German shipyard building subs for Israel sold to UAE group

Defense officials concerned deal could impact on future procurement of new missile ships from the company.

The Dolphin Submarine. (photo credit: IDF)
The Dolphin Submarine.
(photo credit: IDF)
The sale of a German shipyard which is currently building two new Dolphin-class submarines for Israel to a business group from the United Arab Emirates could impact talks on the navy’s possible procurement of new missile ships from the company.
ThyseenKrupp Marine Systems announced in late March that it had finalized a strategic partnership with the Abu Dhabi MAR group, based in the UAE, under which the company will control a reported 80 percent of the Blohm + Voss Shipyards.
Israel already owns three Dolphin-class submarines made in Germany, and in addition to the two under construction, is also in talks with Berlin about the possible procurement of a sixth sub.
The Israel Navy is also in talks with Blohm + Voss about the possible sale of two 2,000-ton missile ships that would be based on the company’s Meko-class warship.
Israeli defense officials said they were aware of the Blohm + Voss sale to the UAE group. One official said that the issue would come up in talks with the Germans about the possible sale of the two new Meko-class warships, but that it would likely not affect the deal since sensitive Israeli technology is not installed on the ships until they arrive in Israel.
“What we receive from the Germans is a platform,” one official explained. “The sensitive technological systems that we wouldn’t want the UAE to know about are installed in Israel.”
The design of the warships would be similar to the existing Israeli Sa’ar 5-class ship, but would be slightly larger to enable it to carry the massive IAI-made Adir radar, capable of providing an extensive over-the-horizon view.
The ship will be capable of carrying special forces and larger infantryunits as well as midsize vehicles, alongside at least one helicopter.The ship will also be installed with the anti-ship Harpoon Missile, aswell as the Barak anti-missile defense system.
Each ship is expected to cost over $300 million, and Israel is hopingthat the German government will provide part of the funding, as it hasin the past for the Israeli-bought submarines.