Army Recommends Limiting Israel's Submarine Fleet to Five Vessels

The air force, meanwhile, will spend less on preparedness for attacking Iran.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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A German-built Israeli Dolphin-class submarine sails near Tel Aviv during special naval maneuvers ahead of Israel’s 60th independence anniversary, on May 5, 2008.
A German-built Israeli Dolphin-class submarine sails near Tel Aviv during special naval maneuvers ahead of Israel’s 60th independence anniversary, on May 5, 2008.Credit: AFP
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

The Israeli army said Wednesday it now recommends that the navy only operate five submarines – when a sixth German sub arrives, the oldest one will be decommissioned.

In 2011 Israel finalized the purchase of a sixth dolphin-class submarine from Germany, with payment to be spread over several years.

On Wednesday the IDF also recommended that it close its Sde Dov air base in Tel Aviv within three years; the planes would be deployed to the Hatzor base further to the south.

The military also plans to reduce investments in capacity for attacking Iran, if such a foray were ever deemed necessary. In the IDF’s multiyear plan currently being forged, the money saved on direct Iran expenditures would go elsewhere in the air force.

“We’re not building capacity as we did a year or two ago, but the IDF needs available capabilities for the time the nuclear accord reaches its term,” a senior officer told military correspondents Wednesday.

“The Iranian influence is not restricted to the nuclear issue – it also applies to terrorism in the Golan Heights, to its soldiers in Syria, to events in Yemen and Sudan. The precision ordnance that’s present in Lebanon didn’t originate there.”

Also, the number of headquarter staff members will be cut, with a slashing of two brigadier-general positions, 24 colonel positions and 80 lieutenant-colonel positions, the IDF said.

On Thursday the IDF is due to hold another day of discussions on its growth priorities. This includes decisions on acquiring new technology; new artillery and a new Merkava tank are among the options.

The military is already well into its multiyear planning. For example, it aims to streamline two regional brigades such as the one in the southern Arava district. Initially, the idea was to completely dismantle one brigade.

Last month, Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot summarized the main points of the multiyear plan known as Gideon; the army expects approval from the cabinet. Decisions on the military’s structure and size require government approval.

The military is also establishing a cyber-defense brigade next month, to be commanded by a colonel to be promoted to brigadier general. Eventually, the brigade will become part of a new cyber-division.

The military is also making significant cuts to units “not related to the army’s core activities” such as the military rabbinate, the Education Corps, the military advocate general’s unit and a behavioral sciences unit.

The method for managing the IDF's various branches will also change; each will be responsible for its own salary spending. This will make each branch better able to save money and manage its units.

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