English: i.n.s. dolfin עברית: אח”י דולפין (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
June 8, 2012:
German media are running stories revealing proof that German built Israeli submarines were equipped, in Germany, with a special hydraulic ejection (from torpedo tubes) systems for launching missiles with nuclear warheads. This is actually misleading, as well as being old news. The German built Dolphin class subs have long had the ability to launch Harpoon anti-ship missiles and longer range cruise missiles from the torpedo tubes. It makes no difference is the warhead has high-explosives or a nuclear bomb in it.
For over a decade Israel and Germany have played down this capability. For example, a decade ago Israel denied that it had submarines capable of firing cruise missiles equipped with nuclear warheads. But the U.S. navy had reported spotting such missiles being tested by an Israeli sub in the Indian Ocean two years earlier.
Twelve years ago it was widely reported that Israeli’s Dolphin class subs were being equipped with nuclear weapons. The 135 kilometer range Harpoon missiles were being modified to carry a nuclear warhead and Israel was developing a submarine launched 350 kilometer range cruise missile. Both of these weapons were launched from the subs torpedo tubes. Since then Israel has developed a new cruise missile, with a range of 1,500 kilometers and carrying a 200 kiloton nuclear warhead. These nuclear equipped subs were to provide an extra degree of security as all other Israeli nuclear weapons were in land bases and, in theory, could be wiped out by a surprise missile attack. A nuclear missile equipped submarine at sea would be a much more difficult to find target.