JERUSALEM, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Israeli Navy's submarine fleet embarked on a number of active missions in 2012, including ones that took the place beyond the country's territorial waters, a military official told local media on Monday.
"The submarines carried out a lot more missions this year," a senior navy official told Channel Two news.
Israel currently deploys three diesel-powered Dolphin-class submarines which entered service in the early 1990s and were built by Germany's Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft shipyards.
The navy held "more non-training related missions, and more beyond Israel's territorial waters," according to the official, whose name was not divulged due to security concerns.
"The sub fleet is the only one dealing with year-round surveillance. During wartime it serves as Israel's longest arm, and is able to reach any location," the official said, noting that "anywhere you stick a pin in a map of the Mediterranean basin, a sub could be there."
In June, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the fleet played a key role in Israel's security posture.
Israel in March finalized the deal for its sixth submarine.
Israel purchased the Dolphin-class submarine at 530 million U.S. dollars, with Germany subsidizing one-third of the total price.
The sale, "demonstrates (Germany's) commitment to Israel's security," Netanyahu said in an interview with the editor-in-chief of the Bild tabloid.
Netanyahu's remarks came after the German magazine Der Spiegel published an article alleging that the Dolphin-class subs sold to Israel are capable of launching nuclear missiles.
Another two submarines, which construction began in 2006, are scheduled to be delivered to Israel in the next two years.
Next week, the 102nd batch of submariners will graduate, with only one in 10 candidates making the cut for the challenging and secretive course.
"The candidates want to get into subs, and we're enlarging the course structure without lowering entrance standards," according to the official.
The navy has a tradition of numbering all of its graduates, according to the official, who disclosed that the two top students will wear the numbers 2202 and 2222, evidence of the limited number of recruits who make the grade.