The Israeli Navy is building up a fleet of sophisticated submarines just in time to welcome its newest and largest group of recruits.
They move silently underwater, but don’t let the quiet fool you – these are sophisticated tools of war. This unseen world is the everyday landscape of the Israel Navy. A special IDF submarine course is training increasingly larger numbers of sailors to operate the Navy’s next generation of submarines. Three of these submarines originated in the IDF’s possession, and an additional submarine was brought to Israel as part of an agreement with Germany.
The stealth of submarines provides Israel with a key advantage in top-secret operations. ”Our contribution during times of peace is with tremendous amounts of intelligence. The submarine is a spy tool and we do not ignore that,” stressed Major Y, the commander of the submarine operation school at major a naval training base. “During times of war, submarines are one of the most far-reaching instruments in the IDF. You do not know where it is and do not know where it will sink you,” Major Y added.
“Six months ago, our largest submarine course began, so that we would have enough people to run the new submarines,” said Major Y. Even with larger numbers of soldiers being drafted into submarine service, the evaluation process for recruits is highly competitive. Of those seeking to join the crew, only one out of every ten is accepted.
After the arrival of the Tanin (Crocodile) submarine last year, the Navy expects to add another advanced submarine, the INS Rahav, to its fleet in 2014. “The new submarines are almost identical to the ones before, but they are newer and bigger,” said Major Y. In anticipation of the vessel’s arrival, the Navy is updating lesson plans and syllabi for the training of its newest operators. Some of the course’s graduates will have the opportunity to inaugurate the new submarine when it arrives.
According to Major Y., Israel’s submarines are among the most advanced in the world. “The incoming submarines are the best conventional submarines in the world,” he said. I think we’re at one of the highest levels of submarine operation, both in terms of safety and in terms of preparedness.”
Serving in a submarine is highly confidential work, and the Navy reveals little of the actual intensity it involves. “There are always submarines at sea. Wherever you place your finger on a map of the sea, there may be a submarine there,” Major Y stressed.