Israel is planning to permanently station three German-build nuclear submarines in the Gulf near the Iranian coastline, the Sunday Times reported on Sunday. According to the report, one submarine has been sent in response to Israeli concerns that Iranian-developed ballistic missiles could be used to hit targets in Israel, particularly missile launchers and air bases.
The Dolphin, Tekuma, and Leviathan submarines—each with a crew of between 35 and 50 people—have been to the region before. They can each remain at sea from some fifty days and remain submerged up to 1,150 feet below the surface for at least a week. According to the Times report, “Some of the cruise missiles are equipped with the most advanced nuclear warheads in the Israeli arsenal.”
The flotilla's commander “Colonel O” told an Israeli newspaper, “We are an underwater assault force. We’re operating deep and far, very far, from our border.” The submarines’ deployment is intended to act as a deterrent, gather intelligence, and to possibly land Mossad agents, the commanded said. “We’re a solid base for collecting sensitive information, as we can stay for a long time in one place,” a flotilla officer told the Times.
Responding to news of Israeli activity in the Gulf, an Iranian admiral told the Times, “Anyone who wishes to do an evil act in the Persian Gulf will receive a forceful response from us.”