Dolphin-class submarine 370.
(photo credit: Baz Ratner/Reuters)
The Israel Navy assumes that Hezbollah has gotten hold of advanced Russian- made Yakhont antiship missiles, a senior navy source said on Tuesday.
The source added that the Lebanese terrorist organization is making constant efforts to get hold of advanced weapons.
The navy is adapting itself to a new reality, in which the Mediterranean Sea, in some area, is becoming a terror arena, the source added.
These changes include buying new weapons to intercept naval arms smuggling efforts by terrorists.
The navy is also preparing to take on the mammoth challenge of protecting Israel’s Exclusive Economic Zone, where offshore gas drilling rigs are operating, the senior source said.
Also on Tuesday, V.-Adm. Eli Sharvit, commander of the Haifa Naval Base, told reporters, “We are examining our challenges and the central players, Syria and Hezbollah, which are active and relevant. Hezbollah is a highly functional organization, active in its sector. It continues to arm itself with strategic weapons, and has not ceased from trying to get its hands on weapons that will influence [future battles].”
Meanwhile, a second military source said the navy is constructing a specialized dock at the Haifa base ahead of taking charge of three new German- made Dolphin-class submarines, due to enter service soon.
In 2014, the INS Tanin will enter the navy’s service. Six months later, the INS Rahav will join the fleet. The third new-generation submarine is being manufactured at a German shipyard. Once they join, the navy will have a total of six submarines.
Navy sources said the new dock allows for the advanced submarines to be kept separately, secretly and in a convenient manner. It will allow for flexibility, and enable the subs to be on call 24 hours a day.
“The [Haifa] base is realizing the principle of strategic planning, in the full sense of the word,” the source continued.
“This year, there were thousands of operational hours spent on the sea, and many unique challenges,” he continued. Submarine crews were cited by the navy chief for one particular, classified mission, he added.
The new submarines will bring with them many unique capabilities, such as lengthy intelligence gathering, the source said.
“We are operating in various sectors, including the northern sector,” he said.