Israel unveils its fifth Dolphin-Class submarine
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Israel unveils its fifth Dolphin-Class submarine

INS Rahav, launched in Germany, will go into service later this year; foreign reports claim fleet has nuclear capabilities

Israeli officials on board Israel's newest Dolphin-Class submarine, the INS Rahav, during a ceremony in Kiel, Germany, Monday, April 29, 2013. (Courtesy/Defense Ministry)
Israeli officials on board Israel's newest Dolphin-Class submarine, the INS Rahav, during a ceremony in Kiel, Germany, Monday, April 29, 2013. (Courtesy/Defense Ministry)

The IDF and the Defense Ministry unveiled Israel’s fifth Dolphin-class submarine in a ceremony in Kiel, Germany, on Monday.

Defense Ministry director-general Maj.-Gen. (res.) Ehud Shani and Navy commander Admiral Ram Rothberg were among the senior officials on hand to break a champagne bottle on the hull of the most recent and costliest IDF purchase, the $2 billion INS Rahav.

The new submarine is scheduled to arrive in Israel within a year after finishing touches are added to make it operational.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement, “Submarines are a strategic tool in the IDF’s defense arsenal. Israel is prepared to act at any time in any place to ensure the safety of Israel’s citizens.”

“The Dolphin is considered one of the most advanced and cutting-edge submarines in the world, and possesses numerous capabilities suitable for a large variety of missions,” the Defense Ministry said in in its own statement.

The Israeli Navy currently employs four such submarines. The contract for a sixth was signed recently.

Last year, the German weekly Der Spiegel published an article claiming that Israel’s submarine fleet has nuclear capabilities and that Berlin is aware of this but has opted to publicly remain mum about it in order to avoid having to defend the deals.

The submarines, according to Der Spiegel, are equipped with Israeli-designed Popeye missiles, which can carry a warhead of up to 200 kilograms. The nuclear warheads are produced at Israel’s Dimona nuclear reactor, Der Spiegel claimed.

Israel maintains a policy of nuclear ambiguity, neither confirming nor denying that it is in possession of nuclear weapons.

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