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Submarines: Decrepit Dolphin Secretly Repaired
   Next Article → POTENTIAL HOT SPOTS: Shoot On Sight Time In Syria
December 23, 2011: Israel recently revealed that one of its Dolphin class submarines (that entered service in 1998-2000) had secretly spent nearly two years in an Israeli shipyard. The sub was partially disassembled and its engine and plumbing was cleaned and upgraded. Hull cracks were repaired and various other items were fixed. The boat, which entered service in 1999, is now expected to remain in service until 2030.

The three older boats have all been earlier upgraded to include larger fuel capacity, converting more torpedo tubes to the larger 650mm size, and installing new electronics. The fuel and torpedo tube mods appear to have something to do with stationing the subs off the coast of Iran. Larger torpedo tubes allow the subs to carry longer range missiles.

The larger fuel capacity makes it easier to move Dolphins from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean. Although Israel has a naval base on the Red Sea, Egypt, until recently, had not allowed Israeli subs to use the Suez Canal. So the Dolphins were modified to go around Africa, if they had to. But now the Egyptians, who are also feuding with Iran, frequently allow Israeli subs to use the canal. Larger fuel capacity also allows the subs to spend more time on station off the Iranian coast. Currently the Dolphins can stay at sea for about 40 days (moving at about 14 kilometers an hour, on the surface, for up to 8,000 kilometers). Larger fuel capacity extends range to over 10,000 kilometers and endurance to about 50 days.

Israel equipped its new Dolphin class submarines with nuclear cruise missiles in 2002. Israel also fitted their 135 kilometer range Harpoon missiles with nuclear warheads. These missiles are fired from the sub's torpedo tubes. The 1,625 ton Dolphins can carry 16 torpedoes or missiles and have ten forward torpedo tubes (four of them the larger 650mm -26 inch- size). The Dolphins are considered the most modern non-nuclear subs in the world. The first three cost $320 million each. All have a crew of 35 and can dive to a depth of more than 200 meters (660 feet). The Dolphin design is based on the German 209 class subs but has been so heavily modified that it is considered a different class.

The Israelis have developed a cruise missile, which has a range of 1,500 kilometers and carries a 200 kiloton nuclear warhead. The objective of deploying nukes on subs is to further enhance deterrence to any nation launching a nuclear strike against Israel. If one of the Dolphins is always at sea even a first strike against Israel would not prevent a nuclear strike by submarine launched nukes.

Meanwhile, Germany has agreed to pay 20 percent of the cost of a sixth Dolphin class submarine for Israel, which was ordered earlier this year. Two more are under construction and will arrive in the next two years. The sixth one should arrive in 2015. These new Dolphins cost about $650 million each.

The three Dolphins under construction have a fuel cell based (AIP, or Air Independent Propulsion) system which enables them to stay under water for over a week at a time. The Dolphins are also very quiet, and very difficult to hunt down and destroy. The first three Dolphins didn't have the AIP system.

 

 

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Shirrush    All right then.   12/23/2011 12:35:40 PM
I actually knew there were only two Dolphins in service. A sailor from a surface unit had leaked to me that one had been decommissioned ca. 2010, but I chose to not believe him in order to not loose sleep over the appalling weakness of UYN (Unsere Yiddishe Navy) in the face of growing maritime threats, and I of course did not mention this piece of info to anyone.
 
If this had been such a closely guarded secret, the kid would have known nothing, or at least would have had been told to keep his mouth shut, or else. I guess many people from many companies were involved in the upgrade, not necessarily all of them from Israel.

The official release has it that the sub underwent a plumbing and structural integrity job along with engine maintenance. Fine. While this can conceivably take a long time, I'd love to know what else they did to that boat while they were at it. AIP or, G_d forbid, a nifty little nuke powerplant?
 
gf0012-aust, is there anything you can tell us about this, or on the Dolphin Class' capabilities and shortcomings in general?


 
 
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Toosh       12/23/2011 12:41:05 PM
We ought to sell some of our boomers to Israel. Let em do it up right. A fixed up Ohio class could do lots of damage to Iran. Or anybody else Israel owes some payback too. If Israel is to be wiped out why not go down taking out Iran, Germany (remember the halocaust...I'm sure the Jews do) as well as Russia. An Ohio class loaded up with plenty of nukes would go a long way to settle some old accounts before they are wiped out.
 
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Reactive       12/23/2011 1:30:42 PM
Nice to see yet another mentally ill poster give his thoughts.
 
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VelocityVector    Holiday Troll   12/23/2011 3:33:43 PM
Doktor Merkwürdigliebe: "Based on the findings of the report, my conclusion was that this idea was not a practical deterrent for reasons which at this moment must be all too obvious." "But it is, you know, a sacrifice required for the future of the human race. I hasten to add that since each man will be required to do prodigious ... 'service' along these lines, the women will have to be selected for their sexual characteristics which will have to be of a highly stimulating nature."
 
