Fourth Dolphin submarine starts long journey to Israel: An official ceremony was held in the German city of Kiel Thursday to mark the handover of a fourth submarine to Israel's Navy.
The Tanin ("alligator" in Hebrew) is considered one of the world's most advanced submarines and is the IDF's most expensive. The vessel is expected to reach Israel
only in 2013 and dock at the Haifa Port.
According to foreign reports, the new submarine will possess similar capabilities to the Navy's existing submarines, including the ability to carry nuclear weapons. The main improvement is an advanced technological component that makes the sub longer and allows it to stay at sea for more extended periods of time.
Following the ceremony, a senior defense source told Ynet that Israel is at the forefront of maritime warfare in the region.
"In addition to the regular theaters we need to defend, including Egypt,
Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, we also need to safeguard gas drills, so that we must cover a wide area and our operations take place at several theaters simultaneously," he said.
Speaking at the event, the Defense Ministry's director general said that Thursday's ceremony reflected the strong, unique relationship between Germany and Israel. During the event, senior Israeli and German officials shattered a champagne bottle, a traditional good luck gesture.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak congratulated the Defense Ministry and the IDF,
saying that the new submarine will greatly boost the IDF's capabilities and the State of Israel's strength. Meanwhile, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz stressed the sub fleet's strategic importance.
"The Navy and the submarine fleet constitute a deterrent, protective and strategic arm for the IDF and for the State of Israel," he said.
A fifth submarine is currently under construction and will arrive in Israel in 2014. Recently, the German government approved the sale of a sixth submarine, which is expected to arrive in Israel by 2017.