Naval Commanders Want More Attack Craft
A senior Navy official on Monday said the Jewish state needs at least another five advanced attack craft, "to protect both the largest gas deposits in the Mediterranean coast, and the other maritime areas where Israel is threatened."
Another official added that, when the lion's share of Israel's produce and goods arrive from abroad, the Navy must be able to operate throughout the Mediterranean – and that Israel must begin preparing to do so.
Navy commander Maj. Gen. Ram Rothberg said the Arab Spring unrest that has destabilized the Middle East has also affected the sea, and that Syria has advanced anti-ship missiles that could threaten Israel's warships.
"But we are prepared for these scenarios," Rothberg emphasized, adding, "It took several advanced attack craft to secure the gas rigs and gas deposits, and to assure Naval superiority when we sailed in the area. We cannot do it with submarines alone."
Rothberg was referring to the heavy investment Israel's defense establishment has put into growing its fleet of German-built Dolphin class attack submarines, of which it will soon have six.
Navy officials also said the Egyptian army is seeking to acquire two Dolphin-class submarines of their own, which they say is indicative of Cairo's intentions. In addition, Turkey has been aggressively asserting its naval presence in the Mediterranean.
"The Turkish navy," said Rothberg, "Is operating deep in the Mediterranean. From this we should realize us that beneath the surface there are currents and eddies that require the Navy be prepared for any possible scenario."