IDF Dolphin-class submarine
IDF Dolphin-class submarine Flash 90

The Israeli navy celebrated the 60th anniversary Wednesday of the establishment of Israel’s submarine fleet, an IDF spokesperson said in a statement Thursday afternoon.

The event was hosted by the commander of the Israeli navy, General Eliyahu Sharvit; along with Colonel Assaf, who commands Israel’s submarine fleet; and a number of Israeli submarine commanders, both past and present.

Israel’s submarine force was first established in 1959 by Captain Yosef Dror, and began with just with just two World War II-era diesel boats; the HMS Springer, renamed the INS Tanin, and the HMS Sanguine, renamed the INS Rahav.

Today, the Israeli submarine fleet includes five vessels: two new Dolphin class boats bearing the names of the original two submarines – the INS Rahav and INS Tanin – along with the INS Livyathan, the INS Dolphin, and the INS Tekumah. The Israeli Navy will soon expand to six submarines with the delivery of the INS Dragon, currently slated to go operational in 2020.

The ceremony Wednesday remembered the 76 Israeli navy personnel who died in the line of duty during submarine operations, including the 69 who died when the INS Dakar sank in January 1968.

During Wednesday’s event, Colonel Assaf, the commander of Israel’s submarine fleet praised the fleet’s founder, Yosef Dror for his “vision, dedication, sacrifice, immense talent, and his mission and even his audacity.”

Today’s submarine squadron, Assaf continued, “is modern, advanced, and sophisticated. It is a fleet which maintains and uses its skills and operational capabilities.”

The commander of the Israeli navy, General Eliyahu Sharvit, dubbed the submarine fleet the Israeli military’s “trump card”.

The submarine force, he said, “are a strategic asset to the IDF and the State of Israel more precious than gold. I can say with confidence that there is no other unit in the Navy or anywhere else in the IDF like Squadron 7. Squadron 7’s stealth is its ‘trump card’.”

60 שנה לשייטת הצוללות דובר צה"ל