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Secret Cooperation: Israel Deploys Nuclear Weapons on German-Built Submarines

Published: June 3, 2012
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Source: Wire Reports

RT - Germany is supplying the Israeli Navy with submarines that are fully capable of being fitted to carry cruise missiles with nuclear-warheads, Spiegel reports. Thus, if Israel does indeed have any such missiles, it could deploy them immediately.

­The extensive military deal suggests that German shipyards are to supply Israel with six Dolphin-class diesel-electric submarines, four of which have already been delivered.

"The Germans can be proud to have secured the existence of Israel for many years," Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, told Spiegel.

According to Barak, the latest craft, which was delivered on May 3, has become yet another “force multiplier in terms of the capabilities and strength of Israel’s defense forces.” And in the face of the growing strategic regional challenges, Israel’s navy, and particularly its submarine fleet, represents a “defensive and fighting arm of deterrence,” Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz said upon delivery.

Meanwhile, Spiegel reports that Germany might actually be strengthening Israel’s nuclear capabilities, as the submarines are being equipped with hydraulic ejection systems that enable the underwater launch of Popeye Turbo SLCM long-range cruise missiles.

Der Spiegel - Germany is helping Israel to develop its military nuclear capabilities, SPIEGEL has learned. According to extensive research carried out by the magazine, Israel is equipping submarines that were built in the northern German city of Kiel and largely paid for by the German government with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. The missiles can be launched using a previously secret hydraulic ejection system. Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak told SPIEGEL that Germans should be “proud” that they have secured the existence of the state of Israel “for many years.”

In the past, the German government has always stuck to the position that it is unaware of nuclear weapons being deployed on the vessels. Now, however, former high-ranking officials from the German Defense Ministry, including former State Secretary Lothar Rühl and former chief of the planning staff Hans Rühle, have told SPIEGEL that they had always assumed that Israel would deploy nuclear weapons on the submarines. Rühl had even discussed the issue with the military in Tel Aviv.

Israel has a policy of not commenting officially on its nuclear weapons program. Documents from the archives of the German Foreign Ministry make it clear, however, that the German government has known about the program since 1961. The last discussion for which there is evidence took place in 1977, when then-Chancellor Helmut Schmidt spoke to then-Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan about the issue.

The submarines are built by the German shipyard HDW in Kiel. Three submarines have already been delivered to Israel, and three more will be delivered by 2017. In addition, Israel is considering ordering its seventh, eighth and ninth submarines from Germany.

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