The Sun Gets a Look — Up Close — at an Iranian Missile, and It Is Huge, Even Without Its Warhead

Each ballistic missile carried enough explosives to ‘obliterate a five-story building,’ an IDF officer tells the Sun. This missile had traveled 1,500 kilometers to Israel from Iran — in 11 minutes.

Eyal Warshavsky
An IDF officer, Tammy Shur, with the remains of an Iranian missile at the Yahalom military base, April 18, 2024. Eyal Warshavsky

YAHALOM MILITARY BASE, Israel — Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israel in the early hours of Sunday morning left the world holding its breath. While images of the perfectly timed onslaught of missiles were broadcast live, the Jewish state had no idea how many would land and where.

It’s said that 350 explosive drones, plus ballistic and cruise missiles, is the largest combined drone-missile barrage ever launched all at the same time. Some 99 percent were eventually intercepted, and while a 7-year-old Bedouin girl is in serious condition due to the impact of one missile, there was little other damage reported elsewhere. 

At the Yahalom military base in southern Israel, The New York Sun was shown one of the 110 missiles that was downed and found floating in the Dead Sea. The missile on full display is just 70 percent of the actual size. 

“This is not the entire rocket,” Officer Tammy Shur says. “What you’re seeing here is part of it that is 11 meters long and 1 meter in diameter. This is actually the fuel chamber of the rocket. So what is missing from this rocket is actually the warhead that was filled with explosives — to be more specific, 450 kilograms of explosive.”

“So just imagine for a minute if that rocket made impact with a civilian building, with a multi-story civilian building; 450 kilograms of explosive would have made fatal damage to that building,” she says.

The IDF estimated that overall the Iranian attack carried 60 tons of explosives: “It’s the equivalent of a small nuclear bomb, a large-scale earthquake, and a small meteorite hit.” 

The Sun was told by another officer that each ballistic missile carried enough explosives to “obliterate a five-story building.” He said that this missile had traveled 1,500 kilometers to Israel from Iran — in 11 minutes. 

Israel has a number of defense systems it relies on that were all developed with some input from the U.S.: the Arrow 3, which can destroy a ballistic missile outside of the atmosphere without explosives; the Arrow 2, which can do the same but with explosives; David’s Sling, which can intercept medium-range missiles; and the Iron Dome, which is the lower level of interception and is mainly used for fending off rocket attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah.

It wasn’t just the air defense systems that worked in this attack. America, Britain, France, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia played parts in downing some of the weapons, though the IDF couldn’t say how many were responsible.

The New York Sun

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