Ynet news; published March 21, 2012
Israel signed a contract Wednesday to purchase its sixth Dolphin-class submarine for a reported $530 million. Germany will fund a third of the vessel's cost.
In May 2011, a special ministerial committee decided to accept the recommendations of Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who promoted its purchase. Israel already operates three Dolphins and bought two more from Germany in 2006.
In comparison, the new F-35 – or F-35 Lightning II, as it is officially called – is expected to arrive at Israel's Air Force at 2016 at the earliest, and cost approximately $100 million per jet. The advanced torpedo ships the Navy has expressed interest in cost between $400-500 million per vessel.
The new and improved Dolphin submarine is the most advanced of its kind, operating solely in regular diesel fuel, as opposed to nuclear fuel like all other military watercrafts in the world. According to foreign reports, the new Dolphin would be able to carry nuclear weapons and its various capabilities would allow for it to operate in many scenarios and missions, even on prolonged and distanced voyages.
In the months to come, Navy officials are expected to travel to Germany to get better acquainted with the fourth Dolphin submarine, which is currently being built there, and transport it to Israel within the upcoming year. The fifth submarine, also being worked on in Germany, will be transported in a similar way the following year.
The contract was signed Wednesday morning at a ceremony in Berlin, at the presence of Barak, Defense Ministry Director-General Udi Shani and German State Secretary of the Ministry of Defense Rudiger Wolf.
"The submarine will act a force multiplier for the IDF's and the State of Israel's capabilities and power against the increasing challenges ahead. The agreement is an expression of the deep relationship with Germany and the German government's commitment to the security of the State of Israel," Barak stated after the ceremony.
"The Navy has been going through strategic changes in recent years which place it at the spearhead of Israel's defense array," he concluded.