The INS Rahav is expected to reach Haifa on Tuesday, where top government and military officials will welcome the newest addition to Israel’s small navy.
The German-built Rahav left the German port of Kiel last month.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot and Israel Navy commander Admiral Ram Rothberg will take part in the ceremony along with a flotilla of warships and other water craft.
Ordered a decade ago, the Rahav will be Israel’s fifth Dolphin-class submarine, joining the Tanin, Tekuma, Leviathan and Dolphin at the Haifa naval base.
Israeli submarines are reportedly capable of being equipped with nuclear-armed missiles, affording the tiny Jewish state a “second-strike” capability in case it is attacked by nuclear weapons.
Israel has not acknowledged the existence of Israeli nuclear weapons, though foreign media and analysts say it possesses as many as 200 warheads.
Rahav is the Hebrew name for the Greek god of the sea, Neptune, and has been used for other naval ships in the past, but it can also mean “haughtiness” or “arrogance” in modern Hebrew.
The submarine, built by the German Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft shipbuilding company, was unveiled in April 2013, but required an additional year and a half of work to make it fully operational. The diesel-powered sub is over 220 feet (67 meters) long and weighs more than 2,000 tons. It will be staffed by a crew of approximately 50 sailors.
The vessel’s air-independent propulsion system, which operates through a fuel cell instead of using louder, oxygen-dependent sources, allows the submarine to remain underwater without surfacing for weeks at a time, a naval source said.
The INS Rahav cost Israel a reported $2 billion (NIS 8 billion).
The price tag, seen by some as exorbitant, was offset by a considerable discount from Berlin.
Last year, the INS Tanin — “crocodile,” in Hebrew — arrived in Israel. The nuke-capable submarine, similar in most ways to the new Rahav, came equipped with 10 torpedo tubes capable of holding a variety of missiles, according to Defense News.
Submarines, unmatched in their ability to hide from enemy navies, have long been a key element in Israel’s defense policy.
Israel also purchased a sixth submarine from Germany in 2013 which is expected to be completed in a few years. It is not yet clear if it will join the current fleet or replace one of the older vessels.