The Israel Navy’s fifth Dolphin- class submarine and second new-generation AIP (air independent propulsion) platform is making the 3,000- mile journey to its home base at the Haifa naval base from its German manufacturing center, a senior naval source said Thursday.
The INS Rahav is carrying some 50 personnel, and “minimal weapons needed to protect itself,” before its arrival in Israel next month.
After its arrival, Israeli systems will be installed on board.
“We expect the submarine to be fully operational in a number of months,” the naval officer said.
AIP submarines can remain submerged for significantly longer periods of time than conventional platforms, and having two such submarines means that Israel has “doubled its covert capabilities,” the source said.
The submarine will stop at the site of where the INS Dakar sunk to the ocean floor in 1968 for a memorial ceremony, before continuing in its journey to Haifa.
The INS Rahav, like the INS Tanin, can use AIP fuel cells to supplement its diesel-electric engines, and does not have to surface often to recharge its batteries.
The new submarines will be based out of a specialized dock built by the navy at Haifa, which allows for the advanced submarines to be kept separately, covertly, and in a convenient manner. The dock allows for flexibility, and enables the submarines to be on call 24 hours a day.
The new submarines will bring with them many unique capabilities, such as lengthy intelligence gathering.
“Submarines bring a level of intelligence to Israel that cannot be achieved by other units,” Lt.-Cmdr. Y., a past commander of the navy’s submarine school, told The Jerusalem Post in 2014.
“Drones that fly in the air can be shot down,” he said, “but a submarine can stay in enemy territory for weeks, and no one knows it’s there.
It can lurk off coastal regions without any problem at all.
The level of intelligence this brings is not heard about by the public. All of our operations build on past operations.”