Palmachim Airbase

Coordinates: 31°53′52″N 34°41′26″E / 31.89778°N 34.69056°E / 31.89778; 34.69056
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Palmachim Israeli Air Force Base
Air Force Base 30
בסיס חיל האוויר פלמחים
Palmachim, Central District in Israel
Palmachim Airbase is located in Central Israel
Palmachim Airbase
Palmachim Airbase
Shown within Israel
Palmachim Airbase is located in Israel
Palmachim Airbase
Palmachim Airbase
Palmachim Airbase (Israel)
Coordinates31°53′52″N 34°41′26″E / 31.89778°N 34.69056°E / 31.89778; 34.69056
TypeAirbase & Spaceport
Site information
OwnerIsrael Defense Forces
OperatorIsraeli Air Force
Israel Space Agency
Site history
BuiltEnd of 1960s
Airfield information
IdentifiersICAO: LLPL
Elevation10 metres (33 ft) AMSL
Direction Length and surface
03R/21L 2,403 metres (7,884 ft) Asphalt
03L/21R 1,480 metres (4,856 ft) Asphalt
13/31 803 metres (2,635 ft) Asphalt

Palmachim Airbase (Hebrew: בָּסִיס חֵיל-הַאֲוִויר פַּלְמַחִים, ICAO: LLPL[1]) is an Israeli Air Force (IAF) base and spaceport, which the IAF and the Israel Space Agency (ISA) operate jointly. It is located west of the city of Yavne on the Mediterranean coast, 12 km south of the Gush Dan metropolitan area with Tel Aviv, named after the Kibbutz Palmachim north of it. Palmachim is a vital base in Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza. Iran simulated an attack on the base in February 2024. [2]


The airbase was established in the second half of the 1960s by the later commander of the IAF Benny Peled and the area was initially used to test rockets and projectiles that the 151 Squadron for missile testing was firing towards the sea.


In 1979, the 160 Squadron "First Cobra/Northern Cobra" with AH-1 Cobra Tzefa attack helicopters was transferred here from Tel Nof Airbase. In 1981 the 124 Squadron "Rolling Sword" with Bell 212 Iroquois helicopters moved from there to Palmachim also. In 1985, a second squadron of Cobras was launched with the 161 Squadron "Southern Cobra", all of which were located in the northern area of the base. Because of their location on the airbase they were called the Northern Cobra and Southern Cobra Squadron. In 2013, both Cobra squadrons were finally decommissioned.


From the mid-1990s, testing and introduction of the IAI Heron 1 Shoval UAV began, shortly afterwards the Elbit Hermes 450 Zik and finally from 2009 by their successor Hermes 900 Kochav, each with their own squadrons.

In January 2023, the 200 Squadron "First UAV" with Heron 1 UAVs was relocated to Hatzor Airbase.[3] At the beginning of April 2024, the 147 Squadron "Goring Ram" reopened at Palmachim for the fourth time, this time with Hermes 900 Kochav UAVs.[4]

Arrow 2 Missiles[edit]

Israel's first operational Arrow 2 missile battery was installed southeast of the airbase in 2000 (see map).[5][6] For target detection and tracking, it is used at the Ein Shemer Airfield - together with the Arrow 2 missiles there and others at the Sdot Micha Airbase - the local Super Green Pine Radar with a range of 1000 kilometers. The Arrow 2 missile was developed in the 1990s by Israel together with the USA to defend against larger missiles. The Arrow system is operated by the Israeli Air Defense Command, based on Palmachim. This command is a department of the IAF or the Israeli Air and Space Force and supplements the aircraft squadrons at the bases (see photo in the gallery).[7][8]


Currently (2024) two squadrons UH-60 Black Hawk Yanshuf and three squadron Hermes 450 Zik and Hermes 900 Kochav UAVs are stationed on the base (see also under "Units").

In July 2007, it was agreed that once Sde Dov Airport in Tel Aviv was closed, its military terminal would be transferred to Palmachim.[9] The terminal was transferred when Sde Dov Airport ceased operations in July 2019.

Israel–Hamas war[edit]

Since the 7. October 2023 the drones from Palmachim and other Israeli military bases (Tel Nof, Hatzor, Ramat David) are operational in the air over the Gaza Strip around the clock, on the one hand to collect information and to carry out attacks with guided weapons. In cooperation with the ground troops, they are supported in their advance, which, according to Israeli analyzes, is a novelty in modern warfare on this scale and quality.[10]


Note: IAF aircraft can usually be assigned to their squadron by the symbols on the tail

Rockets and satellites[edit]

Test of an Arrow 2 missile at Palmachim launchpad in 1996
Start of a Shavit 2 missile at the spaceport in 2007

The launchpad south of the base is used by ISA to launch the Shavit space launch vehicle into retrograde orbit, acting as Israel's primary spaceport. Since the end of the 1960s the IAF uses Palmachim to test ballistic missiles, such as the Jericho and later the Arrow.[18] The launchpad is situated at 31°53′04″N 34°40′49″E / 31.88444°N 34.68028°E / 31.88444; 34.68028 (Palmachim launchpad).

