense units, and command and control sites.
--"Israel Tests New Missile," United Press International, 3 March 2004.
19 May 2004
The Israel Defense Forces announce that it has over the two previous days successfully tested Patriot and Hawk missiles at an Israel Air Force base in central Israel. The tests were intended to check recent technological refinements on the two missiles, which are become part of Israel's air defense.
--"IAF Conducts 'Patriot' and 'Hawk' Missile Test," Globes Online, 19 May 2004.
9 June 2004
Jane's Defense Weekly reports that Israel has developed its first surface-to-surface cruise missile with a range of over 180 miles. The Delilah-GL (ground launch) is a derivation of the Delilah, an air-launched Israeli missile.
--"Report: Israel Develops its First Cruise Missile," Associated Press, 9 June 2004.
29 July 2004
Israel successfully tests the Arrow II anti-ballistic missile at the Point Magu Sea Range in California. The test utilizes a confiscated Iraqi Scud missile as the target for the Arrow II. The arrow program is half funded by the United States.
--"Israel Says Anti-Missile Missile Successfully Test-Fired in US," Agence France Presse, 29 July 2004.
27 August 2004
Israeli officials defend a failed test of the Arrow II anti-ballistic missile system. The test, which was carried out in California, involved a simulation of weapons similar to those possessed by Syria and Iran. In this particular test, the incoming weapons were not successfully intercepted. The Associated Press reports that this is the 13th interception test of the Arrow II system.
--"Israelis Defend Missile Failure," BBC News, 27 August 2004.
The United States and Israel secretly test the Arrow anti-ballistic missile in California over the previous two months. The test is reportedly successful for the most part except for a failure to down one Scud-D missile in August.
--"Egyptian Columnist on US-Israeli Arrow Antiballistic Missile System, Test Success," Al-Ahram, 2 September 2004, in FBIS Document GMP20040906000003.
27 September 2004
Israel’s director of Israel Aircraft Industries’ Arrow project Boaz Levi claims that Israel has been safe from ballistic missile attack since the Arrow missile system was received by the Israel Defense Forces four years earlier. He also states that recent test failures of the Arrow system were due to specific and momentary malfunction of an intercepting component.
--"Israel Safe from Ballistic Missiles, Says Arrow Project Director," BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 27 September 2004.
Israel plans to develop anti-Qassam missiles in order to contain the attacks at Sederot. The new missiles will be different from the Arrow and other types of missiles. The Qassams are relatively small and difficult to intercept, making it necessary for a different kind of missile needed for defense.
--"Israel Plans To Develop 'Anti-Qassam Missile' To Thwart Attacks on Sederot," Ma'ariv, 4 October 2005, in FBIS Document GMP20041004000154.
6 October 2004
Former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani says that Iran has developed a missile capable of reaching Israel. The announcement follows Israel’s admission that it purchased 500 ‘bunker-buster’ bombs from the United States, regarded by some Iranians as a threat to Iran’s nuclear facilities. The new missile was paraded in Tehran the week before with a banner reading: "Israel must be wiped off the map."
--"New Iranian Missile ‘Can Reach Israel’," The Daily Telegraph (London), 6 October 2004.
In response to the Qassam rockets fired by Palestinian militants in recent months, Israel and the United States begin developing the Nautilus system. The Nautilus system fires laser beams in order to destroy Katyushas, rockets, and Qassams as well as mortar shells in the air.
--"Israel: Anti-Katyusha Laser Radar to Be Tested on Qassam Rockets," BBC, 21 December 2004.
The United States demands that Israel confiscate the Harpy unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from China that were sold in the 1990s and are now being returned to Israel for upgrading. The United States wants to see that the UAVs are only repaired and not upgraded. American demands stem from fears that these drones may threaten U.S. troops in Taiwan.
--"Israel's China-US weapons dilemma," United Press International, 29 December 2004
Israel and Indian defense ties are strengthened with such proposals as marketing for Hindustan Aeronautics-made MiG-21UM trainer jets, Heron UAVs, and Barak-II ship defense missiles. Other proposals include the upgrade of the Tu-142 maritime patrol planes in a tripartite agreement with Russia, the Lahat anti-tank missiles Crystal Maze laser-guided bombs, and the Pop-Eye beyond visual-range missiles.
--"JWG Meets, Israel to Try Out F16s Against SU-30s," Indian Express, 25 December 2004.
Israel develops a version of the Spike extended-range anti-tank missile called the Spike PBF. This new missile contains penetration, blast, and fragmentation capabilities.
--"Israel Develops New, Longer-Range Version of Spike Airborne Anti-Tank Missile," Middle East Newsline, 10 December 2004, in FBIS Document GMP20041213000169.
Israel hopes to get two new Dolphin-class submarines from Germany in the next year. Israel also hopes that Germany will finance the two subs in order to celebrate the 40[th] anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. These submarines are missile capable.
--"Israel hopes to secure submarine deal with Germany," Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 12 December 2004.
7 December 2004
Israel deploys Patriot missile-defense systems in response to possible fears of UAV attacks by Hezbollah.
--"Israel Deploys Patriot Battery Against UAV," Global Security Newswire, 7 December 2004.