Israeli submarine at Haifa shipyard 311.
(photo credit: IDF Spokesman's Office)
Israel will boost its long-arm strategic capabilities with the reinstatement of
one of its Dolphin-class submarines that underwent an unprecedented structural
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The submarine, one of three currently in the navy, arrived in
Israel in 1999 and is the first to undergo the mid-life renovation. The Israeli
submarines, which were purchased from Germany, have an expected lifespan of 30
The submarine was taken out of service almost two years ago but
the renovation was a carefully guarded secret in the navy so Israel’s enemies
would not know that one of its three submarines was out of
Now that it is heading back to sea and ahead of the
graduation of the navy’s 100th Submariner Course, The Jerusalem Post
Sunday to tour the shipyard in Haifa where the submarine is being
“Every vessel that comes in to the shipyard for maintenance
and upgrades comes out with improved capabilities,” Col. Eli Shouach, commander
of the navy’s shipyard, told the Post
. “There are a select number of countries
around the world which can independently renovate a submarine. Some have tried
Israel’s submarines are the military’s most expensive
platform and are often referred to as the country’s second-strike doomsday
weapon due to their reported ability to fire cruise missiles tipped with nuclear
The three Dolphin-class submarines in the navy’s fleet are
called Dolphin, Leviathan and Tekuma and are believed to be some of the most
advanced diesel-electric submarines in the world. They replaced the 23- year-old
Gal class submarines and in the coming years will be joined by two additional
submarines currently under construction in Germany.
Maj. Doron Bareket,
the officer in charge of the upgrades, said that the renovations include
dismantling all of the submarine’s valves, pipes and sonar systems. The engine
is also taken apart, cleaned and reassembled.
The submarine’s body is
also cleaned and cracks in the hull are welded back together.
upgrade is costing the navy close to NIS 100 million, the most expensive upgrade
the shipyard has ever carried out.
With the expected arrival of two
additional submarines in the coming years, the shipyard is also undergoing
renovations to accommodate the new vessels and building new hangars, some of
which will be protected from potential Hezbollah and Syrian missile
In related news, Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz
decided Sunday to award the navy’s Flotilla 13 commando unit, better known as
the Shayetet, the annual “Chief of Staff Award” for demonstrating impressive
operational capabilities over the past year.
The Shayetet’s operations
are almost all classified. One known operation from the past year included the
seizure of the Victoria cargo ship that was transporting 50 tons of weaponry,
including sophisticated Iranian-made anti-ship missiles, from Iran to
Another group to receive the award was the Maglan unit, which like
Shayetet is believed to specialize in covert operations behind enemy lines.