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Israel orders three new submarines from TKMS

24th January 2022 - 17:15 GMT | by Harry Lye in London


Rendering of a Dakar-class submarine. (Image: TKMS)

The presence of an elongated sail on concept artwork and the high price tag of the submarines has prompted questions about the capabilities of new boats ordered by Israel from Germany.

The Israeli government on 20 January announced it had reached an agreement with German firm ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) on framework conditions for the purchase of three new Dakar-class hunter-killer (SSK) submarines.

TKMS said the Dakar-class boats would be built to a ‘completely new design’ engineered to meet Israeli Navy requirements and replace the country’s first batch of Dolphin-class submarines.

The purchase, worth around €3 billion ($3.40 billion), will be part-funded by a German government grant.

The Israeli MoD said the first submarine would be delivered to the navy within ‘about’ nine years, adding that the hulls would be ‘among the most advanced of their kind in the world’.

The agreement also covers the construction of a submarine marine simulator in Israel, as well as the supply of spares and a logistics support package.

Since the announcement of the deal, speculation has been rife about the expanded capabilities of the submarines, with some media reports suggesting the boats could be fitted with vertical launch systems (VLSs).

Shephard Defence Insight notes that the inclusion of VLS on new-generation SSKs is an increasing trend. VLS would offer the Israeli Navy increased strike capabilities.

The new submarine deal builds on an already strong relationship between Israel and TMKS, with the shipyard having delivered four Sa’ar 6 corvettes to the Israeli Navy.

The first batch of Dolphin-class SSKs entered service between 1999 and 2000, with the class approaching the end of its 30-year service life later this decade.

Shephard contacted TKMS and the Israeli MoD for comment; however, neither had responded by the time of publication.

The move to buy submarines from TKMS may open up some uncomfortable political wounds in Israel, especially as the Cabinet on 23 January gave the go-ahead to a state commission inquiry into allegations of bribery and conflicts of interest surrounding a previous Israeli-German submarine deal.

Harry Lye


Harry Lye

Harry Lye is Senior Naval Reporter at Shephard Media.

Harry joined the company in 2021, …

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