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Israel Tests Missile Propulsion System Amid Growing Iran Threat

Pre-scheduled test at Palmahim Air Base showcases advanced missile technology and strategic deterrence.

On June 24, Israel conducted a significant, pre-scheduled test of a missile propulsion system, marking an important step in its defense capabilities. The test, held at Palmahim Air Base south of Tel Aviv, underscores Israel’s commitment to advancing its missile technology. Notably, Iran was likely a key audience for this demonstration.

A Russian pro-Kremlin Telegram channel reported that the missile launched from Palmahim landed in the Mediterranean Sea, about 1,050-1,120 miles east of Israel’s coast. Additionally, there were maritime traffic restrictions east of Malta on the test date.

International engineering sources suggested the test involved a two-stage rocket, a technology Israel has maintained and periodically tested for over three decades. Such tests occur every two to three years to ensure the operational readiness and reliability of Israel’s defense systems. The June 24 test follows this routine practice.

Despite the regularity of these tests, each launch is crucial for internal validation and external signaling. These tests verify the functionality of Israel’s systems and reinforce its strategic deterrence posture. The propulsion system tested on June 24 is reportedly part of Israel’s long-range missile program, potentially enhancing its ability to deploy significant payloads.

Israel is known to maintain an arsenal of ground-launched Jericho ballistic missiles, submarine-launched cruise missiles, and long-range jet-launched missiles. This strategic triad is vital for Israel’s defense, offering a flexible response to severe threats.

While the test occurred amid heightened tensions with Iran and its regional terror allies, it is likely coincidental. The Israeli Defense Ministry's description of the trial as pre-scheduled seems credible. However, the successful test sends a clear message to both allies and adversaries about Israel’s advanced capabilities.

Iran continues to develop its ballistic and cruise missile programs alongside a rapidly progressing nuclear program. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran installed advanced uranium-enriching cascades at its Fordow site, enabling faster, higher enrichment levels. As of February, Iran possessed 121.5 kilograms of 60%-enriched uranium, enough to make seven nuclear weapons within a month, though they have not begun producing a warhead.

Iran also held 712.2 kilograms of 20%-enriched uranium by February and is building new underground facilities near Natanz and Fordow. On April 14, Iran fired over 300 missiles and drones at Israel, most of which were intercepted by Israeli, U.S., and allied air defense systems.

Israel’s recent missile test was likely closely monitored by Iran, which has an increasing number of spy satellites. The arms race in the Middle East shows no signs of slowing down.

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