The INS Hetz navy ship boat 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Due to budgetary constraints, the Navy has scrapped plans to purchase two
next-generation missile ships and is instead looking to increase its fleet with
RELATED:Navy completing secret 2 year submarine upgrade
The Navy had originally decided to purchase the US
Navy’s littoral combat ship, under development by defense contractor Lockheed
Martin, but backed away from the deal after the price soared.
looked into buying designs from Germany’s Blohm+Voss and having the vessels
built by Israel Shipyards – a privately owned company based in Haifa that
already builds the navy’s smaller Shaldag patrol boats – but a senior IDF
officer involved in procurement plans said that a budget for that plan was also
Instead, the Navy is now looking to order two new Sa’ar
4.5-class missile corvettes and to finance the deal by retiring two of its Sa’ar
The Sa’ar 4 ships have been in Navy service since the
1970s. The Sa’ar 4.5 ship is slightly larger than the Sa’ar 4 enabling it to
carry more weapons systems.
The Navy reportedly has eight Sa’ar 4.5-class
ships which come equipped with Harpoon missiles, a 76mm.
gun and a
Phalanx defensive system. The ships can also be equipped with Barak missile
defense systems, depending on operational needs.
The Navy had made a case
for two advanced next-generation missile ships and even contemplated installing
Arrow ballistic missile defense systems and surface-to-surface missiles on
However the General Staff decided against budgeting the two new
vessels – which would have cost around $500 million – and instead approved the
smaller and cheaper expansion of the Navy’s fleet.
The Navy has been
playing an increasing role in IDF operations in recent years, whether operating
alongside ground forces during Operation Cast Lead three years ago or against
Iranian weapons smuggling in the Mediterranean and Red Seas.
weekend, for example, Sudanese media reported that an Israeli submarine recently
participated in an Israeli Air Force bombing of weapons convoys in eastern