Israeli Navy wraps up ‘complex’ submarine exercise in Red Sea

Navy chief says lengthy drill simulated ‘achieving maritime superiority’; commentators see it as a message to Iran

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

The Israeli Navy wrapped up a “complex” and “lengthy” submarine drill in the Red Sea on Thursday morning, the military said.

Defense commentators characterized the publication of the drill’s details as an apparent message to Iran.

During the exercise, the INS Tekuma Dolphin-class submarine was escorted by Saar 5 and 4.5 Class Corvettes in the Red Sea, in a drill simulating “achieving maritime superiority,” the Israel Defense Forces said.

The drill aimed to attain that goal while maintaining maritime freedom in the Red Sea, and “increasing the operating area of the Navy,” according to a statement.

“Navy troops returned this morning from a complex exercise in the Red Sea. The lengthy exercise simulated various scenarios including achieving superiority and freedom of sailing in the Red Sea,” said Israeli Navy chief Maj. Gen. David Salama.

“The Navy will continue to strengthen its operational capabilities and increase its areas of activity,” he added.

The drill came during a major monthlong exercise dubbed Chariots of Fire, the military’s largest in decades.

The INS Tekuma Dolphin-class submarine is escorted by Saar 5 and 4.5 Class Corvettes during a drill in the Red Sea, June 2, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

It has aimed at preparing for hostilities erupting in multiple theaters at the same time, while focusing on fighting the Iran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon. During drills over the Mediterranean Sea, the Air Force simulated airstrikes on Iranian nuclear facilities.

Military officials said the drills were aimed at raising the competence and readiness of troops and top brass for war on multiple fronts, as well as coordination with other emergency organizations, local authorities, and government ministries.

In November, the Israeli Navy participated in a US 5th Fleet-led exercise in the Red Sea, alongside the UAE and Bahrain, in what Israeli officials said was meant to serve as a response to recent attacks by Iran against Israeli naval assets.

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