Algerian Navy Super Lynx helicopters and Kilo submarines allegedly chase away Israeli Dolphin submarine spying near Algeria’s territorial waters

After having being surrounded, the Dolphin surfaced to indicate that it was abandoning the mission and moved away from the Algerian coast.

The story of an unusual incident that allegedly took place during the Algerian Radaa 2021 exercise was shared on Sep. 30, 2021 on social media: according to a Tweet by defense journalist Darko Todorovski an Israeli submarine was chased by the Algerian Navy during the drill, run from Sep. 29 to Sep. 30.

Radaa 2021 was aimed to demonstrate the capabilities of in-depth attack, or stealth destruction of targets at sea at very long distances. The exercise saw the participation of many Algerian naval units and took place in the presence of the Chief of Staff General Said Chengriha, the commander of the naval forces and the head of the second military region.

According to Menadefense.net, nothing happened during the drill. A very large perimeter had been cleared of commercial traffic to avoid incidents or unwanted attention. ù

Instead, an incident occurred on Sep. 27 during the preparation of the exercise. An Israeli Dolphin class submarine was spotted by passive detection of an Algerian Kilo class submarine, tracked and forced to surface in international waters and leave the area.

As reported by Menadefense.net, the Israeli sub was aggressively pursued without the use of sonar in order to avoid counter detection. Two Super Lynx anti-submarine warfare helicopters were launched from BDSL Kalaat Beni Abbas, which was part of the training as a command ship. The two helicopters continued the pursuit while two Kilo submarines pushed the intruder back to the north.

After having being surrounded, the Dolphin surfaced to indicate that it was abandoning the mission and moved away from the Algerian coast. It surfaced 5 km north of Kalaat Ben Abbès, on the edge of international waters and the Israeli submarine surfaced outside the zone.

We can assume that, if the story is confirmed, the Israeli sub was doing an intelligence mission in order to gather information since it was expected that at least one Algerian submarine would fire one or more Kalibr missiles. In this case, according to Menadefense.net, the Dolphin would have obtained the precious acoustic signature indicating the opening of the missile racks and would have recorded the sound of the firing preparation and firing routine. Valuable information that could help predict the actions taken by Algerian crews in the event of a conflict. The mission was also an opportunity to make electronic intelligence and collect data on the transmissions of the Algerian Navy and their encryption.

Based at Haifa, the Israeli Navy (IN) currently operates five modern diesel-electric Dolphin-class submarines. All were designed and constructed by Germany’s Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW).

Israel currently possesses five Dolphin-class diesel-electric submarines. Three of the five are old Dolphin type vessels. The older Dolphin-class are 57.3 meters long with a 6.8-meter-wide beam and can travel up to 20 knots when submerged. They can remain submerged for 30 days without surfacing. Their weapons systems are capable of firing torpedoes.

The modernized Dolphin II-class vessels instead run on a conventional diesel led-acid battery system. They have an AIP system which allows the vessels to travel extremely quietly and to remain submerged for up to a week without surfacing. Reports dictate that these vessels have a maximum speed of 25 knots and a range of 4,500km. The submarines are equipped with four enlarged 650mm torpedo tubes which lead to much speculation that the Israelis intend to outfit the submarines with nuclear-armed cruise missiles.

Israeli submarine Rahav conducting sea trials

Photo credit: Andrew Morley via FlightGlobal and Ein Dahmer via Wikipedia

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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