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Toosh       12/23/2011 7:17:02 PM


Nice to see yet another mentally ill poster give his thoughts.


Wait till you see your people slaughtered by the millions and then faced with it again. You won't be so "sane" anymore either.  We ain't walking quietly to the gas chambers anymore and if we do we're going to take a lot of people with us. You can k*ss my a&&.
 
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heraldabc       12/23/2011 8:26:23 PM

 
gf0012-aust, is there anything you can tell us about this, or on the Dolphin Class' capabilities and shortcomings in general?


 
The third sub may be the one referred to above as refitted?
 
I won't speak for gf0012-aust. but I'll tell you the little of what I know. The 'Dolphin' started as a German Type 209 design.
 
The Type 209 formed the original basis for the larger in cylinder diameter fatter shorter beamier Israeli Dolphin. built by 
Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werf. I suspect that the Israeli boats were originally given thicker hulls to make them deeper diving open ocean boats. I can't speak for the Dolphins, but the Type 209s were originally designed to be generic shallow coastal water ship-killers with a limited anti-submarine warfare potential based on the German Type 206. Since then, HDW has modified some of its Type 209s for ASW work for the Turks, the Indians, and surprisingly the Koreans, who have turned around and sold their own licensed version to Indonesia, and other PACRIM states.
 
The first three Dolphins are traditional diesel-electric snort boats without AIP plants.  They are fairly quiet. If the Israelis have refurbed them with American help (see above) then they will be rafted and silenced as much as possible which will make them almost noiseless on the battery. They may have the traditional American skewed screw fitted as an additional silencing measure. I don't know if that was done. If you see such a screw on the back end of one of your submarines, you will never forget it. (German WW II research)  
 
Checking various sources I have a lot of questions as to exact armament. Ten torpedo tubes on such a small boat seems somewhat suspect. I do believe the presence of  650 mm torpedo tubes though. Popeye Turbo was fired from something in mid ocean in 2000. You would need a tube that size in diameter to carry the weapon launch can..
 
 
H.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Dave_in_Pa       12/25/2011 2:16:01 PM
"We ought to sell some of our boomers to Israel. Let em do it up right. A fixed up Ohio class could do lots of damage to Iran."
 
A "fixed up", presumably meaning overhauled, Ohio class boomer, with 24 mirv'ed Tridents, would do more than "lots of damage" to Iran. That's 72 nuclear warheads.  Enough for every military and naval base, their Kharg Island sole oil export terminus, Tehran and all other major cities.  We wouldn't be hearing anything from Iran for, oh, a few centuries.
 
I don't have a problem with a major military action against the Iranian Mullah regime. In fact, I think it's unavoidably necessary. But I'd prefer it a bit more surgically precise and less, um, collateral-damage intensive, than 24 ICBMs with 72 warheads.  Anyone not hopelessly naive and/or uninformed knows that only an intense naval and air campaign (not necessarily nuclear) against all their nuclear weapons facilities will prevent the Mullahs from building a nuclear strike force composed of IRBMs and cruise missiles.
 
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heraldabc    One hundred ninety two warheads, Dave.   12/25/2011 5:19:53 PM
Enough to kill a European nation state. Iran the way its population is distributed in two tight population clusters would cease to exist as an entity.
 
H.

 

I don't have a problem with a major military action against the Iranian Mullah regime. In fact, I think it's unavoidably necessary. But I'd prefer it a bit more surgically precise and less, um, collateral-damage intensive, than 24 ICBMs with 72 warheads.  Anyone not hopelessly naive and/or uninformed knows that only an intense naval and air campaign (not necessarily nuclear) against all their nuclear weapons facilities will prevent the Mullahs from building a nuclear strike force composed of IRBMs and cruise missiles.

 
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gf0012-aust    shirrush   12/25/2011 5:27:45 PM

my understanding is that the dolphins have been through some similar sig management changes that were done on the PN Agosta 90's.  The main diff being that the israelis are "rumoured" to be able to conduct nuke strikes due to being able to miniaturise their nuke weapons warshots. (ie cruise)

there were some photos of a dolphin doing cruise missile trials in the indian ocean a few years back but these are no longer able to be found.

they are a nice capable sub, able to do their business in green, grey,blue water and therefore eminently suitable for marops in the med.

i'd be more interested in knowing about changes to their ISR role as knowing the israelis, it is their major king of the battlefield (no direspect to the heavy metal land warfare advocates)




 
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Shirrush       12/25/2011 6:42:29 PM
Thanks. I was thinking more along the lines of an AIP section insertion, I did not think about quieting.
 
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