Israel Has a Submarine That Could Destroy Entire Nations (Armed with Nuclear Weapons)

Kyle Mizokami

Security,

And this is everything we think we know about it. 

Israel Has a Submarine That Could Destroy Entire Nations (Armed with Nuclear Weapons)

Whatever the missile, a 932-mile range gives it the ability—just barely—to strike the Iranian capital of Tehran, as well as the holy city of Qom and the northern city of Tabriz, from a position off the coast of Syria. (Iran’s pursuit of nuclear arms is likely the main and enduring driver of Israel’s second strike capability.) That isn’t an ideal firing position, and it’s been seventeen years since the missile’s first flight, so it’s also reasonable to assume that the weapon’s range has been extended to the point where it can launch against Tehran and even more Iranian cities from a relatively safe location.

Israel’s submarine corps is a tiny force with a big open secret: in all likelihood, it is armed with nuclear weapons. The five Dolphin-class submarines represent an ace in the hole for Israel, the ultimate guarantor of the country’s security, ensuring that if attacked with nukes, the tiny nation can strike back in kind.

Israel’s first nuclear weapons were completed by the early 1970s, and deployed among both free-fall aircraft bombs and Jericho ballistic missiles. The 1991 Persian Gulf War, which saw Iraqi Scuds and Al Hussein ballistic missiles raining down on Israeli cities, led Tel Aviv to conclude that the country needed a true nuclear triad of air-, land- and sea-based nukes to give the country’s nuclear deterrent maximum flexibility—and survivability.

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The most survivable arm of the nuclear triad is typically the sea-based one, consisting of nuclear-armed submarines. Submarines can disappear for weeks or even months, taking up a highly classified patrol route while waiting for orders to launch their missiles. This so-called “second-strike capability” is built on the principle of nuclear deterrence and ensures potential enemies will think twice before attacking, knowing Israel’s submarines will be available to carry out revenge attacks.

The first three submarines were authorized before the Gulf War, in 1988, though it is not clear they were built with nuclear weapons in mind. After years of delays construction began in Germany instead of the…

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