German sub delivery postponed

Vessels won't be nuclear-equipped, not "relevant" to current Mideast conflict.

dolphin navy 298.88 IDF (photo credit: IDF)
dolphin navy 298.88 IDF
(photo credit: IDF)
Two new submarines which Israel would receive under a deal it signed with Germany last month, will only start being delivered in 2010, German government spokesman Thomas Steg said Friday. Steg added that the submarines would not be equipped to fire nuclear weapons. A German defense official said, however, that it was possible that Israel would make structural changes to the vessels upon delivery and would widen the missile launchers aboard, allowing for the installation of cruise missiles. According to foreign reports, Israel has cruise missiles that are capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Last week, The Jerusalem Post revealed that Israel had signed a deal with Germany on July 6 according to which it would receive two Dolphin-class submarines in addition to the three the Navy already has. According to the details obtained by the Post, Israel will purchase the two Dolphins, manufactured by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG, for $1.27 billion, a third of which will be financed by the German government. "The delivery of these two Dolphin class submarines is foreseen for 2010, not earlier, according to current planning," and therefore the vessels have "no relevance" to the current conflict in the Middle East, Steg said. Some members of the German opposition have criticized the deal, citing the risk that the submarines might be used to carry nuclear weapons. Israel has never confirmed or denied that it has such weapons. "The submarines will not... be built and equipped for the firing of nuclear weapons, but are designed for the conduct of conventional war," said Steg. Asked if Germany wanted assurances from Israel on that point, he said: "We have no mistrust and no suspicion toward our Israeli partner."