Monday, November 23, 2009

Israel beefs up its submarine platform for nuclear warheads

From SpaceWars (UPI), Sep 30, 2009:

Israel has taken delivery of two German-made submarines capable of launching missiles with nuclear warheads.

...Called U212s, the submarines were upgraded in Germany by Israeli technicians and engineers in order to enable them to carry nuclear warheads. Initially in 2006, when the sale was confirmed, the German government said the two vessels were not equipped to carry nuclear weapons.

The submarines were ordered in 2005, and delivery was originally scheduled for 2010.

With the latest delivery, Israel now holds five state-of-the-art U212s, designed for a crew of 35 and capable of launching cruise missiles that carry nuclear warheads to a distance of 2,810 miles.

....The first two U212s were donated by Berlin to the government of Israel after the 1991 Gulf War. It split the cost of the third with the Jewish state, offering it at an almost symbolic price, local media reported.

....Israeli media have said that the fleet of five vessels could be key in any decision by Israel to launch an attack on Iranian targets from the sea.

An Israeli submarine recently used the Suez Canal for the first time, anchoring in the Red Sea in a journey that would have normally required the Israeli vessel to travel around the coast of Africa.

Escorted in June by Egyptian navy vessels, the move was intended to send a message to Iran.

The delivery of the submarines follows Tehran's missile tests earlier this week...
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