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Israel’s Navy Looking To Modernize Its Submarine Fleet


Israel's Navy Looking To Modernize Its Submarine Fleet

Rear Admiral Yossi Ashkenazi. Click to see full-size image

Based on a post of released by oleggranovsky.livejournal.com

Israeli outlets Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth published an interview with Rear Adm. Yossi Ashkenazi, head of the Israeli Navy’s Materiel Command. In it he speaks of the necessity of Israel to procure new submarines, among other things.

Brigadier Ashkenazi stated:

“It drives me crazy. We do not call the new submarines seventh, eighth and ninth, because in reality they replace the first, second and third. They tell me:

Do you want nine submarines, in this arena? – as if we’re fighting against the army of Sudan.

But we are replacing Leviathan, Dolphin and Tkuma, whose service life is coming to an end in the next decade. There is not the slightest doubt that the new submarines are necessary.”

Thus, at the end of the process Israel will have 6 submarines. Currently the Israeli navy has 5 active submarines (3 Dolphin-class and 2 Dolphin-2 or Dolpinh AIP-class) the 6th (“Dragon”, Dolphin-AIP-class) is under construction, its arrival is expected in 2021.

The Rear Admiral in the interview mentions an even longer period, 3.5 years, which would mean the end of 2022.

The first 3 submarines have reached the age of 20 years, at the time of completion of the purchase of new submarines (Dakar type) they will already be 30.

Ashkenazi claims that there is no doubt at all that the Israeli Navy needs 3 new submarines.

The contract should have already been signed and the construction process should have already begun.

In the meantime, Ashkenazi hopes that the contract will be signed in 2020, which will allow the Israeli Navy to get the first boat of the new type in 2028-2029.

The overall process of working on a submarine project, from deciding on a purchase to getting first in class, takes about 15 years. The Navy began work on the topic around 2015, so despite the delays, there are chances that by 2029 the first submarine may be delivered.

According to Ashkenazi, prior to signing the contract, the terms of reference are being set out. These include: Selecting the base type and manufacturer, deciding on each component and system, for example, what type of periscope to use, which batteries to install, etc.

The most important advantage of Dolphin-2 and Dakar over Dolphin is the presence of an air-independent power plant (which is where the AIP comes from – air-independent propulsion).

This allows the submarine to be underwater for many days in a row, without rising to the surface or to the periscope depth, i.e. reducing the chances of detection.

Ashkenazi further mentions alternatives to purchasing new ones, such as modernizing the Dolphin-class.

Such a modernization will make it possible to extend the life of a submarine, but it will not allow installing AIP and a number of other modern systems on it, i.e. will not contribute to the survival of the submarine and its successful actions in case of a war scenario.

For example, in recent years, low-frequency active sonar, with a much greater detection range, have come into service in various countries.

One of the means to reduce the chances of detection is changing the shape of the submarine’s hull, abandoning the cylindrical shapes that have been widely used since the Second World War, and switching to the diamond shape.

The superstructure (bridge) of the boat will have a much more hydrodynamic shape.

The Dakar-class is to be constructed with stealth in mind, a system called “Khozak Matara.” The hull of the submarine will scatter and absorb incoming sonar waves returning them weakened, as if there was terrain and not a metal construction.

The diamond shape and a number of other secret measures will contribute to this principle.

The cost of a Dolphin-2-class submarine is about 500 million euros per unit.

Before signing the contract, it is difficult to name the price of new boats. For example, Norway received such submarines for 700-900 million euros a piece. But there are a huge number of parameters affecting this final price.

Ashkenazi noted that having visited German submarines, similar to Dolphin-class, he was impressed by their relative spaciousness. It is difficult to turn in the Dolphin-class, everything is loaded with various equipment. As it turned out, the level of duplication of systems in the German Navy is much lower, respectively, there is more space it also makes the submarines cheaper, but less reliable.

The purchase of Dakar-class will allow the Israeli Navy to stand on the same technological level, with the French and British navies, depending on which submarines from the respective navies are being compared.

In identifying threats in the construction of the fleet as a whole, not only countries in conflict with Israel are considered, not only the threat of Hamas and Hezbollah, but also the naval development of countries with which at this stage there is no conflict such as Egypt or Turkey.

Ashkenazi talked about internal research and development in the Navy.

For example, in the division of software of the Navy, a unified command and control system of the Naval Forces Navy is now being created. The system will allow all types of boats and ships, whether it be a corvette, a missile boat, Tsaa, Shaldag or Dvor, to see a single picture of the maritime situation.

According to Ashkenazi, for the four years and more he was in office, the Navy personnel spent several thousands of hours at sea during various secret operations against Iran’s activities, as well as those of Hamas and Hezbollah.

Navy engineers and technicians carried out various activities to support the operations.

“Often urgent with a warning just hours earlier, often complex, requiring non-trivial engineering solutions, including hundreds of kilometers from the shores of Israel,” Ashkenazi said.

The Navy as a whole and the Technical Directorate in particular are working on robotic boats for various tasks. The vision of Ashkenazi is an autonomous patrol boat capable of independently analyzing the situation at sea and returning independently from the task to the base.

Ashkenazi’s successor would have to carry on several major projects. Such as the replacement of the Saar-4.5 missile boats, and parts of the Navy’s patrol ships.

Apparently, these modernizations will happen with a large US aid, while Ashkenazi hopes that the solution will be combined: buying certain components in the USA, cooperating with US companies, but doing key work in Israel.

But even if the patrol boats are ordered in the USA, Ashkenazi hopes that the missile boats will be Israeli-made.

Israel's Navy Looking To Modernize Its Submarine Fleet

Click to see full-size image

Israel's Navy Looking To Modernize Its Submarine Fleet

Click to see full-size image

Israel's Navy Looking To Modernize Its Submarine Fleet

Click to see full-size image

Israel's Navy Looking To Modernize Its Submarine Fleet

Click to see full-size image




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