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Israel is Negotiating the Acquisition of Additional Submarines with

Friday, October 14, 2016 5:25
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Israel is Negotiating the Acquisition of Additional Submarines with Germany
Four years after the heated debate regarding the question of whether or not
the IDF Navy needs a sixth submarine – Germany and Israel have initiated
negotiations regarding the acquisition of additional submarines
Amir Rapaport | 14/10/2016

Four years after the heated debate within the Israeli defense establishment
and political echelon regarding the question of whether or not the IDF Navy
needs a sixth submarine – Germany and Israel have initiated negotiations
regarding the acquisition of additional submarines. Negotiations have begun
at the top political and defense levels and are currently regarded as

As previously reported, the suspicions raised by former Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert regarding the alleged acceptance of a bribe by former Defense
Minister Ehud Barak were associated with his decision to acquire a sixth
submarine from Germany contrary to the position of IDF.

The Dolphin class submarines being manufactured in Germany for Israel are
regarded as Israel’s long arm in the event of a war with Iran and as the
most expensive weapon system in IDF use. Nevertheless, five years ago, IDF
officials objected to the acquisition of a sixth submarine from Germany – a
subsequent acquisition to the five Dolphin class submarines acquired
previously. Three older model submarines had been delivered to Israel in the
early 2000s while the transaction regarding the fourth and fifth submarines
had been signed about six years ago (the fourth submarine was delivered to
the IDF Navy last year and the fifth was delivered in early 2016). The
transaction concerning the sixth submarine is the realization of an option
that had been included in the transaction concerning the manufacture of the
fourth and fifth submarines, signed in 2012 after the German Government had
decided to undertake one-third of the financing of each submarine – US$ 180
million out of half a billion dollars.

The delivery of the sixth submarine is scheduled for 2018. According to
certain reports, when it has been delivered, the IDF Navy will decommission
one of the three older Dolphin class submarines. The commandant of the IDF
Navy at the time, Adm. Eliezer (“Chiney”) Marom and the IDF Chief of Staff
at the time, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, objected to the acquisition of the
sixth submarine on the grounds that the procurement would have to be paid
for by the ILS portion of the defense budget rather than through US Aid
funding. Barak’s decision to exercise the option was made contrary to their
position (which refuted the allegation voiced even by Olmert that Barak had
allegedly been bribed. Barak strongly denied this allegation at the time).

Many had estimated that after the political echelon had forced the sixth
submarine on IDF, the IDF Navy intends to employ a fleet of five submarines
for many years to come, but as it turns out, Israel is currently negotiating
the acquisition of additional submarines. The IDF Navy and present General
Staff are interested in the additional submarines. If another transaction is
signed for the acquisition of 2-3 additional submarines, Germany is expected
to subsidize the cost as it did with the previous transactions, owing to the
German interest to maintain the strategic submarine production line in Kiel.

Sources within the Israeli defense establishment noted that the past debate
regarding the need for a sixth submarine notwithstanding, no one doubts the
fact that the submarines are Israel’s primary strategic weapon system.

According to foreign sources, the Dolphin-class submarines offer a second
strike capability, namely – they would be able to launch nuclear missiles
into enemy territory even if Israel had been previously attacked by nuclear
weapons and its ground bases were destroyed. The upgraded version of the
Dolphin class submarine is ten meters longer than the older version, which
enables the installation of advanced weapon and combat management systems
and a longer endurance under water.

The 1,900-ton Dolphin class submarines are based on the German A212
submarine model and each has 10 torpedo tubes. According to various media
reports, they can accommodate underwater vehicles. According to foreign
sources, Israel adapted the 650mm torpedo tube of the Dolphin submarines so
that it may be used to launch cruise missiles carrying nuclear warheads.

The reason for the current negotiations regarding an additional submarine
transaction could be the extensive arms race in the Persian Gulf pursuant to
the nuclear agreement signed between the superpowers and Iran, and Israel’s
desire to enable continuous operation of its submarines simultaneously (as
each submarine must spend considerable periods of time in the Navy shipyards
for servicing and maintenance purposes).


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