The Israeli Navy’s fourth Dolphin-class submarine, Tanin (Crocodile), has successfully completed a maintenance programme and resumed its routine operational activity following operational readiness tests.
During the 22-month maintenance period, the German-built submarine was disassembled completely for repair and refit, in a bid to enhance its performance during regular operations at sea.
The Israeli Navy invests in submarine upgrades and maintenance phases for every 15 years, which allow the vessels to remain deployed into operational service for over 30 years.
Armed with 10 torpedo tubes as well as nuclear warheads, the small diesel-powered Dolphin submarine has been designed to support long-range security missions along national borders in addition to conducting coastal patrols.
The navy currently operates three Dolphin-class submarines which were developed and delivered by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW), a unit of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, between 1999 and 2000.
The fourth and fifth submarines were ordered in 2005, with Germany contributing a total of €333m, which is equal to about a third of the submarine’s cost.
Operations for the fourth Dolphin submarine are expected in early 2013, while the fifth vessel is scheduled to enter into service with the Israeli Navy in 2014, according to industry sources.
The new class of submarines is expected to replace the ageing Gal-class submarines, which entered service in 1977.
Image: Israel Navy’s Dolphin-class submarine docked at a shipyard. Photo: shlomiliss.