German submarine (illustration)
German submarine (illustration)Reuters

Egypt is shoring up its military and other capabilities, and Israel is taking notice. The Egyptian official daily Al-Ahram reports that two submarines are currently being constructed in Germany for delivery to Egypt.

Egypt already received and inaugurated a German-made submarine earlier this month.

At the same time, it has been reported that Egypt close to purchasing two new satellites from France. These would enhance Egypt's intelligence-gathering capabilities, Israeli officials warn.

La Tribune newspaper similarly reported last week that Egypt seeks to purchase two satellites from France to be used for military surveillance and communications purposes, and that Egypt wants to conclude the deal quickly. Egypt currently has two satellites, Egypt Sat 1 and Egypt Sat 2.

The Director of the Institute for Policy and Strategy Studies, Sha'ul Shai, has been quoted as saying in this context that Egypt is seeking to become a regional power. Iran and Israel are considered the two regional space technology powers, and Egypt wants to join them, according to Shai.

Regarding the submarine deal with Germany, Egypt’s Foreign Affairs Minister is set to visit Berlin next month to discuss issues of mutual interest with senior German officials. This past June, when Egyptian President El-Sisi visited Germany, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed her country’s support for Egypt in its war against terror, and said that Germany's military and financial support will increase.

Meanwhile, in Israel, the fifth and newest Israeli submarine – named Achi (INS) Rahav – left a German port on Thursday morning and began its journey to Israel. It is scheduled to arrive in Haifa in mid-January, and will greatly enhance Israel's maritime capabilities.

A senior Israel Navy commander said that the sub is of the highest standards, and is able to remain submerged for longer periods and more quietly than others.

The long trip to Haifa, 3,500 miles long, will see the Achi Rahav ascend from the depths only once: at the spot where the Dakar submarine disappeared. The Dakar departed from Scotland for its first docking in Israel in January 1968, but disappeared en route with all hands. Despite extensive searches over the course of more than three decades, ​its wreckage was not located until 1999, between the islands of Cyprus and Crete.