Navy Upgrades Despite Budget Cuts

YERUSHALAYIM -
An Israeli navy Dolphin-class submarine seen off the coast of Haifa. The Dolphin is a diesel-electric submarine which was developed and constructed in Germany for the Israeli Navy’s specific needs and is rated among the most sophisticated and powerful in the world. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)
An Israeli navy Dolphin-class submarine seen off the coast of Haifa. The Dolphin is a diesel-electric submarine which was developed and constructed in Germany for the Israeli Navy’s specific needs and is rated among the most sophisticated and powerful in the world. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)

Despite steep budget cuts to the Defense Ministry, the Israeli navy is plunging ahead with an unprecedented upgrading of its weapons capabilities, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The navy has been working with Israeli defense companies to develop a range of surface and underwater technologies, which will enhance its defensive and striking power.

“We will upgrade the weapons of these new submarines,” a source in the Navy said, referring to the INS Tanin — Israel’s fourth German-made Dolphin-class submarine — slated to service in 2014.

A few months later, the INS Rahav will join the fleet. The sixth new generation Dolphin is still being manufactured at a German shipyard.

“People are staying up late into the night around here, because a lot of new technology is being introduced,” he said.

A new long-range air defense system for missile ships is being installed this year.

“From now on we’ll have the ability of destroying incoming threats dozens of kilometers away. It won’t be like before, when we were without independent air defenses. We won’t have to trouble the air force,” the source said.

A major challenge that the navy will have to meet is that of safeguarding Israel’s newly discovered natural gas reservoirs and drilling rigs. To do so, the navy is seeking allocations to enable the addition of four missile ships, drones, unmanned sea vessels and patrol air craft.

The offshore drilling zone is the size of the state of Israel itself, and must be defended against terrorist threats and hostile states. Otherwise, the much-ballyhooed energy boon will simply go bust for lack of security.