January 19, 2016

Israel's Dolphin Submarines, Naval Bases and SigInt Network

At Haifa Naval Base , in mid September 2014, missile boats and civilian yatchs welcome entry of  Dolphin 2 class, INS Tannin or Rahav? Note how its blue hull and fin camoflage it against the Mediterranean Sea and sky.
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The Israeli Navy (including the Submarine Service/Flotilla and the largest, corvette sized, surface ships are mainly based at Haifa in northern Israel. Haifa is Israel’s third largest city and the country’s largest port

Israel's TKMS built Dolphin Submarines

The most important part of the Israeli Navy is the submarine service of 5 Dolphin class submarines. They are most important in overall tonnage, intelligence acquisition value, conventional weapons capability and the submarines are the only part of the Israeli Navy with nuclear weapons. The Dolphins are developments of TKMS's Type 209 and 212As

The German Government (maybe cross-subsidised by the US Government) has paid about one third of the cost of the Dolphins. This is a post Holocaust German donation to Israel. 

The Dolphin 1 class (early history) consists of three submarines:

-  INS Dolphin (delivered 1999)
-  INS Livyathan (in English "Whale" delivered 1999)
-  INS Tekumah ("Revival" delivered 2000)

AIP Dolphin 2 class: The Dolphin 2s have fuel cell air independent propulsion (AIP) probably to allow them to sit on the seafloor. 

The principal "SSBK" mission is to provide a first or second strike using "Popeye Turbo" missiles against Tehran. This may involve sitting on the floor of the Arabian and/or Mediterranean Seas for 2 to 3 weeks. Interestingly the Dolphin 2s (and maybe Dolphin 1s) have Triton anti-helicopter missiles.

The Dolphin 2 class consists of two submarines delivered and one (INS Dakar) on order: 

-  INS Tannin (Crocodile, delivered in 2012)
-  INS Rahav (in English "Splendour" or "Prostitute"? delivered in 2014)
-  INS Dakar ("Grouper fish" or "Swordfish" ordered 21 March 2012, expected operational 2019) 


In (map above) see Israel's Naval Bases from north to south:

-  Haifa (the main and largest base) located in northern Israel. As well as the submarines Haifa hosts 3 corvettes (Israeli Navy's largest surface ships) and smaller boats - all in the Missile Boats Flotilla. The corvettes are 1,200 ton Sa'ar 5-class (commissioned in 1994-95),

The Naval Training Base is also at Haifa, containing submarine operations school, missile boat operations school and naval command school. The naval training base also functions as the Israeli Naval Academy. Israel is a small place so most things are packed in together and most people know one another way back!

-  Atlit Navy "SEAL" Base is 20 km south of Haifa. The "SEAL" unit might be called "Shayetet 13".

-  Tel Aviv (Navy HQ) and likely navy supported SigInt and military intelligence center. Tel Aviv is Israel’s second largest city (after Jerusalem). 

-  Ashdod (Patrol Boats Squadron 916) is 30 km south of Tel Aviv, 

-  Eliat (patrol boats and maybe submarine replenishment, in south) is on the Gulf of Aqaba - with access to the Red Sea and then Arabian Sea (the SSBK station against Iran).


Haifa Naval Base is just on the land side of the breakwater to the left of "HAIFA PORT" as marked on the map. (Map courtesy Orange Smile maps)
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Israeli Signals Intelligence (SigInt)

Navies are more than vessels (subs and ships) and "spit and polish" shore establishments. Communications and intelligence are equally essential.

The “Israeli NSA” (with the typically bland cover name “Unit 8200”) is manned by Israeli Defence Force (IDF) service members (including Navy) as well as by civilians. The Israeli NSA staff are mainly programmers and university graduates in engineering, computer science and other technological professions.

The Israeli Navy SigInt feeder network to Israeli NSA would come from naval bases (especially from Matam technology park, Haifa?) and from submarines and ships tasked with electronic intelligence gathering missions. Non-military inputs would also come from Mossad and Israel's FBI like "Shin Bet/Shabak".

