Norway decided earlier this month that as part of its ban on security exports to Israel, the submarine being built by Germany's Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) for the Israeli Navy will no longer be allowed to undergo deep-water tests in Norwegian waters, reports the Israeli daily Ha'aretz.
HDW leases the Marvika submarine base in southern Norway to test its clients' submarines. The port serves as a departure point for deep-water experiments of up to 700 meters and Israel's first three Dolphin submarines were tested there. But a few weeks ago Norway's foreign ministry advised HDW that it could no longer use the port for testing submarines intended for the Israeli navy.
When Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store was asked about the ban he said: "We have extremely rigorous restrictions on exporting security goods and services ... we don't export materials or services to states at war or in which there is a danger of war."
The Israeli navy is due to receive one Dolphin submarine early next year and another one in 2012 for an estimated cost of about €1.3 billion ($1.8 billion) of which a third is being funded by Germany.
The Israeli navy's Squadron 7 has been using three Dolphin submarines for the past decade.
Dolphin submarine. Photo credit: IDF's Spokesperson Unit
The two new submarines are costing about 1.3 billion euros, according to German media reports, and Germany is funding a third of that. Ha'aretz writes that the Israeli navy is expanding its submarine capabilities and doubling the number of operational crews, enabling them to undertake long-range missions far from their home port.