x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Israel adds to submarine fleet

Delivery is taken of two German submarines ordered four years ago that can launch cruise missiles carrying nuclear warheads.

Israel has taken delivery of two German submarines ordered four years ago, a military spokesman said on Tuesday. The submarines, called U212s, can launch cruise missiles carrying nuclear warheads, although when it confirmed the sale in 2006 the German government said the two vessels were not equipped to carry nuclear weapons. The subs were ordered in 2005 and delivery was initially expected in 2010. Including the two new ones, Israel has five German submarines. Germany donated the first two submarines after the 1991 Gulf War. It split the cost of the third with the Jewish state.

According to Jane's Defence Weekly, the U212s are designed for a crew of 35, have a range of 4,500 kilometres and can launch cruise missiles carrying nuclear warheads. Israeli media have written that the Dolphin submarine could be vital in any attack on Iran's controversial nuclear sites. An Israeli submarine used the Suez Canal for the first time in June, escorted by Egyptian navy vessels, in what Israeli media said was intended as a message to Iran.

* AFP