Israel and Germany unveiled the fifth Dolphin-class submarine constructed for the Israel Navy at a ceremony at the German port of Kiel on Monday.

The submarine – called the INS Rahav – is the most expensive defense platform ever purchased by Israel. The vessel is set to undertake several long-range classified missions that are critical for Israel’s security.

The submarine is viewed by the navy as an important “force multiplier” that will enable Israel to cope with threats in the increasingly unstable Middle East region.

According to foreign reports, the navy’s Dolphins also provide Israel with nuclear second-strike capabilities, as they can travel far from Israel’s territorial waters and are reportedly able to carry long-range cruise missiles tipped with nuclear warheads.

Some defense analysts consider the submarines to be a crucial aspect of Israeli nuclear deterrence vis-à-vis Iran.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu welcomed the announcement, calling the submarines “a strong, strategic tool for the IDF.”

“The State of Israel,” said the prime minister, “is ready to act anytime, anywhere – on land, sea and air – in order to ensure the security of Israel’s citizens.”

Among their many capabilities, submarines can launch conventional missile attacks on near and distant targets, fire torpedoes at various naval vessels and engage in intelligence-gathering.

The latest Dolphin-class subs can remain submerged longer than their predecessors.

The INS Rahav, together with the INS Tanin – the fourth Dolphin sub, delivered to Israel in 2012 – and the sixth sub, which is still being built, will cost a total of some 1.4 billion Euro ($1.8 billion). The German government is reportedly covering a third of the cost.

Monday’s ceremony was attended by Israel Navy Adm. Ram Rothberg, Defense Ministry director-general Cmdr. (res.) Udi Shani and senior German officials.

The ceremony follows many years of development, and the submarine is expected to arrive at an Israeli port over the coming year. It must undergo further work before it can become operational, said the navy.

“The INS Rahav is one of the most advanced submarines in the world,” said the Defense Ministry in a statement on Monday.

“It is a versatile platform which can adapt to many and varied missions. The fleet of submarines forms a long arm for the [Israel] Navy, the IDF, and the State of Israel,” the ministry said.

All year round, Israel’s submarines engage in vital operations near and far, and under a fog of secrecy, the ministry said.

Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

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