In September 1962, the Israeli government placed an order for a pre-study of a ballistic
missile to two companies Sud Aviation and Dassault. This missile was to be capable of sending
a 750 kg military payload to a distance of 235 to 500 km. It had to be usable by all weather
from fixed (8 missiles/hour) or mobile (4 missiles/hour) sites with a launch reaction time
of about 2 hours.
Finally, Generale Aeronautique Marcel Dassault (GAMD) was kept and the contract "Operation Jericho" was then signed on April 26, 1963. Twenty-five experimental missiles MD 620 (5 vehicles with dummy second stage and 20 two-stage missiles) had to be manufactured as well as the launching and control equipments. At the end of the tests, the series produced missiles had to be manufactured in Israel.
The lead contractor of the MD 620 program was Dassault company with, as main subcontractors,
Nord Aviation (with SEPR and Service des Poudres) for the solid motors and SAGEM for the guidance.
The missiles production was achieved - from May 1964 to January 1969 - in the Dassault factory
in Martignas-sur-Jalle in presence of an Israeli team.
The 6.7 t missile, 13.4-m long and 0.80-m in diameter, was composed of two solid stages. The motors (NA-804 and NA-805) were derived from the NA-803 motor of the VE 111 Topaze rocket. The first stage, piloted by four revolving nozzles, was identical to the Topaze one. The second, equipped with a fixed nozzle only, was piloted by four aerodynamic control fins. During the powered phase, steering was controlled by an inertial navigation system combined with a digital computer that allowed reaching a precision of 1/1000 of the range.
The first launch of a single-stage MD 620 (Monobloc) was achieved from a TEL vehicle (Carrier-Erector Launcher) at Levant island on February 1st, 1965. December 23, 1965, the first launch of the 2-stage version (Bidasse) was a failure due to the guidance system but the second one was a success with a range of 450 km (March 16, 1966). Fall September 1968, 16 launches had been achieved with 10 complete successes, 3 partial successes and 3 failures.
The Israeli attack of the Beirut airport, December 29, 1968, triggered a French embargo on the weapons for Israel. In January 1969, whereas it remained seven tests flights to do, the MD 620 program was interrupted. Dassault delivered the missiles that were finished and the spare parts for other missiles that were assembled in Israel. May 2, 1969, the Dassault company and the government of Israel signed a memorandum stopping the research and test program. Israel pursued the development of this missile under the name Jericho 1, of which about hundred units would have been manufactured between 1970 and 1980.