“Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in the days of old, the generations of ancient times. Art thou not it that hewed Rahav in pieces, that pierced the Tanin?” (Isaiah 41:9)
Israel’s newest Dolphin II-class submarine is poised to set sail from Germany, where it was constructed. The vessel, named the INS Tanin (pronounced ta-NEEN), is one of three submarines being constructed for the Israeli Navy by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems in Kiel, Germany.
The Tanin is the largest underwater craft being built in Germany since the end of World War II and are considered among the most effective in the world.
Named for the biblical sea creature, alternately translated as crocodile, snake or dragon, the Tanin and its sister ships, the Rahav and a yet-to-be-named vessel, are bigger than their predecessors, the three Israeli Navy Type 800 Dolphin-class submarines, built in the 1990s.
The newer subs are 68.6 meters (225 feet) long, 2,050 tons’ displacement on the surface, and 2,400 tons submerged.
The Tanin is armed with ten swim-out torpedo tubes – four 650 mm-diameter and six 533 mm-diameter tubes. It is said to carry DM-2A4 Seehake wire-guided torpedoes, UGM-84C Harpoon antiship missiles and Triton anti-helicopter missiles. The Tanin also has an air-independent propulsion (AIP) system, allowing it to perform extended operations underwater without surfacing.
The Tanin was transferred to Israel’s possession in 2012, but remained in Germany for further testing. It should reach Israel by the end of the year. The Rahav has been Israel’s since 2013, and will be delivered next year. The third sub will arrive in Israel in 2019. The cost of each submarine is around half a billion dollars.
Upon arrival, the Tanin will still need to undergo operational preparations and have Israeli systems installed. It is expected to take several months before the Tanin can join the navy in full service.
Israel’s navy relies on its submarines to extend its reach, and the fleet operates continuously under extreme secrecy. Foreign sources report that they allow Israel a “second-strike” capability in the event of a nuclear conflict.