Report: Israel in Talks With Germany to Expand Size of Its Nuclear-Capable Submarine Fleet
Israeli and German officials have opened preliminary talks regarding a potential future expansion of the Jewish state’s nuclear-capable submarine fleet, Israel Defense reported on Friday.
As things stand now, the Israeli Navy is set to receive its sixth German-made Dolphin-class submarine in 2018. At that point, the Israel Defense report said, the navy is expected to retire one of its three older submarines, keeping its underwater fleet size at five. If the nascent negotiations with Germany bear fruit, however, that number will grow in the coming years.
The report called Israel’s submarines the country’s “primary strategic weapons system” and noted media reports that have said they provide Israel with a second-strike nuclear capability.
According to the Israel Defense report, Israel’s interest in acquiring additional submarines might at least partially stem from “the extensive arms race” that commenced in the Persian Gulf region in the wake of the nuclear agreement signed last year by Iran and six world powers.
Israel’s newest submarine — the INS Rahav — arrived in Haifa in January after a sea journey from the northern German city of Kiel, where it was constructed at the Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG shipyard.