Israel’s Deadliest Submarines Are Nearly Ready

ISS 00 S TANIN on 14-06-2014 at Kiel  (12)Israel’s new Dolphin II-class submarines are the largest undersea craft built in Germany since the Second World War, and when they reach active service they’re expected to take their place among the world’s most effective subs.

Three submarines are in various stages of construction at ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems in Kiel, Germany – the TANIN, RAHAV, and a yet-to-be-named third ship. The submarines are bigger than the three Israeli Navy Type 800 Dolphin-class submarines built in the 1990s: 68.6 meters long versus 57.3 meters for the older subs; 2,050 tons’ displacement on the surface, 2,400 tons submerged versus 1,565 tons and 1,720 tons.

Weapons include ten swim-out torpedo tubes – four 650 mm-diameter and six 533 mm-diameter tubes. Published sources credit them with carrying DM-2A4 Seehake wire-guided torpedoes, UGM-84C Harpoon antiship missiles and Triton anti-helicopter missiles.

The submarines are fitted with an air-independent propulsion (AIP) system, allowing extended underwater operations without the need to surface or snort.

The TANIN (“crocodile”) was handed over to Israel in May 2012, while the RAHAV (“arrogance” or “fearlessness”) changed hands in April 2013. Both boats remained in Germany for continued tests and trials.

These photos, published here courtesy Leo Van Ginderen, show the submarines in June 2014 at ThyssenKrupp’s Howaldtswerke (HDW) shipyard in Kiel, Germany. The photos of TANIN and RAHAV in the shipyard were taken June 14, while the TANIN is seen underway on June 19.

The TANIN out of the water on the shiplift, while the RAHAV is afloat in the foreground.

The TANIN out of the water on the shiplift, while the RAHAV is afloat in the foreground.

It's clear that only about a quarter of the submarine's hull is visible when afloat - much of the boat remains below the surface.

It’s clear that only about a quarter of the submarine’s hull is visible when afloat – much of the boat remains below the surface.

The unpainted area aft on the RAHAV (in the water) reveals the location of the diesel engine exhausts. The covers for the exhausts have been removed on the TANIN.

The unpainted area aft on the RAHAV (in the water) reveals the location of the diesel engine exhausts. The covers for the exhausts have been removed on the TANIN.

The unusual, seven-bladed propellers of the submarines are actually two co-mounted units, one with four blades and the other with three.

The submarine’s seven-bladed propeller is concealed in a shroud.

The complex control surfaces are apparent here.

The complex control surfaces are apparent here.

At lower right, behind the scaffolding, appears to be the third unit, yet to be named. The propeller is not shrouded.

At lower right, behind the scaffolding, is another submarine, probably a German Navy Type 212A. The propeller is not shrouded.

Not all the projections move -- the smaller, horizontal planes are fixed and can trail long communications wires or other sensors.

Not all the projections move — the smaller, horizontal planes are fixed and can trail long communications wires or other sensors. Note the unusual shape of the ship’s bottom. 

A better view of the unusual underbody.

A better view of the unusual underbody.

Despite its apparently fat shape, the submarines are thought to be capable of underwater speeds in excess of 25 knots.

Despite the apparently fat shape, the submarines are thought to be capable of underwater speeds in excess of 25 knots.

The TANIN heads down Kiel Fjord for more trials in the Baltic Sea.

The TANIN heads down Kiel Fjord for more trials in the Baltic Sea.

Most of the submarine's periscopes and masts are extended as she heads to sea.

Most of the submarine’s periscopes and masts are extended as she heads to sea. The numbered row of calibrations in the center of the sail is used by engineers during trials,and will be painted out before the ship enters service.

The black-blue-green color scheme is meant to make the ship less visible, and thought to be especially effective in Mediterranean waters.

The black-blue-green color scheme is meant to make the ship less visible, and thought to be especially effective in Mediterranean waters.

The ship flies the German flag and shows her name and port of registry -- just like any other merchant ship. Although officially owned by Israel, the ship is registered in Germany to enable it to travel in and out of German territorial waters without restrictions.

The ship flies the German flag and shows her name and port of registry — just like any other merchant ship. Although officially owned by Israel, the TANIN is registered in Germany to enable it to travel in and out of German territorial waters without restrictions. She won’t become a true warship until commissioned by the Israel Defense Forces.

The submarine moving down Kiel Fjord.

The submarine moving down Kiel Fjord.

Around the light, headed toward the Baltic.

Around the light, headed toward the Baltic.

The TANIN is expected to leave for Israel sometime in 2014.

The TANIN is expected to leave for Israel sometime in 2014.

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Christopher P. Cavas

If it's on, over, under or around the water, I write about it. Ships and aircraft, units, tactics, leadership, strategies, acquisition, politics, industry. In the USA and around the world.
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