Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Israel wants free warships from Germany
In a request that has caught the Berlin government off guard, Israel has asked for the delivery of two expensive German-made warships "free of charge".
The German daily Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung reported on Saturday that Tel Aviv has asked Germany to help bolster its defenses by providing a pair of MEKO corvettes that would probably cost hundreds of millions of euros.
Built at the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg, the ships feature advanced radar-evading capabilities and are exclusively designed to carry US-made missile systems.
Israel receives much of its military funding and equipment from the United States. According to the Wall Street Journal, US military aid to Israel will total $2.55 billion in 2009.
Tel Aviv has also received assistance from Germany over the years.
The Kiel shipyard Howaldtswerken Deutsche Werft had earlier delivered three submarines between 1999 and 2000.
In addition, two more submarines are currently being built in Kiel, costing at least 500 million euros apiece, for which Germany is to pay a third. They are slated to be delivered to Israel by 2012.
Berlin has not yet responded to the request, but according to the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung, "influential politicians in northern Germany" are secretly supporting the deal, claiming it will help German shipyards weather the global economic downturn.
Source: Press TV