Commander in Chief of the Navy, Rear Admiral Ram Rutberg, left, salutes as CEO of the Ministry of Defense, Major General (Res.) Ehud Shani looks on during a ceremony inaugurating the INS Rahav in Kiel, Germany. (Israeli Defense Ministry)
TEL AVIV — Israel inaugurated its fifth nuclear-capable Dolphin-class submarine April 29 in Kiel, Germany, home of the shipbuilding division of Thyssen-Krupp Marine Systems (TKMS).
The INS Rahav, the fifth of six Israeli submarines built at the German shipyard with funding assistance from Berlin, is expected to arrive here sometime next year following weapon system integration and sea trials.
It follows the May 2012 inauguration of Israelís fourth Dolphin-class submarine, the INS Tanin, which is scheduled for operational deployment in the coming months.
Like its predecessor and the sixth submarine now undergoing hull construction at the TKMS shipyard, INS Rahav features an air-independent propulsion (AIP) system that allows for extended mission range and endurance.
By mid-2017, the Israel Navy should have full operational command of its strategic undersea fleet.
The Israel Navyís Dolphin-class submarines are the product of two decades of strategic cooperative program between Israel and Germany. Constructed in Germany according to Israeli design specifications, the submarines host Israeli-developed command, control and combat systems including, according to foreign reports, land-attack and cruise missiles capable of carrying tactical nuclear warheads.
German fully funded construction costs for Israelís first two Dolphins, shared half the cost of Israelís third submarine, and has underwritten about a third of the costs for the fourth and fifth vessels now undergoing sea trials. Under a government-to-government contract signed last year for Israelís sixth and final Dolphin-class sub, Berlin agreed to underwrite some Ä135 million (US $175.8 million) on an acquisition that sources here say will exceed Ä600 million.
The April 29 inauguration ceremony was attended by Udi Shani, director-general of the Israeli MoD; Vice Adm. Ram Rothberg, Israeli Navy commander; and German counterparts.