The Israeli defense ministry has signed a contract worth 3 billion euros (approx. $3.4B) with German shipbuilder Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) for the development and production of three advanced submarines for the Israeli Navy.
The agreement was signed in Tel Aviv on January 20, between director general of the Israeli defense ministry, Amir Eshel, and TKMS CEO Dr. Rolf Wurz.
“The acquisition of three first-class operational submarines joins a series of measures we have been promoting over the past year in equipping and strengthening the IDF and operational readiness for all war zones,” Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz commented.
As the Israeli Navy previously revealed, the three new subs will be known as the Dakar-class, after the lost INS Dakar, which perished in 1968 with 69 submariners on board.
The contract signing on Thursday follows reports from last year, which said TKMS could be blacklisted from the project after reportedly failing to meet offset requirements. It should be noted that Germany is funding one third of the project cost, as outlined in a government to government agreement from 2017. What is more, as the contract signing reveals, the cost of the submarines rose to almost double the originally expected amount.
Israel already operates six German-built submarines. The current fleet of Dolphin-class diesel-attack submarines are based on the Type 209 design. The first three boats were commissioned between 1999 and 2000, while the second batch, which started entering service in 2014, features air-independent propulsion and is widely believed to be capable of deploying nuclear weapons.
The three Dakar-class units are being bought as a replacement for the first three Dolphin-class boats. The first of the new submarines is expected to be delivered by 2031.