The Dolphin-class submarine first entered service in 2000.
(photo credit:IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
‘Push the wheel forward,” the trainer says. The helm of a submarine looks like the controls of a large commercial airliner. It tilts forward and backward depending on whether someone wants the submarine to dive or surface. On either side of the steering column are two panels with buttons indicating alarms and autopilot functions. In front is a screen that looks like something from an old science-fiction movie, nothing too snazzy and hi-tech here. Above the screen are more gauges that read “foreplane actual angle,” “equivalent radar angle,” and “aft plane angle.”As I push the wheel forward, nothing seems to happen. “More,” says Sgt. Yali, an Israel Navy trainer. Then the room moves and begins to feel heavy, like when you are dizzy or seasick. Pens and pencils on the console slide back and fall on the floor. I’m slouching forward and have to brace with my feet. It’s disconcerting and disorienting.