TechIsrael is deploying submarines. Something big is about to happen

Israel is deploying submarines. Something big is about to happen

One of Israel's submarines
One of Israel's submarines
Images source: © Public domain, IDF | Israeli Defence Forces Spokesperson's Unit

4:14 PM EDT, October 20, 2023

The Defense Blog, citing reports from journalist Doron Kadosh, affiliated with the Israeli radio network operated by the Israel Defense Forces - Army Radio (also known as Galei Tzahal or Galatz), reports on the deployment of submarines in the Middle East. Israel's decision was reportedly dictated by rising tensions with Iran and the presence of Palestinian Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Kadosh was to relay that submarines had been deployed at combat positions along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the Middle East in response to escalating threats from Iran and Hezbollah. The submarines are a vital element of Israel's combat capabilities. The Defence Blog emphasizes that their deployment in the Middle East "is a clear signal of this country's commitment to maintaining a strong deterrent stance".

"Israeli submarines guarding safety"

The Israeli Navy currently operates five modern Dolphin I/II class submarines. All were designed and constructed by the German company Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW). Work is also underway on another Dolphin II class vessel. Photos of INS Drakon, the one in question, went around the world in early August. The vessel was spotted in front of the assembly hall in Kiel, in northern Germany.

The American website The War Zone, which specializes in military topics, explains that currently Israel has:

Dolphin I class vessels:

  • INS Dolphin — commissioned in 1999,
  • INS Leviathan — commissioned in 1999,
  • INS Tekumah (Revival) — commissioned in 2000,

Dolphin II class vessels:

  • INS Tanin (Crocodile) — put into use in 2014,
  • INS Rahav (Splendor) — commissioned in 2016,
  • INS Drakon (Dragon) — under construction.

Israel acquired the first three Dolphin I class ships in 1999-2000. The boats were produced by the German company Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW). According to the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) service, two boats were donated to Israel by Germany, and the costs of the third unit were shared between countries. Another two ships were ordered in 2006. These are Dolphin II class units.

NTI draws attention to the fact that there are still speculations about the arming of Israel's submarines. They suggest that the units were redesigned to be able to carry missiles armed with nuclear warheads, thereby giving the state the ability to carry out so-called second strike, or retaliatory strike. It is described as a response to a nuclear attack conducted by an enemy using nuclear weapons. NTI emphasizes that the German government has refused to comment on the modification of the Dolphin class submarines supplied to Israel and the possibility of arming them with missiles with nuclear warheads.

The Dolphin I class units are 188 feet long, about 22 feet wide, and have a displacement of approximately 2094 tons. They can move at a maximum speed of 20 knots underwater and can dive to a depth of up to 1148 feet. Their armament consists of six 533 mm torpedo launchers and four 400 mm launchers. The Dolphin II class ships are a more advanced version of them. They are equipped with an AIP system, which makes them significantly quieter. Additionally, it enables them to stay submerged for longer. They also have more modern electronics and can move at a speed of 25 knots. Their range is estimated at 2796 miles. They are capable of carrying up to 16 torpedoes and Popeye Turbo missiles with a range of up to 932 miles. The ships are painted in green-blue to easily hide in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

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