Anna Ahronheim, Jerusalem Post
19 June 2018
The Israel Navy successfully completed a test of a new torpedo system set to enter operational use on Israel’s submarine fleet, a senior Navy officer announced Tuesday.
The trial of the heavy torpedo, which was carried out on Monday night against targets simulating enemy ships, was the final test of a series of pre-planned experiments to test the system’s competence.
“The implementation of the system constitutes a significant step in the strengthening of the Navy and in maintaining the superiority of the IDF in the naval arena,” the senior officer said, adding that the new torpedo systems have more accurate attack capabilities and can reach farther distances.
According to the senior Navy officer, the new state-of-the-art long-range versatile heavy torpedo can reach targets dozens of kilometers away-both on land and underwater- and is set to become the submarine fleet’s main missile.
The digitalization of the weapons system (as opposed to the older analog systems) will also the Navy to continuously upgrade its software.
Israel is highly dependent on the sea with over 90% of Israel’s imports arriving via the sea and while the country’s navy is relatively small compared to other IDF corps, it has a significant amount of territory to protect since the expansion of the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) from 40 miles to 150 miles from shore years ago.
While there is no hermetic protection on the sea, due to the threat posed by Hezbollah’s arsenal of Grad rockets and other longer-range projectiles, the navy has upgraded its weapons and defensive systems on its entire combat fleet.
“The naval arena is becoming very complex and this new torpedo preserves Israel’s freedom of action and the secrecy of Israel’s submarines which are an indispensable strategic tool for state security,” the senior officer said.
Israel’s small but deadly submarine fleet has been very active in recent months, the first naval officer said, explaining that 60% of the hours that the fleet has been active were operational hours.
Israel currently has three Dolphin-class submarines and two Dolphin 2-class submarines with another one expected to be delivered later this year. According to Jane’s Defence Weekly, a magazine reporting on military and corporate affairs, the first batch of the three new submarines are expected to be operational in 2030.
The new submarines being built by Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) are expected to replace the older Dolphins at a cost of combined price of NIS 5 billion ($1.3 billion).