Iran and Israel’s ongoing “shadow war” might become something more kinetic in the near future.
Israeli officials have made it clear they will do everything in their power to ensure Israel’s top adversary does not possess weapons of mass destruction that could be turned on its cities
. Since a nuclear-armed Tehran is a red line for the Jewish state, Iran’s efforts to enrich uranium and expand its nuclear-related activities are not going unnoticed.
The Israel Defense Forces are the most advanced armed services in the Middle East.
Equipped with equally menacing domestic and imported military equipment, the IDF is well-positioned to take action against what it considers to be existential threats.
One branch of the IDF that perhaps does not receive as much attention is its navy.
New Pictures of the INS Drakon Have Surfaced
This week, the first images of the completed Israeli Navy submarine INS Drakon surfaced.
In the past, Israel has provided limited information regarding its submarine fleet, making the Drakon’s public appearance more significant.
According to a report in The Drive, a German photographer captured images of the vessel, which is the latest iteration of Israel’s Dolphin II class attack submarines.
Introducing Israel’s Dragon-class Vessels
Israel’s diesel-electric submarines were developed domestically and built in Germany. The initial Dolphin-1 class of ships was based on the export-only German Navy Type 212 in displacement and length and were designed to replace Israel’s aging Gal-class submarines.
Following the Yom Kippur War and Persian Gulf War, Israel recognized the need for a robust nuclear triad of air, sea and land-based nuclear weapons to survive.
By the 1990s, Israel’s Dolphin-class submarines were its most crucial deterrent since they have a second-strike capability – likely armed with nuclear weapons.
As detailed by the Nuclear Threat Initiative, “Israel currently possesses five Dolphin-class diesel-electric submarines. Three of the five are old Dolphin type vessels. The older Dolphin-class are 57.3 meters long with a 6.8-meter-wide beam and can travel up to 20 knots when submerged. They can remain submerged for 30 days without surfacing. Their weapons systems are capable of firing torpedoes.”
As tensions are again rising between Israel and Iran, the emergence of the new and improved Dragon II-class submarine is coming at a good time. Similar to its predecessors, the “Dragon” was built in Germany. The new submarine, however, appears to sport pretty significant differences from previous Dolphin submarines.
The captured images of the completed vessel show that the Drakon has a massive sail, much larger than other Israeli submarines.
Analysts widely believe that the new submarine will be fitted with a vertical launch system module for submarine-launched cruise missiles, possibly armed with nuclear weapons.
Considering the Drakon’s hefty sail, perhaps the VLS will be stored within it.
While the true specs and capabilities of the INS Drakon are not known, this new and improved submarine should worry Israel’s adversaries.