The Defense Ministry announced on Monday the signing of a contract with German ship makers ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems to purchase four patrol corvette type vessels.
The contract was signed by Israeli and German officials at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, and totals €430 million – a third of which is to be funded by a special German government grant of €115m.
The owner of the TKMS shipyard, the TK Consortium, is committed to a reciprocal purchase of NIS 70m. worth of products from the Israeli defense market, the ministry added.
The boats are to be produced in the German city of Kiel, near Hamburg, where Dolphin submarines in service in the Israeli Navy were produced.
The corvettes are expected to arrive in Israel in the coming five years, and they are to be equipped with Israeli combat systems, enabling Israeli defense companies to receive plentiful orders as a result of the deal.
Their mission is to defend the gas drilling rigs and search efforts off the Israeli coastline.
The corvettes are to be joined by other vessels, including naval unmanned surface vehicles, intelligence drones and other components to defend the energy assets at sea.
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The ministry said that the Exclusive Economic Zone project is funded by a separate budget to that of the defense budget.
Maj.-Gen. (Res.) Dan Harel, managing-director of the Defense Ministry, described the signing of the contract as a “most significant event, representing a dramatic improvement in the navy’s ability to protect strategic sites for the State of Israel.”
He added that energy sites located dozens and hundreds of kilometers off the coast at sea will enjoy protection as a result of the deal.
The deal was announced during a visit by German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who arrived in Israel on an official state visit on Monday.
Iran is intervening negatively in every conflict in the Middle East, and still strives to obtain nuclear weapons, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon told his German counterpart.
Speaking at a joint press conference at the ministry in Tel Aviv, Ya’alon said, “Ursula, this is the third time we meet.
During our past two visits as well, we spoke at length about the complex situation in the Middle East. During our conversation a short while ago, significant issues linked to the region arose. On most of the issues, we see eye to eye.”
The chaotic period in the Middle East has seen the rise of a “rabble of extremist, relentless terror organizations that fight across the region, and [they] are responsible, to our deep sorrow, for the killing of masses, including women, children and the defenseless,” he said.
“Some of these terror organizations receive, unfortunately, assistance from the Iranian regime, which stops at nothing to promote instability, and intervenes negatively in every conflict in the region. This is a regime that openly declares it will wipe Israel from the map, and strives to develop nuclear weapons that will threaten the peace of the entire world,” the defense minister warned.
At the press conference, Ya’alon said that a recent attempt by terrorists to plant explosives on Israel’s border with Syria on the Golan Heights was carried out by a cell that was activated by the Iranians.
“The Iranian regime... continues to act with its charm offensive, headed by President [Hassan] Rouhani and Foreign Minister [Mohammad Javad] Zarif, and on the other hand, the Revolutionary Guards, in this case [Qassem] Suleimani, head of the Quds Force, continues to activate terrorism in Yemen, Lebanon and to try and open a front against us on the Golan Heights. When these things happen, we of course act to defend ourselves,” he said.
Deep security cooperation is in place between Israel and Germany, Ya’alon said, based on a common view of threats facing the countries and threats facing the Western world, an exchange of information and intimate relations between the two militaries and intelligence branches.
“We are proud to share with you from our military and intelligence experience,” he said.
He added, “We highly appreciate Germany’s contribution to the security of the State of Israel and to the security of its citizens.
The connections between the states is very helpful in building the IDF’s power and consolidate it as an advanced and modern military.”
Ya’alon referred to Israel’s acquisitions of four navy ships from Germany, saying it would significantly increase the nay’s quality and ability to defend strategic assets. These ships are “the most advanced, and their acquisition will enable the Israel Navy to continue to stand in one line with the leading navies of the world.”
Von der Leyen arrived in Israel on an official state visit.
The visit will be held under the banner of 50 years of diplomatic ties between the countries, Ya’alon’s bureau said in a statement on Sunday.
Israel ordered three new-generation air-independent propulsion Dolphin class submarines from Germany, in addition to the three older German-made Dolphins in the navy’s possession.
The INS Tanin, arrived in Haifa navy base in September, and received weapons and communications systems from domestic defense companies.
The fifth, the INS Rahav is expected to arrive in the coming months.
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