In a dramatic departure from previous Israeli Navy modernization plans — which prescribed several years of study before determining requirements for its future undersea force — a senior officer now says the service needs three new Dolphin AIP-class submarines “as fast as possible.”
The sense of urgency communicated by the officer marked an about-face from plans articulated by a senior commander just last November, prior to a widening police investigation into possible conflicts of interest between the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Kiel, Germany-based shipyard that builds the Dolphin-class submarines for the Israeli Navy.
At the time, a former commander, recently retired, noted that the Navy was only in initial study phases for a next-generation submarine. He estimated it could take years of study since “we’re talking about an entirely different submarine from the Dolphin or the Dolphin AIP.” He was referring to the first three Israeli-designed Dolphins and the follow-on three air-independent propulsion submarines contracted with the ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, or TKMS, shipyard, all but one of which has been delivered. […]