The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) and Ministry of Defence have launched the fifth Dolphin-class submarine, INS Rahav, during a ceremony at the shipbuilding division of Thyssen-Krupp Marine Systems in Kiel, Germany.
Procurement of INS Rahav follows an extensive development and acquisition process, which was carried out by the Ministry of Defense's Procurement and Production Directorate with support from the Israeli Navy.
Israel ordered six Dolphin-class submarines from Germany, amid tensions in the Middle East over Iran's nuclear programme.
The navy currently operates three Dolphin-class submarines, which were delivered between 1999 and 2000 and manufactured by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW), a unit of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems.
Delivery of the fourth and fifth submarines was agreed for 2005, with Germany contributing around a third of the cost with a total of €333m.
In March 2012, Germany has also agreed to deliver the sixth Dolphin-class submarine, which is yet to be named, to Israel and will finance part of the total.
Equipped with air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems support submerged missions for a longer period, the vessel features a PRS-3 passive ranging sonar, search radar operating at I-band and sonar suite, consisting of CSU 90 hull-mounted passive and active search and attack radar.
Powered by three 16V 396 SE 84 diesel engines, the 57.3m-long and 1,640t Dolphin-class submarines can run for up to 30 days and can conducting interdiction and surveillance operations and special missions.
Armed with submarine-launched Harpoon, the submarines are fitted with 4CH(V)2 Timnex electronic support measures system and ISUS 90-1 TCSweapon control system.
Following completion of operational systems installation, the INS Rahav submarine will arrive in Israel in 2014 to replace the ageing Gal-class submarines, which entered service with the navy in 1977.
Image: Officials during the launch ceremony of INS Rahav. Photo: courtesy of Israeli Defense Ministry.