“Five submarines is the minimum, six is optimal. Six will give us flexibility, but with five we will manage. Fewer than five harms our ability to carry out missions. At no point did the navy demand nine submarines,” said squadron commander “C.” [name withheld for security reasons], in an exclusive interview published on Friday in The Jerusalem Post’s sister publication Maariv.
C. is considered the most senior IDF officer on submarine matters. In the interview he discusses Case 3000, dubbed the "submarines affair," which refers to a police corruption investigation into Israel’s purchase of German-made naval vessels.
“Has the affair had an impact? Yes. Does it affects our work? No. Has the situation been explained to the staff? Absolutely,” said C.
“We all hope that [the investigation] will come to a conclusion as soon as possible and as cleanly as possible. If not, whoever needs to pay will pay. We haven’t sensed any irregular activity.”
The officer also discussed the navy’s relationship with its German counterparts and German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp, the company that built the submarines for the navy:
“We have a very good professional relationship. There were changes in their management but it’s not related to us. Last week, I met with management of the German project, they were in Israel. Carrying on as normal, there are no delays.”
Regarding Egypt’s growing submarine fleet, C. said: “They bought a different model of submarine. I will always seek maritime superiority over everyone. I don’t want others to have submarines – certainly not ones on our level. Their fleet does not make me happy, but I can still sleep well at night.”
Former MK Erel Margalit recently alleged that there had been a cyberattack on the ThyssenKrupp administration and that Iran had stolen the Israeli submarines’ blueprints.
The Israel Navy denies that its security was breached. “We became aware of the hacking, but it has no connection whatsoever to submarines or Israeli interests,” said C.
“It happened over two years ago, anyway. We go to great lengths in the field of cybersecurity. I can say with certainty – it’s not connected to us.”
In October 2017, despite the ongoing Case 3000 probe, Israel and Germany signed a Memorandum of Understanding paving the way for the sale of three German submarines to Israel that are at the heart of the investigation.
The submarines are scheduled to arrive in a decade.