JERUSALEM, Israel – The Israeli Navy acquired two new Dolphin-class U212s, bringing the number of the German-manufactured submarine fleet to five, an unnamed Israel Defense Forces spokesman said on Tuesday.
“We have received two Dolphin-class submarines built in Germany,” he said on condition of anonymity.
The newest members of the submarine fleet, which were ordered in 2005, arrived slightly ahead of their 2010 delivery date.
The U212 submarines are capable of launching cruise missiles with a 2,800-mile range.
Following the 1991 Gulf War, Germany donated two submarines to the Jewish state, later splitting the cost of the third submarine with Israel.
Each submarine can operate with a 35-member crew, but can accomodate up to 50 crewmen.
After graduating as an officer from the Naval Academy, each potential crew member trains for an additional year in four primary areas: electrical, weaponry, technical engineering and navigation.
At sea, crew members work a four on, eight off schedule. Over time, there is some job rotation.
“It isn’t simple to live inside a submarine,” one commander told reporters during a tour of the naval base near Haifa. “The biggest challenge is being out of touch with family members for long periods of time,” he said.
The IDF has a submarine deployed at each of the three major ports – Ashdod, Haifa and Eilat – but crews are always ready to sail wherever the Navy sends them.