This Sort of Sh%$ Pisses Me Off

Matthew G. Saroff
3 min readAug 16, 2023

Drakon Class Submarine

Soviet Golf Class SSB, first commissioned 1958

Hotel Class SSBN, first commissioned 1960

So, we have an article about the new Israeli Draken class submarine, a variant of a the German built Dolhin class submarine with an extended sail which contains multiple vertical launch tubes, bossibly for an intermediate range ballistic missile armed with the worst kept secret in the Middle East.

OK, this is not a huge deal, there are any number of indication that Israel has ballistic missile that could be armed with nuclear weapons.

What pisses me off is that the article leads off with that it is the, “First in world with modern missiles in sail.”

The lede pisses me off. Golf class SSB had ballistic missiles in the sail in 1958, and the Hotel class SSBN in 1960.

The lede, is deceptive, even if the author acknowledges the prior art further down:

Israel’s latest submarine, INS Drakon (‘Dragon’), has been launched in Kiel, Germany. It indicates significant growth in Israeli submarine capabilities. A variant of the successful Dolphin-II class, its unique lines also showcase Israel’s fiercely independent naval thinking.

INS Drakon is larger than any previous Israeli submarine, being much longer than the first two Dolphin-II boats. Even more noticeable is the ginormous sail. This likely contains its defining feature: advanced new missiles.

………

Naval News had previously reported that the submarine was likely to be longer, and feature a vertical launch system. But at that time it wasn’t clear that the missiles would be in the sail.

Submarines have been equipped with missile silos in the sail before. The Soviet Union’s first purpose built ballistic missile submarines, the Hotel and Golf classes, did this. More recently North Korea has leveraged this trick to get larger missiles into smaller submarines. Yet the German-designed submarine is the first truly modern design to feature this.

Saying that this is the first time that it was done in 60 years, not unreasonable, but to cast this as something new and different, when it has been done before for the same reason as the Soviet , that the main submarine hull cannot accommodate a larger munition, and enlarging the hole creates a larger boat with all that entails.

This is what happens when you have to but a big missile in a little boat, it’s about ⅔ the displacement of the USS Skipjack and ⅖ the size of the first US ballistic missile sub the USS George Washington.

The article is OK, except when it veers off into war pr0n.

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