Analysis: For deterrence and the second nuclear strike

According to foreign reports, Israel has upgraded the submarines to conform to its own unique needs, turning them into platforms to launch nuclear-tipped missiles.

January 13, 2016 10:36
2 minute read.
Dakar submarine

Israeli Navy memorial for Dakar submarine . (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)


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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, obsessed with his Holocaust fears and motivated by his political agenda, could not resist Tuesday hinting what has been so clear to the rest of the world for two decades – the fact that the Israeli submarine fleet was mainly established for the purpose of deterrence and, according to foreign reports, to grant Israel the capability of a second nuclear strike.

On Tuesday, the Israel Navy’s fifth submarine anchored at Haifa Port after a 3,000 kilometer voyage from the German shipyards in Kiel where it was built.

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“Above all, our submarines serve to deter enemies that aspire to destroy us,” Netanyahu stated at the ceremony.

The decision to build a significant submarine fleet was a result of strategic thinking and advantage of the circumstances.

In the 80s, Israel feared, as it does today, that the Middle East was going nuclear with Iraq’s efforts to build a nuclear bomb. At the same time, Israel was attacked by Iraqi Scud missiles during the first Gulf War in 1991.

It turned out that German companies had supplied Iraq’s dictator, Saddam Hussein, with technology and materials for a suspected chemical weapons program.

To cleanse its conscience, Germany agreed to finance the manufacturing of the first new Israeli submarines.


According to foreign reports, this led to further German consent to subsidize more submarines for Israel as long as they were built in the Kiel shipyards, thus also helping the German economy.

Thus, fat Germany financed half the cost of the Israeli submarine fleet.

According to foreign reports, Israel has upgraded the submarines to conform to its own unique needs, turning them into platforms to launch nuclear-tipped missiles.

Navy experts, led by the late admiral Avraham Botzer, estimated that it would require at least nine subs to make the Israeli navy strategically effective. They argue that at any given moment three subs will be on routine missions, three at docks for maintenance and three always available to carry out strategic assignments.

Indeed, until recently, the Israel Navy was on its way to accomplish its strategic vision and mission as Germany agreed to subsidize the manufacturing of the sixth sub, according to foreign reports.

But then a new reality emerged. IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, under budgetary pressure, decided to postpone the purchase of the sixth sub – a decision that was only natural since it coincided with recent developments regarding Iran since the naval build up was primarily aimed to be a deterrence against Iranian efforts to achieve nuclear capabilities.

Once Iran’s aspirations were suppressed by the nuclear agreement reached last summer with the world powers, Israel had more leeway and breathing space, so it was decided that the purchase of sixth sub would be delayed to take place by 2020.

In the meantime, the submarine fleet will continue to perform its other capabilities in long-range intelligence and clandestine missions in the Mediterranean, and according to foreign reports, in the Red Sea and even the Indian Ocean leading to the Persian Gulf.

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