Photo Credit: Moshe Shai/FLASH90
Israeli navy soldiers on board the Dolphin-class submarine

A new sonar system developed by the Israel Navy and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. significantly improves the newly acquired Dolphin submarines’ detection capabilities, Globes reported Wednesday.

The new sonar complements the original sonar systems installed on the Dolphin submarines by the German manufacturer. The additional sonar system algorithms enable it to ignore noises that can disrupt the range of the systems’ activity, while at the same time detecting distant noises—to enhance the capabilities of the German sonar system.


Israel Navy underwater combat systems section head Lieutenant Colonel Tal Schwartzmann told Globes: “Under the conditions of a submarine in combat, there is no time. We have a saying that whoever detects the threat first is the one to attack and destroy the other side.” In that context, Schwartzmann said, “the new sonar increases our detection rate by up to 40%, thereby enabling us to neutralize noises that interfere with the submarine’s work.”

Using the new sonar, the Israeli Dolphins will detect vessels equipped with advanced quiet engines, including “another submarine … and start following it long before the other submarine’s crew realizes that it has been detected, if it ever does,” Schwartzmann said.

The Dolphin 2-class diesel-electric submarine was developed and constructed by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG (HDW), Germany, for the Israeli Navy. They are the largest submarines to have been built in Germany since World War II, and the most expensive (half a billion dollars each, give or take) single vehicles in the IDF.