Sunday, June 03, 2012

Der Spiegel: Israel’s German-built Submarines Are Equipped With Nuclear Weapons

The German publication Der Spiegel has reported that the Dolphin-class submarines built (and partially financed) by Germany and supplied to Israel are equipped with a special hydraulic launch system capable of launching nuclear missiles. They're also saying that Germany was fully aware of this but chose not to publicize it.

This is all part of a 12-page expose entitled “Secret Operation Samson: How Germany arms nuclear Israel.”

Of course, to those of you whom read these pages regularly, none of this is exactly news. The Dolphin-class subs ( Israel now has four with two more scheduled for delivery) are perfect additions for Israel's naval needs.

They have a cruising range of 4,500 km/ 2,700 miles, which makes some potentially interesting targets in Iran or Hezbollah's bases in Lebanon easily reachable for Israel's “Popeye Turbo” cruise missiles, which are also nuclear capable. The ten torpedo tubes can also fire torpedoes or anti-ship missiles like Boeing’s UGM-86 Harpoons, and the Dolphins also have a wet and dry compartment for deploying underwater frogmen and commandos.

The Israeli newspaper Yediot's translation of the Der Spiegel piece quotes it as saying, “Research in Germany, Israel and the US leaves no room for doubt. Using German marine technology, Israel has created a floating nuclear arsenal in the Middle East.”

According to the article, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has denied that the submarines have the capability to carry nuclear warheads. In truth, according to the Der Spiegel report, the German government has long been aware of the nuclear capability of the submarines, but out of understanding for Israel’s security needs has always agreed to “look the other way.”

It really doesn't make any difference whether Merkel was telling the truth, of course. The Israelis have a long history of modifying foreign military equipment to suit their own needs that goes back to the 1948 War of Independence, when the Jewish State was largely limited to whatever arms they could manage to manufacture, purchase on the black market or capture from the Arabs.

There's no question that they have the technology to make the Dolphins nuclear-capable whether the Germans went along with it or not.

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