In late March 2015 much of the Israeli media (eg. a haaretz article of March 30, 2015) seem to be carrying Israeli government generated news of technical progress with the ISS Tanin nuclear capable submarine. Tanin appears to be the most complete of Israel's Dolphin 2 class SSKs. It does not appear the Tanin is anywhere near formal commissioning - so why the publicity?
The media reports substantially carry mention of the nuclear second strike capabilities of the Dolphins. This is a subject that requires Israeli Government permission to be published.
The reason to mention second strike appears to be Syrian government acquisition and possible deployment of Russian-made P-800 Yakhont, NATO reporting codename SS-N-26 "Strobile" - a supersonic cruise missiles. What has Israel worried is not so much the usual anti-shipping role but more the Yakhont's land attack capability.
With Syria's record of using Sarin gas on crude warheads against civilians Israel's worry about the Oniks would be considerable. Syrian use of radiological warheads might also be feasible and of course high explosive. The chances of Sunni rebels or Sunni governments acquiring Yakhonts adds an extra worry. See my May 21, 2013 article on Israeli airstrikes on Syria.
Media stories on Israeli second strike would of course have a "put pressure on Iran" intent as well.
In an added twist India and Russia are jointly developing the BrahMos version of the Yakhont. India wishes to market BrahMos to several countries in the Asia-Pacific. Meanwhile Russia has already supplied the Yakhont in Australia's region to Indonesia and Vietnam.
Please link with Submarine Matters' Israeli Dolphin Sub, Nuclear Armed, Conventionally Propelled, February 25, 2012 which mentions possible Israeli developed nuclear warheads on submarine launched Harpoon missiles (SLCMs). Israel's current nuclear SLCM may be the socalled Popeye Turbo or perhaps an Israeli version of the (jointly developed?) Indian K-15 small ballistic missile. The Dolphin 1s and 2's extraordinarily high number of ten torpedo tubes (including 4 unusually large 650mm tubes) implies the ability to rapidly launch ten nuclear land attack missiles.
The sequence of the Dolphin 2s being delivered by Germany then modified/completed in Israel (Haifa) is a bit puzzling. Based on "Boats" but updated:
Dolphin 1 class
- Dolphin – delivered May 1998 – commissioned 1999
- Leviathan (trans. "Leviathan" or "whale") – delivered 1999 – commissioned 2000
- Tekumah (trans. "Revival") – delivered 2000 – commissioned 2000
- Tanin (trans. "Tannin" or "Crocodile") – delivered 23 Sept 2014 - enter service 2015, commisioning 2015 or 2016?
- Rahav (trans. "Splendour") – delivered 29 April 2013 - enter service in 2015 or 2016?
- Name not assigned yet. Ordered 21 March 2012. Enter service in 2017 or 2018?