The first of three German-made Dolphin submarines is due to reach Israel within days, a senior Israeli official said today.
The Israeli navy called the submarine, which has been paid for by German government, INS Tanin.
“At this very moment, after leaving Germany, the INS Tanin, the navy and the State of Israel’s fourth submarine, is making its way to Israel,” Vice Admiral Ram Rothberg said.
Rothberg was speaking at a ceremony for graduates of a naval course. He said: “It can dive deeper, go farther for a longer time and can operate at a level we have not seen until today.”
In a previous report, Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth said that the Israeli army depends on the naval fleet to carry out overseas operations, including attacking enemy targets.
The Times of Israel website said that this would boost the Israeli submarine fleet, which has witnessed a dramatic increase in the number and duration of its operations.
According to the website, a senior Israeli naval official said that 58 per cent of the Israeli submarine fleet in 2013 was spent in operational deployment at sea, carrying out special operations. The remainder of their time were devoted to training.
There are Israeli submarines deployed near the Lebanese coast and other unspecified locations, some thousands of kilometres away from Israel.
In 2012, Germany’s weekly newspaper Der Spiegel reported that Israel’s submarine fleet has nuclear capabilities and that Berlin is aware of this but has opted to publicly remain quiet about it in order to avoid having to defend the deals.
The submarines, according to the paper, are equipped with Israeli-designed Popeye missiles, which can carry a warhead of up to 200 kilogrammes. The nuclear warheads are produced at Israel’s Dimona nuclear reactor, the report said.