Germany will provide Israel with its sixth Dolphin-class nuclear-capable submarine and will subsidize the deal with a total of 135 million euros, German magazine Der Spiegel reported overnight Sunday.
According to the report, German Defense Minister Tomas de Maiziere met in Israel last week with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak and promised to finalize the deal for the submarine.
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The Dolphin submarine is capable of launching nuclear-armed ballistic missiles.
Talks on the deal for the sub stalled last year after the Germans declined to underwrite it, as they had done with previous purchases. The vessel will cost between $500 million and $700m. The submarines are considered Israel’s most sophisticated and strategic weapon.
Israel already has three Dolphin-class subs; another two are currently under construction in Germany with expected delivery dates of 2012 and 2013.
According to foreign reports, Israel’s submarines have a second-strike capability and carry cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads.
Germany donated Israel’s first two submarines after the first Gulf War and, according to the German press, split the cost of the third with Israel. The three undersea vessels currently in the navy’s possession employ a diesel-electric propulsion system, which requires frequent resurfacing to recharge their batteries.
The new submarines – called the U212 – will be fitted with a new German
technology in which the propulsion system combines a conventional
diesel/lead-acid battery system and an air-independent propulsion system
used for slow, silent cruising, with a fuel cell equipped with oxygen
and hydrogen storage.
The submarines will also incorporate specifications gleaned from Israel
Navy experience. The Dolphins currently in the navy’s fleet were
tailor-made for its needs and reportedly have considerable operational