A submarine was delivered to Israeli officials yesterday in Germany, the fourth vessel in a six sub deal between the two nations.
The submarine will be taken to Israel in 2013, though Thursday marked its official christening. On hand at the ceremony were Israel Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ram Rothberg and senior Defense Ministry officials.
"We are launching the Tanin, Israel's fourth submarine, today. This ability is a very very critical one for the state of Israel,” Rothberg said. “It depends on the technological ability, first and foremost, and then on the ability of the people, commanders and fighters, to make the most of the abilities of this vessel in order to eventually bring peace to the State of Israel."
Udi Shani, director of the Department of Defense, added, "I have to salute the government of Germany, and all of Germany, for the truly large scale assistance it gave us in this project and others."
The commissioned vessels, called Dolphin submarines, are rumored to include cruise missiles that can be fitted with nuclear warheads. If true, the subs could be used in a second strike initiative should Israel engage in warfare with a nuclearized Iran.
The Jewish state has been under contract with Germany’s Thyssen-Krupp Marine Systems since 2005, when it was decided the company would build the fourth and fifth in a line of submarines purchased by Israel. In March of this year, Defense Minister Ehud Barak signed a contract commissioning a sixth vessel, which will be partly financed by the German government.
Last month, German Nobel Laureate Gunter Grass made headlines when he criticized his country's submarine deal with Israel.