The Office of Israeli Prime Minister and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed on 16 November that Israel will buy three more submarines from Germany to replace the first three Dolphin-class boats that were delivered in the 1990s.
Israel ordered another two submarines from the Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) shipyard in Kiel in 2006 and a sixth in 2011. The second of this batch arrived in Israel earlier this year and the third is expected to arrive in 2019.
These boats are more advanced than the first three and are fitted with air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems.
IDF spokesman Brigadier General Moti Almoz said in a statement that the decision to replace the three older Dolphins was taken following a recent cabinet meeting, during which the need to modernise Israel's submarine fleet was raised, and that the replacements would be delivered in more than a decade's time.
The National Security Council (NSC), a part of the Prime Minister's Office, released a statement saying an agreement is now in place with the German government regarding the submarine order. It said this was reached after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Chancellor Angela Merkel to finalise the terms of the deal and joint preparation work was carried out by government agencies.
The NSC statement was released in response to a flurry of local media reports that questioned the decision-making process behind the submarine procurement, which it said followed a "professional, organised process, with no outside intervention, and in accordance with all of the professional elements in the Ministry of Defense, the IDF, and the National Security Council".
Israel's Army Radio station reported that the IDF had blocked a plan to expand the submarine fleet to nine boats, but did not object to replacing the three older ones.
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