Israel has taken delivery of its fourth German-made Dolphin-class submarine capable of carrying nuclear warheads with an operating range of 4,500 kilometers (2796 miles).
The INS Tannin submarine was delivered to Israeli officials in Hamburg, Germany on Thursday and is expected to undergo final tests before arriving in Israel in 2013, the Associated Press reported.
Israeli Minister of Military Affairs Ehud Barak said that the submarine will increase Tel Aviv’s capabilities and strength in the face of regional challenges.
Israel had placed order with Germany for the submarine as well as its fifth Dolphin-class sub in 2006, while, in 2012, the two sides signed a contract for a sixth such submarine. The fifth and sixth orders are due for delivery in 2014 and 2016 respectively.
Three earlier-model Dolphin submarines were delivered to Israel between 1998 and 2000.
The Germans paid for the first two and split the cost of the third with Israel. Tel Aviv paid only one-third of the cost for the fourth one.
Israel is widely believed to be the only possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East and has never allowed international inspections of its nuclear facilities nor has it joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty based on its policy of nuclear ambiguity.