Speaking at the graduation ceremony for navy sailors, Rothberg said the INS Tanin (crocodile in Hebrew) had left its German port and was due to arrive in Israel. Rothberg added that the new Dolphin-class submarine will "dive deeper, farther, and longer; it will operate with unprecedented capabilities."
The Dolphin-class submarine is a versatile vehicle capable of adapting for a wide-range of deployments. The 7th Flotilla, Israel's submarine unit, represents the most far-reaching tool in the arsenal of the Navy, the IDF, and the State of Israel.
Dolphin-class submarine (Archive photo: AFP)
Throughout the year the submariners undertake intensive missions both near and far from Israel's shores, operating under a cloak of secrecy. Dual-citizen applicants to the elite volunteer force are required to renounce their second nationality before being accepted into the training program.
The INS Tanin will soon be joined by the INS Rahav, which was christened in April 2013 and will arrive in Israel when it becomes operational.
Dolphin-class sub in dry-dock (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
In May 2012, during an official ceremony in the Kiel shipyards, the German builders transferred the INS Tanin to the Israeli Navy. The INS Tanin is considered to be one of the most advanced submarines in the world; it is also the most expensive tool in the IDF's arsenal.
Two months after the ceremony, former prime minister Ehud Olmert voiced his opposition to the procurement of the costly submarines and harshly criticized then defense minister Ehud Olmert for deciding to purchase a sixth vehicle.
"I am sure there are military personnel who likely raised more than an eyebrow when they heard of all the various procurements and investments in supposedly strategic assets – purely a waste of money that could have been spent on Israel's vital needs."
According to foreign reports, the new submarine will have similar capabilities to those already operating in the Navy, including the ability to carry nuclear weapons. The central upgrade is an advanced technological element placed at the center of the sub, which extends the submarine's diving capability by dozens of meters and allows for extensive deployments on the open seas.