Israel thanks Germany's Merkel for sixth Dolphin submarine
Israel thanked German Chancellor Angela Merkel Wednesday for selling the country its sixth Dolphin submarine at a subsidized price.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a thank you letter to Merkel, saying the upgraded vessel would "help us address Israel's immense defence needs during these turbulent times and will contribute greatly to the long-term security of the Jewish state," his spokesman, Mark Regev, told dpa.
Israel and Germany signed the contract for the purchase Wednesday during a ceremony at the Israeli ambassador's residence in Berlin, in the presence of Defence Minister Ehud Barak and German State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Defense Rudiger Wolf, a government statement said.
Barak said the agreement "reflects the depth of Israel and Germany's relationship, as well as the German government's clear commitment to the state of Israel's security."
The Israeli Globes business daily reported the submarine will be delivered by 2018. At delivery, it will be one of the most advanced submarines in the world, and will be the most expensive weapon procured by the Israel Defence Forces, at a cost of 400 million euros. Germany will finance a third of the cost, it said.
Israel currently has three submarines in its fleet, it said. The fourth and fifth Dolphin submarines are in advanced stages of construction in German shipyards and scheduled to arrive in mid-2013 and in the second half of 2014.