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‘Spy tool': Commander touts strategic role of new Israeli submarines

Special to WorldTribune.com

TEL AVIV — The Israel Navy has been using its latest electric-diesel submarines for operations far from the Jewish state.

Officers said the Navy deployed the Dolphin-class submarines in surveillance operations against distant adversaries. They said the Dolphin could reach every target of Israel in and beyond the Middle East.

one of the Israel Navy's three Dolphin-class submarines on maneuvers in the Mediterranean Sea.  /(Reuters/Israeli Defense Forces

Israeli Navy Dolphin-class submarines on maneuvers in the Mediterranean. /Reuters/Israeli Defense Forces

“There are always submarines at sea,” the commander of the Navy’s submarine school, identified only as Maj. Y., said. “Wherever you place your finger on a map of the sea, there may be a submarine there.”

The Navy has been operating four Dolphin submarines, produced by Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems. The Navy was preparing for another two underwater platforms, deemed the most modern in the world. The fifth Dolphin was expected to be introduced in 2015, with the sixth two years later.

“The new submarines are almost identical to the ones before, but they are newer and bigger,” the sub school commander said.

The naval school has intensified operations in an effort to churn out cadets to operate the new Dolphins. The major said the Dolphin was a stealth platform whose espionage operations remain classified.

“Our contribution during times of peace is with tremendous amounts of
intelligence,” Y. said. “The submarine is a spy tool and we do not ignore
that. During times of war, submarines are one of the most far-reaching
instruments in the Israel Defense Forces. You do not know where it is and do
not know where it will sink you.”

Officers said Dolphin was acquired and modified to meet such threats as
Iran and other distant adversaries. They said the submarine school began its
largest course in April 2013, with an expected attrition rate of 90 percent.

“The incoming submarines are the best conventional submarines in the
world,” Y. said. “I think we’re at one of the highest levels of submarine
operation, both in terms of safety and in terms of preparedness.”

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