Due to Israel's geographical location and hostile relations with neighboring countries, the rockets launch west across the Mediterranean. This avoids flying over enemy countries that could use the technology in the event of a crash and prevents parts from falling into populated areas. The satellites launched are on non-equatorial orbits and are among the few earth satellites that orbit the earth in an east-west direction. Taking off against the earth's rotation causes approximately 30% higher fuel consumption.

Recent launches include:

Orbital launch history[edit]

Type of rocket Date of Launch Launch Location Payload Mission Status
Shavit 19 September 1988 Palmachim Airbase Israel Ofeq-1 Success, experimental payload
Shavit 3 April 1990 Palmachim Airbase Israel Ofeq-2 Success, experimental payload
Shavit 15 September 1994 Palmachim Airbase Israel Ofeq ? Failure, unknown payload [26]
Shavit-1 5 April 1995 Palmachim Airbase Israel Ofeq-3 Success, first Israeli operational satellite in orbit
Shavit-1 22 January 1998 Palmachim Airbase Israel Ofeq-4 Failure
Shavit-1 28 May 2002 Palmachim Airbase Israel Ofeq-5 Success, second Israeli operational satellite in orbit
Shavit-1 6 September 2004 Palmachim Airbase Israel Ofeq-6 Failure
Shavit-2 11 June 2007 Palmachim Airbase Israel Ofeq-7 Success, third Israeli operational satellite in orbit
Shavit-2 22 June 2010 Palmachim Airbase Israel Ofeq-9 Success [27]
Shavit-2 9 April 2014 Palmachim Airbase Israel Ofeq-10 Success
Shavit-2 13 September 2016 Palmachim Airbase Israel Ofeq-11 Success
Shavit-2 6 July 2020 Palmachim Airbase Israel Ofeq-16 Success

On 17 January 2008, Israel test fired a multi-stage ballistic missile believed to be of the Jericho III type, reportedly capable of carrying "conventional or non conventional warheads".[20] On 2 November 2011, Israel successfully test fired a missile believed to be an upgraded version of the Jericho III; the long trail of smoke was seen throughout central Israel.[22]


  1. ^ AIP Israel (PDF). Department of Civil Aviation. 18 May 2023. p. 355. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 May 2023.
  2. ^ "Iran simulates strike on Israeli base as it showcases naval force". 13 February 2024. Retrieved 9 April 2024.
  3. ^ "Palmachim / Palmikhim / Yavne". 9 July 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2023.
  4. ^ a b "I Offed Two Hamas Terrorists and Saved One of Our Teams". Israel Defense. 12 May 2024. Retrieved 12 May 2024.
  5. ^ "Arrow 2 Interceptor". IAI-Website. 1 January 2017. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  6. ^ "IDF modifying Arrow deployment in the North". The Jerusalem Post. 23 August 2007. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  7. ^ "Multilayered Protection". Website of the Ministry of Defense of Israel (in Hebrew). 1 January 2023. Retrieved 6 November 2023.
  8. ^ "Air defense system - general information". IAF-Website (in Hebrew). Retrieved 1 October 2023.
  9. ^ Petersburg, Ofer (3 July 2007). "Tel Aviv airport to make way for luxury project". Ynetnews. Retrieved 3 July 2007.
  10. ^ "IDF's "Star" Drone Squadron: Eliminating Any Threat That Disrupts the Gaza Maneuver". Israel Defense. 22 February 2024. Retrieved 22 February 2024.
  11. ^ "A Day at a Transport Helicopter Squadron". IAF-Website. 2 June 2021. Retrieved 25 September 2023.
  12. ^ "The Rolling Sword Squadron". IAF-Website. Retrieved 25 September 2023.
  13. ^ "The 161st Squadron Marks a Decade". IAF-Website. 22 March 2022. Retrieved 25 September 2023.
  14. ^ "The Future of the RPA Division". IAF-Website. 10 January 2022. Retrieved 25 September 2023.
  15. ^ "Unit 669". IDF-Website. 27 December 2021. Retrieved 25 September 2023.
  16. ^ "A Rare Peek into SAR Unit 669". IAF-Website. 1 May 2017. Retrieved 25 September 2023.
  17. ^ "Officially Cats: End of 669 Course". IAF-Website. 13 July 2023. Retrieved 26 September 2023.
  18. ^ "Palmachim / Palmikhim / Yavne". 9 July 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2023.
  19. ^ Israel Launches New Spy Satellite accessed 12 June 2007
  20. ^ a b Azoulay, Yuval (18 January 2008). "Missile test 'will improve deterrence'". Haaretz. Retrieved 5 January 2012.
  21. ^ Israel Launches Ofeq-9 Satellite Archived 2012-09-07 at
  22. ^ a b Pfeffer, Anshel (2 November 2011). "IDF test-fires ballistic missile in central Israel". Haaretz. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
  23. ^ "Israel launches Ofeq 10 radar-based spy satellite". The Jerusalem Post. 9 April 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  24. ^ "Israel launches Ofeq 11 surveillance satellite". Globes. 13 September 2016.
  25. ^ Surkes, Sue (29 May 2017). "Israel launches propulsion rocket in early morning test". Times of Israel. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  26. ^ "Shavit (Israel), Space launch vehicles - Orbital". Jane's Information Group. 21 April 2009. Retrieved 17 April 2010.
  27. ^ Greenberg, Hanan (22 June 2010). "Israel launches spy satellite". Ynetnews. Retrieved 22 June 2010.

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