Israel plans to deploy three submarines equipped with nuclear cruise missiles in the Persian Gulf, near the Iranian coastline, the Times reports Sunday. The report did not say when the submarines would be stationed in the area.
According to the London-based newspaper's report, the three submarines - Dolphin, Tekuma and Leviathan - have visited the Gulf before, but the decision has now been taken to ensure the permanent presence of at least one of the vessels.
The flotilla’s commander, identified only as “Colonel O”, was quoted as telling an Israeli newspaper: “We are an underwater assault force. We’re operating deep and far, very far, from our borders.”
According to the report, each of the submarines has a crew of 35 to 50, commanded by a colonel capable of launching a nuclear cruise missile.
The vessels, the Times said, can remain at sea for about 50 days and stay submerged up to 1,150 feet below the surface for at least a week. According to the Times, some of the cruise missiles are equipped with the most advanced nuclear warheads in the Israeli arsenal.
A Navy officer was quoted as saying that “the 1,500km range of the submarines’ cruise missiles can reach any target in Iran."
It should be noted that the presence of all three submarines in the Persian Gulf is not required in order to attack Iran, and such missiles can be launched from a greater distance without placing all submarines in the same area.
The three submarines were built for the Israeli Navy in Germany and were designed for a variety of missions, including exposing and monitoring vessels and drowning them with underwater Torpedo missiles and over-the-horizon Harpoon missiles.
In addition, these submarines can secretly reach distant shores for intelligence gathering purposes, to direct an aerial force at targets located near the coast and for landing submarine crewmen and fighters.
Dolphin submarines are diesel-electric, but according to foreign reports, they have offensive operational abilities installed only in atomic submarines used by world powers like the United States, Russia, Britain and France.
Apparently responding to the Israeli activity, an Iranian admiral was quoted as saying: “Anyone who wishes to do an evil act in the Persian Gulf will receive a forceful response from us.”