Skip to comments.How Israelís doomsday fleet responded to 9/11
Posted on 09/10/2011 12:06:36 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
How Israels doomsday fleet responded to 9/11
9 September 2011
Rare glimpse into Israels doomsday weapon the submarine fleet
By Alex Fishman
The day the Twin Towers collapsed in Manhattan, September 11, 2001, Israeli submarine Leviathan of the advanced Dolphin model was on a training sail somewhere at sea the exact location of Israels submarines will always remain classified, even dozens of years after the fact. At one point, the submarine rose to the surface to take a break. The subs commander, then-Lt. Colonel Oded, looked through the periscope and saw a calm, blue sea. However, one crew member soon informed him that he just saw the New York towers collapsing on television. Odeds first reaction was laughter: What kind of movie are you watching there? How could the Twin Towers collapse? Yet soon after, the official announcement arrived from Israel.
The training session ended abruptly. Orders started to pour in from Navy headquarters. The submarine went into high alert and sunk into the water for a lengthy period of several weeks. In such case, Oded says, nobody knows where you are except for your crew and your direct commanders. Even your family doesnt know. They dont know what youre doing or when youll be back. They know nothing.
Israel Dolphin submarine
What does a terror attack at the World Trade Center have to do with an Israeli submarine going on high alert? This question shall remain unanswered as well. We can only guess: When the US experiences an unprecedented terror event whose implications are still unclear, nobody knows how the superpower would respond and what will happen in the Middle East as result. At such moments of uncertainty, Israels first walls of defense are its long-range strategic arms the most secretive one is the submarine fleet.
Israels enemies must be made to understand that should they dare use any weapon of mass destruction, their own fate will be sealed. According to foreign reports, Israels Dolphin fleet plays a crucial role in the game of deterrence with its second strike capability.
Just like Israels submarine fleet is secretive, so are its commanders. Colonel Oded, 44, has recently completed his tenure as the fleets commander, ending a chapter of more than 20 years where he performed almost every command post in the fleet. If a layman would see submarine troops from the side, he would not understand how we can withstand it, Oded says in a rare interview. Its a group of people who perform missions at very certain locations and feel like home there. People wake up for their shifts, eat breakfast and follow a routine in the least trivial locations one can imagine.
When I ask Oded whether his troops passports would be filled with stamps, had they theoretically stamped them at border control, he smiles and says nothing. Indeed, we can imagine that these virtual passports would have been full of stamps. The Navys submarines, as opposed to other vessels, never dock at foreign ports, including friendly ones. This is the nature of the service: The submarines only dock in Israel.
Exceptional soldiers In order to serve on a submarine, one needs more than to excel at school and accumulate more and more knowledge. Such soldiers need a specific mental makeup that enables them to be isolated for lengthy periods of time from their natural environment, while living with 40 other people under crowded conditions and an intensive, tense operational atmosphere.
People who cannot withstand the pressure drop out in the screening process and during the courses, Oded says. There is only one way to minimize the fear and improve the ability to function during emergencies: Sisyphean training. For that reason we constantly engage in simulating extreme scenarios, so when things happen in real life the soldiers are trained and already experienced those things during training sessions.
When you arrive at the sub after the course, you feel that nobody is better than you, but very quickly you realize that you have much to learn from the people around you, Oded says. The veteran non-commissioned officer is much more professional than you in his area of expertise. The secret of the submarines power is the accumulated knowledge of everyone on board. Each soldier is an expert, so you learn to appreciate and trust them you learn very quickly that the quality of the soldiers is so high that you cannot just issue orders.
Not like in the movies
So what happens to a young man who one day becomes privy to the State of Israels deepest secrets? If we developed the right person, and his ego is at a healthy place, not much happens, Oded says. The heavy responsibility and significance of the work merely increase the need for modesty. Even though its quite surprising and fascinating to discover what this country can do, we dont tell our parents or anyone else. Never. Everything stays within the submarine. This is one of the reasons why the friendships formed between the soldiers and officers dont exist elsewhere. We develop a culture where secrecy means life or death.
In the movies we often see a submarine commander receiving a mysterious message, walking over to the safe, pulling out an envelope and discovering a dramatic mission for the first time. Yet when Oded is asked whether this happens in real life, he bursts into laughter. This happens in the movies. These are precisely the things that are not done in real life, because the sub commander works completely independently, and at times has no contact whatsoever with his superiors. Hence, he must have all the information available to him and be familiar with the missions big picture, so he can make the right decisions.
