February 25, 2012

Israeli Dolphin Sub - Nuclear Armed, Conventionally Propelled

One or two nuclear armed Israeli submarines are probably patrolling in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Iran. Israel's five Dolphin Class submarines pack a large amount of electronic warfare gear and nuclear weapons into a highly developed AIP version of the compact HDW 209 submarine. If Australia desperately needed nuclear weapons at short notice - and differing US priorities precluded US provision - then Israel may be a country to supply. Israel has the technology, little worldwide popularity to lose and much to gain by closer relations with Australia.

Its interesting that under a reparations for the Holocaust agreement Germany provided the original Dolphin free and the next two for a 33% discount (together the first three Dolphins averaged a low US$320 million each). Strategypage October 2, 2009, reports:

"Three years after it signed a deal with Germany, Israel has received two more German built Dolphin class submarines. Israel already had three Dolphins, which they received 8-9 years ago. These have since been upgraded to include larger fuel capacity, converting more torpedo tubes to the larger 650mm size, and installing new electronics. The fuel and torpedo tube mods appear to have something to do with stationing the subs off the coast of Iran. Larger torpedo tubes allow the subs to carry longer range missiles. The larger fuel capacity makes it easier to move Dolphins from the Mediterranean to the Indian ocean.

...Israel equipped it's new Dolphin class submarines with nuclear cruise missiles in 2002. Israel also fitted their 135 kilometer range Harpoon missiles with nuclear warheads...The Israelis have developed a cruise missile, which is has a range of 1,500 kilometers and carries a 200 kiloton nuclear warhead. The objective of deploying nukes on subs is to further enhance deterrence to any nation launching a nuclear strike against Israel. If one of the Dolphins are always at sea, even a first strike against Israel would not prevent a nuclear strike by submarine launched nukes. Israel is reported to be trying to set up a base in the Red Sea, because the most likely nuclear attackers are Iran." Whole Article

Speculation on Israeli cruise missile - NTI reports:

"Others believe that Israel has developed an indigenous cruise missile with a range of 320 kilometers that is believed to be a version of Rafael Armament Development Authority’s Popeye turbo cruise missile. Still others believe that the missile may be a version of the Gabriel 4LR that is produced by Israel Aircraft Industries. Once encapsulated, it could be launched in 533mm torpedo tubes similar to the Harpoon.

Such speculation was further fueled by an unconfirmed test of a nuclear-capable, submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM) in the Indian Ocean in 2000. Some reports claimed targets 1,500 kilometers away were hit. Such a range, however, implies an entirely new type of missile. However, the Israeli Defense Forces denies any such missile tests. In June 2002, former State Department and Pentagon officials confirmed that the U.S. Navy observed Israeli missile tests in the Indian Ocean in 2000, and that the Dolphin-class vessels have been fitted with nuclear-capable cruise missiles of a new design. Israel issued new denials, albeit in an indirect manner. " whole NTI article