The Israeli NSA would be co-located with the IDF's command, communications and all source military intelligence functions. All of them within Tel Aviv's IDF HQ at HaKirya. As aficionados of SigInt know SigInt is all about targeted collection and computer processing all serving customer analysts.

The Israeli NSA's main target would be terrorism. Russian operations (including Tartus) over the border in Syria would be another major target. Close relations-sharing  with other NSAs are likely.

The Israeli Navy is one of the customers and larger vessel operations might be assisted by NSA work in real time.

An Israeli Dolphin (1 or 2?) submarine and a US Arleigh Burke class destroyer at Haifa Naval Base, northern Israel. Great location, but shame about all the conflict and terrorism nearby. (Photos via Foxtrot Alpha)
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Israel's main naval base is at Haifa. (courtesy). One can theorise where the nuclear "Popeye Turbo" missiles are stored and fitted into Dolphin submarines.
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See previous Submarine Matters articles on the Dolphin Submarines: here (nuclear missiles), here (Israeli "218"), and here (some good out of water hull photos). Using "Dolphin" in search box reveals other Dolphin articles in Submarine Matters.

Here is an interesting February 12, 2016 article on Israel's Dolphin submarines, their weapons, other specs and operating/transit issues: http://www.globalresearch.ca/israels-nuclear-armed-submarine-fleet-in-mediterranean-threatens-europe-and-middle-east/5507364 .
Pete 

16 comments:

Arden said...

Peter how are you going to compare SM-2MR, HQ-9,Aster-30,Naval S-300 performance vs BARAK-8/LR-SAM?

Peter Coates said...

Hi Arden

The submarine-naval industry apparently pays for those who give advise or who translate high tech subjects.

Feel free to contact me on pete74730@yahoo.com.au

Regards

Pete

Nicky said...

Hi Pete,
You may like this Article and it seems like Spain has developed a new propulsion system that is way better than AIP Hydrogen fuel cell based.

New System Means Methanol Suitable for Submarines
http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/new-system-means-methanol-suitable-for-submarines

Nicky said...

Hi Pete

Looks like Russia is abandoning the Lada class SSK. Any Speculation as to why?

Russia Scraps Plans of Additional Project 677 Submarines Construction
http://sputniknews.com/russia/20160119/1033354924/russia-plans-additional-submarines-construction.html

Nicky said...

Hi Pete,

Check out this article. Russia is ditching the Lada class SSK and going with something else.

Russia Ramps Up Switch to Next-Gen Submarines
http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/russia-ramps-switch-next-gen-submarines-14965

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

Thanks for the Methanol AIP reference http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/new-system-means-methanol-suitable-for-submarines

Looks like Methano defragmenting is the next big advance in AIP. Germany is working on Methanol and probably France as well.

Spain may be well advanced on Methanol but suffers from not having developed a submarine to put an AIP system in. Spain's S-80, Isaac Peral class, has been chronically delayed.

Therefore Spain may do better if it again cooperated more closely with DCNS.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

Thanks for your two comments on Russia abandoning the Lada class SSK.

On "Any Speculation as to why?"

As the articles suggest Russia has failed to develop an AIP or adequate (diesel-electric) propulsion systems for the Lada (and this would also mean its export version "Amur").

Russia now saying it is developing the "fifth generation" Kalina class is largely marketing hype that is face saving for Russia's Ruben Design Bureau.

Customers, including Russian Navy and foreign navies have waited 15 years for Russia to develop an AIP. Russia has spread its resources thin by devoting greater effort to develop better submarine nuclear reactors (arguably "nuclear AIP").

Rubin has been attempting but failing to provide advanced AIP submarines that are as good as SSKs built by all other submarine building powers including: Germany, France, Sweden, South Korea, China and Japan.

The Kalina Project may take until the early to mid 2020s to produce real results (Rubin marketing announcements until then).

Regards

Pete

Nicky said...