Having fun in the shower
At the end of the 1980s, Oded completed a degree in electrical engineering and physics at the Technion. Upon graduation, he was appointed as commander of a missile boat that specializes in anti-submarine warfare (the Navy ensures that future sub commanders serve on such boats first, as there is no better way to learn how they behave when confronting a submarine.) After two years, Oded embarked on a submarine commanders course an intensive eight-month track with a personal mentor. In 1999 he was assigned to command the old-model submarine Gal. The only thing he is willing to say about that period is: It was a very operational year, with plenty of counter-terror activity. In 2001, he was appointed as the second commander of Leviathan, a new model Dolphin sub.
When asked how it feels to command Leviathan, a submarine that is three-times larger than the previous sub he led, Oded first speaks about the improved shower experience. When you are sailing for weeks and your only way to take a shower is to use the air-conditioners water, yet suddenly you have a shower, only then you understand the meaning of this, he says.
Suddenly there is a convenient space for service, in submarine terms of course. Suddenly your sub has more than one floor. There are also more arms and more advanced sonar systems. There is also a leap in atomization and in command and control capabilities. Its like flying into space. Moreover, its a very quiet submarine that can perform its mission with greater secrecy.
Doubling the fleet
At this time the Navy is preparing to double Israels submarine fleet from three to six in the next five years, making it one of the regions largest and most advanced fleets. As result of this process, Oded was not only required to double the submarine fleets manpower, but also to create a larger cadre career officers for a lengthy service term, as the need for professional expertise will only be growing. Hence, the Navy realized it must offer these soldiers the armys best service terms. For example, sub troops can study almost anything they want, as long as they stay in the force. Notably, a sub officer is required to serve nine years at least.
Oded says that doubling the fleets size is not only a challenge for the army; its a challenge for the State. When asked whether Israel needs such large fleet, especially in an era of cutbacks, Oded has no hesitation: I have no doubt we need it. A large submarine fleet gives us much more than a multiplier effect in strategic and security terms.
Don't mess with the apple of God's eye.
Reality: Many are getting ready to mess with Israel and they will meet their fate.
Wow, a doomsday fleet of subs and one named LEVIATHAN...I dont know whether to be terrified or merley give thanks in awe...Amen
Our “doomsday fleet” was named after men like George Washington, Ethan Allen, and Lafayette, but we just called our fleet “The 41 for Freedom”. It was a proud day when the Captain of the Lafayette pinned dolphins on my chest.
Diesel powered sub is a good choice. I think it is very silent, simpler and can still be weeks underwater. Their subs are typically close to Israel’s coast anyway.
I assume they are also doing covert ops, e.g. carrying special ops or agents to hostile countries, when needed.
I forgot where I was and went to hit the “like” button on your post...:)
Sounds like a message to Turkey
There is nothing in the article to indicate that. I think that is the kind of assumption that Israel's enemies will make to their peril.
Israel procures their subs from Germany. The Germans have been working on a new generation drive using fuel cells. The Swedes also have a "silent' drive that uses a closed cycle Sterling engine burning diesel fuel and liquid oxygen as the heat source, exhaust is vented outboard at ambient pressure. Having LOX onboard has the benefit of keeping the air fresh without "snorkeling".
Our navy thinks the next big thing are "littoral" ships. This is true for subs as well.
Got mine aboard the Patrick Henry.
We did realize what we were and that if we were ever used that we were done with life. Missiles being shot off from underwater makes a lot of noise and like a bottle rocket leaves a smoke trail to right where you were, our only hope was that we would get all our missiles launched before an enemy torpedo got us. It didn’t bother us because we knew there wouldn’t be much to go home to anyway.
We were different, I think that all of will always have a little different view of life than people who didn’t have to live with the knowledge that their job was to destroy the world just to exact revenge. Our hope was that the enemy’s knowledge that we were serious about our job would make them think twice.
Things are different now. Radical Islam is not rational. They don’t care if the world is destroyed, in fact they look forward to it. I hate it that we have to wait for them to kill millions before we turn them into glass.
I’m with ya on that! People will never know the responsibility we had to carry around as we did all the routine crap underway, but knowing that the final “Alert One” could happen at any minute.
We were lucky that we faced a rational enemy. As you said, islamists are crazy and you can’t use strategic deterrent against them.
I knew an EM1 who was on the Decom crew of the PH.
If youd like to be on or off, please FR mail me.
“Things are different now. Radical Islam is not rational. They dont care if the world is destroyed, in fact they look forward to it. I hate it that we have to wait for them to kill millions before we turn them into glass.”
You’re so right - it’s the scary truth - and high time everyone understands this. Ignorance and denial are dangerous. We have far too many politicians (and citizens) who just don’t get it.
More frightening yet is that we have a sympathizer in our White House who DOES.