Q&A on the News

Q: I read in the AJC where Israel bought a German-made sub that can launch nuclear missiles. How big are these subs, and does Germany sell these types of subs to other countries?

—William McKee Jr., Flowery Branch

A: Israel has received four of the six Dolphin-class submarines that it ordered from Germany. Each sub costs $500 million and are either 187 feet or 227 feet long, depending on the model, are diesel powered and displace 1,900 tons submerged. They are the most expensive weapons in Israel's arsenal, according to The Jerusalem Post, and are reported to have the ability to fire nuclear weapons. They are considered to be among the most advanced diesel subs in the world, the newspaper Haaretz reported. Germany donated the first two subs – the Dolphin and Leviathan – and paid for part of the third and fourth subs, Reuters reported. German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp Marine built a different kind of sub for Greece in the early 2000s, but it tested poorly, according to Reuters, and Greece refused to take delivery of it. ThyssenKrupp also was under contract to build four U-214 diesel-electric submarines, which are larger than the Dolphin class subs, for Greece, but the order was canceled due to Greece's economic crisis, according to Defense Industry Daily. Other newer German-built subs recently have been delivered to South Korea and Portugal, and Turkey has a contract for six subs, according to media reports. Older German-built subs are in active service with countries worldwide.

Andy Johnston wrote this column. Do you have a question about the news? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city).