Official: Purchase of sixth German submarine finalized

Dolphin submarine fleet is considered a vanguard against Iran; purchase had been held up by wrangling over $500-700 million price.

By REUTERS
May 5, 2011 11:59
1 minute read.
The Dolphin Submarine.

The Dolphin Submarine.. (photo credit: IDF)

 
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The purchase of a sixth submarine from Germany was finalized, with payment to be spread over several years, an official said on Thursday.

The proposed expansion of the diesel-powered Dolphin submarine fleet, considered Israel's vanguard against foes like Iran, had been held up by wrangling with Berlin over the $500 million to $700 million price tag.

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Israel currently operates three Dolphins and has two more on order from Germany with delivery expected in the next two years.

Germany had sold those submarines at deep discounts. But Berlin, beset by budgetary constraints, balked in talks last year at similarly underwriting the sixth Dolphin.

"It's finalized -- we will be getting another submarine from Germany, with payments spread over several years," an Israeli official briefed on the negotiations said.

The official did not immediately say how much the Dolphin would cost Israel or whether Germany would arrange a discount.

The spokeswoman for the German embassy did not immediately return a call for comment. The Dolphins are manufactured by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW), which is owned by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems.

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Political turbulence in the Middle East and Iran's nuclear program have led Israel to float higher defense spending, which may have allowed it to absorb more of Dolphin's price.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who hosted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last month, has been sympathetic to his regional concerns and championed international diplomatic campaigns to rein in Tehran. But Berlin has in the past heard misgivings from German opposition parties about exporting weapons to crisis areas.

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