Sixth Submarine: “The Contract Continues”

Following the Yedioth Aharonoth article that stated Germany was “reconsidering” selling a sixth submarine to Israel, Major General Gilad said the contract would continue.
Submarine "Dolphin" (Photo: IDF Spokesperson) Submarine "Dolphin" (Photo: IDF Spokesperson)

“The contacts are continuing for the sale of a sixth submarine from Germany to Israel,” said the Head of the Ministry of Defense’s Diplomatic Security Bureau, Major General (Res.) Amos Gilad, following an article stating otherwise in Wednesday’s “Yedioth Aharonoth” publication.

According to the publication, Germany is considering canceling the sale of the submarine to Israel following German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s anger towards Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The publication stated the Merkel was disappointed that Netanyahu was not conducting negotiations with the Palestinians on the subject of the construction in East Jerusalem.

Speaking in an interview with IDF Radio, Gilad said that Germany “is not punishing” Israel via sanctions connected to the supply of a sixth submarine (it should be noted that Israel’s naval capability is meant to be significantly improved by the sixth Dolphin submarine from Germany).

According to reports from foreign sources, the German government is supposed to allocate 135 million euros from its defense budget next year for a Dolphin-class submarine, costing an estimated 500 million euros.

Previous reports from Germany’s “Der Spiegel” said the deal was apparently closed during the German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere’s last visit to Israel. During his visit three months ago, he met with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak.

The submarine in question is being manufactured in the shipyards of Emden, Germany. The new submarine will join the navy’s current fleet, which already has three submarines.

This deal comes in addition to a previous deal closed after the Second Lebanon War in which Israel signed a deal with the German companies Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werft of Kiel, and Thyssen Nordseewerke of Emden, for the construction of two additional “Dolphin”-class submarines. The navy is supposed to receive these submarines in 2013-2014.

German funded the cost of two and a half of the submarines transferred to Israel, while Israel bore the expense of half of the third submarine. According to the last contract with Germany, Israel will fund two-thirds of the production of the new submarines, while the German government will fund the remaining third of the project.

According to foreign sources, the submarines possess “second strike” capabilities. In other words, they are capable of launching nuclear missiles into enemy territory even if Israel was previously attacked with nuclear weapons, and its ground bases destroyed.

The improved Dolphin model will include an additional depth of ten meters, which will allow for the submarine to stay submerged for weeks – a longer period of time than the maximum stay period of the submarines already in naval service.

The “Dolphin” submarines weigh 1,900 tons, are based on the German A212 submarine, and are equipped with 10 torpedo launchers and can accommodate amphibious vehicles. According to foreign reports, Israel has fitted the Dolphin’s 650 mm torpedo tube for launching cruise missiles carrying nuclear warheads.