Missile motor test likely caused an explosion in Israel

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (AP) —A mysterious explosion heard in Central Israel occurred during a rocket engine test at a secret military base associated with the country’s missile program, according to analysts and satellite imagery. It seems.

A video of the incident at Sedot Miha Air Force Base was disseminated online last week.Iran’s national media was seized on it In tension with Israel after a series of attacks targeting a nuclear program And in the negotiations in Vienna over the tattered atomic agreement.

However, the smoke and flames taken on April 20 appear to be from rocket engine testing, said Jeffrey Lewis, an expert at the James Martin Non-Diffusion Research Center at the Middlebury International Institute. Lewis said an image compared to others in a similar test that he and his experts studied extensively.

A satellite photo of Sdot Micha’s known rocket test stand, taken by Planet Labs and analyzed by the Associated Press, showed that charmarks and leaves had burned down on the site since April 20th. However, there were no signs of damage to the surrounding buildings. The location also reflects the details of the video posted on social media.

The Israeli Ministry of Defense did not immediately answer the question from the AP.

Tomer, a company owned by the Israeli government, was reported in Israeli media that the explosion occurred during “controlled testing without exceptional circumstances.” Tomer did not immediately respond to the request for comment from the AP.

The incident occurred shortly after Israel and the United States announced in February that they would begin developing a new generation of interceptor missiles called Arrow-4. Tomar explains on its website that it manufactures “Arrow missile rocket motors, Shavit satellite launchers, ELRAD air defense systems, and cannon rockets.” Such test stand experiments often involve new systems.

Israel wants to replace the Arrow-2 missile with an Arrow-4. Missiles launched from canisters intercept and destroy ballistic missiles. Arrow missiles are the key to Israel’s defense from Iran’s ballistic missile program, the enemy of the Israeli region. In a February statement, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Arrow 4 would “provide a technological and operational leap forward for future battlefields and the evolution of threats in the Middle East and beyond.”

About 35 km (21 miles) southeast of Tel Aviv, the air force base has a system of bunkers and underground facilities, some of which were built with the support of the US government. Defense analysis firm Janes believes that the air force base also has Israeli nuclear-armed Jericho ballistic missiles. Under the policy of nuclear ambiguity Israel has neither confirmed nor denied that it has nuclear weapons Although it is widely believed to own them.


Follow Jon Gambrell (www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP) on Twitter.

Posted on