KADIMA, Israel, May 6 (UPI) -- Israel has decided to finalize the acquisition of a sixth Improved Dolphin class submarine from Germany, with payment to be spread over several years.
Israel has three Dolphin-class submarines, which were delivered between 1998 and 2000. Two additional submarines are under construction and are expected to be delivered in the 2013-14 time frame, Defense Update, an Israeli publication, reported.
The Dolphins are manufactured by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft, which is owned by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems.
The Dolphin is a 1,900-ton vessel designed specifically for Israel, based to some extent on the German Type 209 design. It is powered by standard diesel electric propulsion and is equipped with four launch tubes for torpedoes and surface attack missiles.
Four additional tubes are believed to support launching of oversized weapons, such as a type of submarine-launched cruise missile, enabling the Israeli navy an unconventional "second strike" capability, Defense Update said, quoting unconfirmed reports.
The enhanced version of the Dolphin submarine is extended by 30 feet over the standard Dolphin, utilizing an Air Independent Propulsion, enabling the submarine to remain submerged for weeks.
The report said Germany was ready to bear two-thirds of the cost of the submarines now under construction but was reluctant to extend such terms for the sixth submarine.