The Israel Navy’s fourth submarine, the ISS Tanin, is expected to become fully operational in a few weeks and participate in naval operations.
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The navy’s fifth submarine, meanwhile, is expected to arrive this summer, and is now in the final stages of construction at the Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) shipyards in Kiel, Germany. Israel is expected to officially take control of the ISS Rahav in a few weeks, when it will begin its maiden voyage from Germany to Israel.
The fifth submarine will only become fully operational some six or so months after it arrives in Israel. During that time, various Israeli weapons and communications systems are fitted to it, explained an officer in the submarine division.” The ISS Tanin (Crocodile) was initially handed over to Israel in May 2012.
The navy said on Sunday it is prepared for the possibility of cyber attacks against the digital systems on its submarines. There are mechanical systems inside the submarine alongside the electronic ones, in this case manufactured by Siemens in Germany.
Foreign media reports say the Israeli submarines can carry cruise missiles with a range of thousands of kilometers. Reportedly, they can also be fitted with nuclear warheads. Foreign media say the Israeli submarine fleet – which is planned to double in size by 2018 – is intended to provide a “second-strike” capability in case of a nuclear attack on Israel.
Lt. Col. A., commander of the ISS Tanin, called the Dolphin II-class subs a new generation of submarines that will enable Israel to carry out its missions better. “The submarine penetrates deep into enemy [territory], on long and complex missions that demand a large amount of experience and investment,” he said. Submarine officers declined to provide details of the subs’ long-distance operations, in areas that the IDF calls “the third circle.”
The navy is also preparing to receive new ships in coming years. These are intended to help protect Israel’s offshore gas and oil platforms. These ships are also being built in Germany, though the final contracts have yet to be signed, said a senior navy officer. He expects four such ships to arrive within three years to protect the offshore drilling platforms.
Israel’s exclusive offshore economic zone is definitely something Hezbollah is aware of, said the officer. It could be seen as a legitimate target in Hezbollah’s eyes, he added. During Operation Protective Edge last summer in Gaza, the navy decided to make preparations to defend the drilling platforms, and stationed missile boats alongside every offshore platform.
Brig. Gen. David Salma, the commander of the Haifa Naval Base, told the press on Sunday that the major threats the navy is preparing for come mostly from advanced weapons systems. The navy’s assumption is that there are Russian-made P-800 Oniks anti-ship cruise missiles (also known as Yakhont missiles) in operation in the northern sector. The Israel Navy has an answer to these missiles, said Salma.