Germany is reportedly planning to sell Israel another dolphin-type submarine, financing one third of the nuclear-powered military submarine’s cost.
Berlin has approved to set aside USD 180 million in next year’s defense budget for funding the submarine’s cost, a senior German official said on the condition of anonymity on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported.
Germany has already provided Israel with three Dolphin submarines, one half-funded and two entirely funded by Berlin, while two more are currently under construction.
The submarines, built by Germany’s HDW shipyard which is a division of ThyssenKrupp AG., are reportedly capable of carrying nuclear-tipped missiles.
The German source said the latest plan is part of a 2005 agreement between Berlin and Tel Aviv that included an option for another subsidized submarine, now activated at Israel’s request.
The contract for the submarine, estimated at some USD 674.8 million, will be between the German and Israeli defense ministries and the manufacturer, with Germany starting to pay out its share of the cost next year, he said.
Israel, which maintains a policy of ambiguity on its nuclear program with the help of its traditional guardian the United States, has reportedly at its disposal an arsenal of over 300 nuclear warheads.
This makes Israel the sole possessor of nuclear arms in the Middle East.