Hi Pete,
So what happens to the Lada/Amur class SSK

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

As new Ladas have failed as a new class and hence have been discontinued prospects for an Amur class are from dim to nil.

In http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2015/08/morocco-may-become-first-buyer-of.html I just wrote:

January 2016 reports from Russia are that Russian AIP (essential to market Amurs) has not been developed hence additional Ladas (after L2 and L3) and any export Amurs will no longer be built. In December 2015 or Janaury 2016 it is likely that Russia offered Morocco the Improved Kilo class instead. This is assuming Morocco would not accept a Russian offer of a future "fifth generation" Kalina class SSK - with the Kalinas only likely to be operational (with AIP) in the Russian Navy in the mid 2020s.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

The Russian site "bastion-karpenko", always with many latest news on Russian defense programs, stated a week ago that Lada 677 class will be stopped after 3rd built and they will be restricted to the Baltic fleet. The same site mentioned a week before 6 additional 636.3 are being ordered. It said that the AIP design is not available for testing until 2022 which probably means DOA in my opinion. Although it said project 677 is 10x quieter than Kilo, I have problems believing that claim.
KQN

Nicky said...

Hi Pete,
So why do you think the Lada/Amur class SSK has failed and what do you suspect is their failure. Do you think the Russians see that the Improved Kilo class SSK is a top seller for them and a source of military sales.

Peter Coates said...

Thankyou KQN

Your views are very informative.

Yes it is very significant that the Russian Navy ordered 6 additional Improved Kilo class (636.3) and did not order any Ladas.

Russia has also been emphasising Akulas and Yasens to fill its attack submarine ranks.

Unlike US, France and UK, Russia has not developed an all nuclear propelled submarine force. China and India are also also mixed force developers, like Russia.

1. Perhaps Russia's strategy is to grow its submarine fleet quickly utilising lower cost SSKs?

2. After the Improved Kilos 636.3 I wonder whether the Russian Navy will use "5th Generation" SSKs at all?

Regards

Pete

Nicky said...

Hi Pete,
I am wondering, if the Russians saw the failures in the Lada/Amur class SSK that they went back to the more reliable Improved Kilo class 636.3 Kilo class SSK. In which I wonder what is the difference between the Improved Kilo class 636.3 Kilo class SSK and the Lada/Amur class SSK.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

I'll do a Lada-Amur implications article tomorrow.

Regards

Pete

Josh said...

Two random things to note - that Blue color that the sail of the sub has might actually be more for use in the Persian Gulf rather than the Med...the Med is deeper and coloring is less important, and as far as I know other SSK operators color their submarines more conventionally. However the Ghadir class in use by the Iranians uses this same coloring, probably because blending in visually with the waters of the Gulf is much more relevant where periscope depth is about as deep as you can go:

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-j2oFM75rb6Y/Te_AHbFgo0I/AAAAAAAALHU/afGPLqyRe7Y/s1600/Iranian+mini+sub.jpg

Second is just a nit pick, the picture with the caption 'US Frigate?' is an Arleight Burke destroyer, Flight I, since it has the Harpoon launchers and no hanger.


Cheers,
Josh

Peter Coates said...

Hi Josh [Jan 26, 2:19AM]

As Israeli submarines need to transit the Mediterranean and Red Sea to operate and get to the Arabian Sea their colouring would need to be a compromise for all these environments.

As I pointed out in http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2015/10/irans-submarine-forces.html the very shallow and congested waters of the Persian Gulf are restrictive for submarines. Small low value subs like the Ghadir class - thanks for http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-j2oFM75rb6Y/Te_AHbFgo0I/AAAAAAAALHU/afGPLqyRe7Y/s1600/Iranian+mini+sub.jpg are far more suitable.

I'd say it is unlikely the Israelis would risk there nuclear weapons being carried in Persian Gulf waters.

Not "nitpicking" on the "US Frigate" at all. I was actually seeking help identifying it. Which you have given. Yep it looks like a Arleigh Burke - I'll change the text accordingly.

Regards

Pete