The German weekly Der Spiegel reports in its current issue that a months-long investigation has confirmed that the Dolphin submarines built by Germany for the Israeli Navy are capable of launching nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.
That possibility has long been assumed – and reported in this space – and there is still no official confirmation from either government. However, Der Spiegel, in Sunday’s article titled, "Secret Operation: Samson," claims experts in "Germany and in Jerusalem now confirm: They are armed with nuclear warheads."
German chancellor Angela Merkel and her government have insisted the subs are not nuclear capable, according to a report in Haaretz.
Israel just took delivery of a fourth Dolphin and has two more on order. The later models can stay submerged longer and are stealthier than other conventional submarines, and there have been reports that once the new version become operational one might be stationed in the Persian Gulf, where it could deliver a second strike in the event of a nuclear attack on Israel by Iran.
The cruise missiles are believed to have range of nearly 1,000 miles and reportedly have been test fired in the Indian Ocean by Israeli submarines
Various publications have identified the missile as the Israeli-built Popeye, versions of which have also been sold to the U.S. Air Force as the AGM142 Have Nap for deployment on the B-52.