WATCH: Israel’s cutting edge 5th Dolphin-class submarine, the INS Rahav, with reported 2nd-strike capabilities, arrived at Israel’s Haifa port with much fanfare after first stopping to honor the INS Dakar off Israel’s coast, where in 1968 the Israeli submarine sank with its crew of 69 on board.
Germany’s fifth Dolphin-class submarine arrived in Israel’s Haifa port Tuesday, where top government and military officials welcomed the newest addition to Israel’s navy.
The INS Rahav, which cost the Israel Navy two billion dollars, was first unveiled in a ceremony in April 2013 in Kiel, Germany. After the unveiling, the submarine underwent a year and a half of work to make it operational. It left the German port of Kiel last month.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot and Israel Navy commander Admiral Ram Rothberg all took part in an official ceremony to welcome the submarine.
“Without a doubt, the INS Rahav is the most formidable, sophisticated, complex and expensive war machine that the Israel Defense Forces has,” Rivlin said.
“It is not easy to be days and weeks under water, far from home – sometimes hundreds or thousands of miles from the Israeli coast,” the president said, addressing sailors present. “Detached, unable to breathe, no phone, no Facebook and no Instagram, and without being able to tell anyone. Secrecy – it’s your secret weapon.”
The INS Rahav, which is more than 220 feet long and weighs over 2,000 tons, will house a crew of approximately 50 sailors.
The most important feature of the new submarine is the air-independent propulsion (AIP) system that allows the submarine to remain completely underwater for weeks at a time and enhances the vessel’s stealth capabilities.
Israel’s newest submarine will carry state-of-the-art surveillance systems which will be able to track other ships as well as satellite communications to be use for electronic warfare.
Israel has generally purchased its missile boats from the United States, using its annual allotment of US military aid.
The 2013 purchase of the Dolphin submarines from Germany was made using a steep discount, with the first three submarines being delivered as a gift.
A third of the cost of the new sub will be covered by Germany as part of its military aid to the Jewish state.
The deal between Germany and Israel has been a point of contention within Germany, both due to the hefty price tag as well as the general assumption that Israel modifies the submarines after delivery so they can be armed with nuclear cruise missiles.
According to Israeli military experts, the country’s submarines could be used as a second strike capability in case of an Iranian attack using non-conventional weapons.
Israel has never admitted — or denied — having a nuclear arsenal, but experts believe it has up to 200 atomic bombs and nuclear-tipped long-range missiles.
The INS Rahav is likely the last Dolphin-class submarine to be added to Israel’s fleet for the near future.
Israel welcomes 5th German-made submarine – i24news
A sixth submarine was meant to be delivered from Germany in 2019, but as part of recent cuts in the Israeli military’s new budge, the IDF said it will likely cancel the order. However, the decision to withhold the purchase of the submarine will require a vote by Israeli lawmakers.
Germany to buy Israeli drones which can be weaponized
Meanwhile, Germany said Tuesday that it would buy up to five military reconnaissance drones capable of carrying missiles from Israel until a similar European model has hit the market.
Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said that Berlin aimed to ink the deal to buy three to five Heron TP drones this year from Israel’s Aerospace Industries, adding that their weaponization was “important for the protection of our soldiers in deployments abroad”.
It would take delivery of the systems by 2018 for which 580 million euros ($629 million).
She said the procurement was intended to bridge the period until a medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) being developed by France, Italy and Spain is operational, slated for 2025.
The German military, which currently uses Israel’s Heron 1, opted for the Heron TP over the Predator drone from the United States. Sources said the Heron TP would be available more quickly and would make for a smoother transition between models.
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