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Israel to buy 3 submarines from Thyssenkrupp

January 20, 2022

The Israeli government has announced a deal to buy 3 submarines from German giant Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems.

An Israeli army Dolphin-class submarine sailing at Israel's Naval port in the Mediterranean city of Haifa
Israel already operates five German-built Dolphin-class submarinesImage: Getty Images/AFP/J. Guez

The Israeli Defense Ministry on Thursday said Germany's Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems would build three advanced submarines for the Israeli Navy in a deal worth €3 billion ($3.4 billion).

It's believed that negotiations on the deal were complicated by a suspected corruption affair connected to Israel's last purchase of German submarines from the Essen-based industrial giant.

What's included in the deal?

Israel will buy three Dakar submarines, with the first to be delivered within nine years.

The agreement also includes the supply of spare parts and the creation of a training simulator in Israel.

Israel's Navy operates five German-built Dolphin-class submarines and a sixth is under construction.

The Dakar submarines will replace three of the aging Dolphins.

"The Dakar class will be of a completely new design, which is to be specifically engineered to fulfill the operational requirements of the Israeli Navy," Thyssenkrupp said.

According to the Israeli Defense Ministry, the German government will fund part of the deal through a special grant as part of an accord signed by the countries in 2017.

Alongside the submarines, an €850 million agreement was signed with the German government to invest in Israeli industries, including defense firms.

Thyssenkrupp moves ahead with company split

Long time in the making

The deal, signed Thursday, came "at the end of a several-year planning and negotiation process," the Israeli Defense Ministry said.

"I would like to thank the German government for its assistance in advancing the agreement and for its commitment to Israel's security," Defense Minister Benny Gantz said. "I am confident that the new submarines will upgrade the capabilities of the Israeli Navy, and will contribute to Israel's security superiority in the region."

Complication over past sales

The negotiations were said to have been held up in part because of a suspected bribe scandal connected to Israel's 2012 deal to buy Thyssenkrupp submarines.

It embroiled several top military officials and associates of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Two of Netanyahu's closest colleagues were accused of lobbying Israeli defense officials to choose the submarine arm of ThyssenKrupp for a government contract.

Thyssenkrupp says an internal investigation found no evidence of corruption in its handling of the sales, and Israeli officials have taken no action against the conglomerate.

rc/sms (AFP, Reuters)

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