The ship, which is supposed to arrive in December, will join the Israeli Navy’s fleet to reinforce the IDF’s naval assets, with an emphasis on defensive capabilities for important strategic assets and on offensive capabilities that have never been seen before in the eastern Mediterranean.
“About five years ago, ten engineers serving in the Israeli Navy were flown to Germany to take part in a special project. Their main mission was to return to Israel with brand new missile ships whose role would be to protect Israel’s strategic naval assets,”
The mission was deemed necessary after valuable natural gas reserves were discovered within Israel’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the early 2000s. Since 70% of the electricity in Israel today comes from natural gas produced by Israel’s marine gas rigs, the discoveries called for a new way to protect Israel’s assets. Thus began the Israeli Navy’s initiative to bring new missile ships to Israel.
From the moment the Sa’ar 6 ship reaches Israel’s shores, the Israeli Navy will have to face the complex challenge of making the ship fully operational. Over 90% of the defensive systems that will be on the new Sa’ar 6 ships are Israeli-made combat systems.
Among the special operational capabilities of the new Israeli ships are:
Anti-Missile Systems and high-trajectory interception based on “Adir” radar systems: According to assessments, terror armies (like Hezbollah and Hamas) in our region possess the ability to fire high-trajectory rockets of a wide range, that are able to reach the gas rigs. Because of this, it is highly important that the Israeli Navy’s missile boats have high-trajectory rocket and shore-to-sea missile interception systems, such as “Naval Dome” and LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device).
Sea-to-sea missile capability: This missile system will have more accurate offensive capabilities, longer ranges, improved operational flexibility, and better capabilities to face advanced threats.
Greater ability to cover near and far surface areas: The area of Israel’s EEZ more than twice that of Israel’s land territory. The Sa’ar 6 Corvettes will enable naval combat personnel to control the arena faster, and provide a high-quality defensive envelope even at a distance from a security threat.
Ability to remain at sea for extended periods of time: The EEZ defense mission never stops. The Sa’ar 6 Corvettes can remain at sea for longer periods of time than the Israeli Navy’s existing missile boats, and therefore are able to create long-term defensive continuity.
The Sa’ar 6 Corvettes will possess air and surface target detection capabilities: This will include a response to the existing threats from the air, target detection and wide battle space collection capabilities.
The ability to carry mid-size helicopters, such as the Seahawk: The new Seahawk helicopters that will be used by Sa’ar 6 Corvettes will be powerful, and able to operate over long ranges and extended periods of time. In this fashion, the ships will be able to provide a comprehensive defensive envelope.
Multidimensional Communication interoperability with all IDF Networks : The ship will be able to interact and initiate communication with other IDF branches and units.
About the Sa’ar 6-class
The 1,900 tons, 90 meters-long ships have the stealthy design of a low-signature missile corvette with tailor-made solutions and numerous new technologies on board. The contract for the delivery of four Sa’ar 6 corvettes was signed in May 2015. After the design phase, the construction phase started with the steel cutting ceremony of the first-of-class in February 2018. Only 15 months after the first steel cut, the ship was undocked, fulfilling its very ambitious schedule. The other three ships will follow subsequently in intervals of a few months.
In terms of weapon systems, the Sa’ar 6 will be heavily armed given their small size and displacement:
- an Oto Melara 76 mm main gun,
- two Typhoon 25mm Weapon Stations,
- 32 vertical launch cells for Barak-8 surface-to-air missiles,
- two C-Dome point defense systems (with 20 Tamir missiles each),
- 16 anti-ship missiles (likely Gabriel V)
- two 324 mm torpedo launchers .
Each ship will also be outfitted with cyber and electronic warfare systems. The sensor suite includes the EL/M-2248 MF-STAR AESA radar. Magen-class corvettes have hangar space and a platform able to accommodate a medium class SH-60-type helicopter.