Norway has informed German shipbuilding company Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) that it will no longer be allowed to test Israel-bound submarines in its territorial waters as part of the country's ban on security exports to Israel, local media reported this week.
Reports said the decision stems from the Israeli navy's role in enforcing the blockade of Gaza.
According to an agreement signed in 2006, in early 2011 the Israeli navy is due to receive one improved Dolphin submarine built by HDW, which is based in the German city of Kiel. Israel is scheduled to receive another one in 2012.
HDW leases a Norwegian submarine base to test its new submarines.
The Israeli navy has been using three Dolphin submarines for the past decade. The submarines were built in Germany in the late 1990s.
Apart from their surveillance and intelligence gathering capabilities, Dolphin submarines can sink enemy vessels using torpedoes and Harpoon missiles.
In addition, foreign media report that the submarines are equipped with strategic cruise missiles with a range of 1,500 kilometers (about 932 miles), and can also be armed with nuclear warheads.
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