Israel to sign deal to acquire sixth German submarine (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Barak Ravid 03/20/12)
HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE
HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE Articles-Index-Top
Israel will sign a deal tomorrow to acquire a sixth German-made
submarine, with the German government paying a third of the cost. The
deal will be inked in Berlin by Defense Minister Ehud Barak and his
German counterpart, Thomas de Maiziere.
A senior Defense Ministry official said the deal has strategic
significance for Israel´s security.
"Despite all the problems en route, Israel is determined to equip
itself with this tool," the official said. "When we have more
submarines we can maintain continuous operations, and that gives the
navy some breathing room."
The German parliament approved the agreement, including Germany´s 135
million euro contribution, a few months ago, following three years of
negotiations. It did so only after Israel released the Palestinian
Authority tax revenue that it froze when UNESCO admitted "Palestine"
as a member state.
According to the Defense Ministry official, Barak will leave for
Berlin today and hold a series of meetings with De Maiziere, Foreign
Minister Guido Westerwelle, German National Security Adviser
Christoph Heusgen, the chief of the German General Staff and senior
members of parliament.
"Such visits to Germany are important, because the Germans are a key
partner on both diplomatic and security issues," the official
said. "There will be strategic talks on all the matters on the
agenda, topped by Iran.
"Although there are disagreements on the Palestinian issue, Germany
is a very friendly country, and there is well-established security
cooperation with them," the official added.
The signing ceremony tomorrow will be attended by former Israeli
ambassador to Germany Yoram Ben Zeev, who worked intensively over the
past three years to advance the submarine deal. His replacement,
Yaakov Hadas, who presented his credentials last week, will also
Israel´s submarine fleet is the navy´s long-range strategic arm. It
currently numbers three German-made Dolphin vessels, with a fourth
and fifth on order.
The first three submarines were given to Israel by Germany in the
late 1990s, with the German government footing most of the bill.
According to foreign reports, they are equipped with cruise missiles
that have a range of 1,500 kilometers and can carry nuclear warheads.
These reports say the submarines enable Israel to deliver a "second
strike" in the event of a nuclear attack.
The fleet also carries out intelligence-gathering missions far from
Israel´s borders and defends its territorial waters.
Construction of the fourth and fifth submarines, in the German city
of Kiel, is almost complete, and they are scheduled to be delivered
in 2013 and 2014, respectively. These two vessels are equipped with
state-of-the-art systems that enable them to remain underwater for a
longer period of time.
The sixth submarine, which won´t arrive for at least another four
years, will be even more advanced. (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY