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      Israel Buys Sixth German Submarine

      Dolphin submarine is armed with torpedo tubes, is reputed to be able to carry nuclear-tipped Popeye missiles.
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 3/21/2012, 9:35 PM

      Dolphin class submarine
      Dolphin class submarine
      Flash 90

      Israel and Germany signed a contract purchasing a submarine Wednesday. This will be the Israeli Navy's sixth submarine. Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Defense Ministry CEO, Maj. Gen. (res.) Udi Shani and Secretary of State of the German Federal Defense Ministry, Wolf Rudiger, attended the signing ceremony.

      According to the IDF Website, Navy Commander, Maj. Gen. Ram Rothberg referred to the purchase of the new submarine while speaking at the naval officers' graduation ceremony. "Strategically, especially today, I am pleased with the approval and signing of a contract purchasing the Navy's sixth submarine, 54 years after submarines were first put into use in the Israeli Navy. The strength of the IDF and the State of Israel, and its operational flexibility, will grow tenfold," said Maj. Gen. Rothberg. 

      Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Wednesday that "the sixth submarine multiplies the force and capability of the IDF and the State of Israel in the face of the growing challenges. The agreement indicates our cooperation with Germany and the German government's obligation to the security of Israel."

      Barak stressed that "the Israeli Navy has been undergoing strategic changes over the past few years, which place it at the helm of Israel's security and the extent of the IDF's capabilities."

      According to the deal struck between Israel and Germany, Germany will finance a third of the submarine's costs. Two of Israel's other Dolphins were paid for by Germany, while the third was half-funded by Israel. Two more are under construction.

      Dolphin subs are the most expensive single vehicle in the Israel Defense Forces and are considered among the most sophisticated conventional submarines in the world. Each submarine is armed with torpedo tubes, which are also capable of firing Sub-Harpoon missiles. The submarines are also able to deploy mines, and are reputed to be able to carry nuclear-tipped Popeye missiles.

      If Israel suspects that Iran is about to attack it, it could use the submarines to threaten Iran with a devastating counterstrike launched from the waters that surround it.