A German shipyard has already built three submarines for Israel, and three more are planned. Now SPIEGEL has learned that Israel is arming the submarines with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. The German government has known about Israel’s nuclear weapons program for decades, despite its official denials.
ermany is helping Israel to develop its military nuclear capabilities, SPIEGEL has learned. According to extensive research carried out by the magazine, Israel is equipping submarines that were built in the northern German city of Kiel and largely paid for by the German government with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. The missiles can be launched using a previously secret hydraulic ejection system. Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak told SPIEGEL that Germans should be “proud” that they have secured the existence of the state of Israel “for many years.”
In the past, the German government has always stuck to the position that it is unaware of nuclear weapons being deployed on the vessels. Now, however, former high-ranking officials from the German Defense Ministry, including former State Secretary Lothar Rühl and former chief of the planning staff Hans Rühle, have told SPIEGEL that they had always assumed that Israel would deploy nuclear weapons on the submarines. Rühl had even discussed the issue with the military in Tel Aviv.
SPIEGEL research confirms that Israel has second-strike capability with nuclear weapons on German-built submarines.
Report: Dolphin subs equipped with nuclear weapons
According to a Sunday report in Yedioth Ahronoth, the German-made U-boats – six of which have been purchased by the Israel Navy – will be equipped with Popeye missiles, which can carry nuclear warheads.
Israel’s Dolphin-class submarines are meant to give it second-strike capabilities in case of a major attack.
According to the report, Berlin’s defense officials were aware of the subs nature and future role, but chose to look the other way out of commitment to Israel’s security and the understanding of Jerusalem’s need to keep its security concerns clandestine.
Report: German officials confirm submarines sold to Israel can fire nuclear-tipped cruise missiles