Israel 'to receive two new German submarines'

21st November 2005, Comments 0 comments

21 November 2005, MUNICH - Israel's navy is to receive two of the world's most advanced new submarines, built at a German dockyard and partly financed by the German government, according to reports by two German weekly magazines on Saturday.

21 November 2005

MUNICH - Israel's navy is to receive two of the world's most advanced new submarines, built at a German dockyard and partly financed by the German government, according to reports by two German weekly magazines on Saturday.

The offer was agreed by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's outgoing coalition of Social Democrats and Greens in talks with Angela Merkel's incoming government of her Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats, the magazine Focus said.

Israel already operates three German-built Dolphin-class submarines supplied in 1999 and 2000 after the first U.S. war with Iraq. The Jewish state recently pressed the Germans to supply their latest and most sophisticated undersea vessels.

A government spokesman in Berlin refused Saturday to confirm the report, saying the government does not comment on the affairs of the Federal Security Council, a secret cabinet committee.

In a report to hit the streets Monday, the weekly Focus added that there had never been any confirmation whether the existing Israeli submarines were capable of launching nuclear-tipped missiles.

The new vessels would be of an entirely new, ultra-quiet class that is currently going into service with the German Navy. Unlike traditional diesel engines, the fuel-cell engines allow the submarines to remain under water for many days on end.

The vessels, regarded as the world's most sophisticated non-nuclear submarines, are built by the German company ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems.

According to the report, Israel had originally asked to be donated the submarines, with Germany footing a 1-billion-euro (approximately 1.2-billion-dollar) bill. Focus said Berlin had agreed to pay one third, or a maximum of 330 million euros, of the cost.

The weekly magazine Der Spiegel said outgoing German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer had given in to appeals to back the plan at a meeting of the Federal Security Council.

The Green minister had however said he would not be signing the contract this Monday, but would delegate a state secretary to do so.

DPA

Subject: German news

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