Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will provide advanced defense systems to Israel Navy’s new Sa’ar-6 corvettes to protect strategic maritime assets, the defense giant announced on Tuesday.The contract was led by the navy, the Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D) and the procurement administration in Israel’s Defense Ministry. The Barak- 8 system was chosen after it was demonstrated to meet the operational requirements and future challenges faced by Israel’s navy.The systems will be used to protect Israel’s exclusive economic zone and strategic facilities that are faced with diversified threats in the marine arena.Israel is highly dependent on the sea with over 90% of Israel’s imports arriving by boat, and while the country’s navy is relatively small compared to other IDF corps, it has a significant amount of territory to protect since the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) expanded five years ago from 40 miles from shore to 150 miles from shore.Boaz Levi, the general manager and executive vice president of IAI Systems, Missiles & Space Group, said that the procurement of the Barak-8 for the new warships will expand the operational capabilities of the navy in defending the EEZ and Israeli territory.“With land and naval modules, the system provides a complete response to a wide range of threats and is developed to work with other systems. Barak- 8 is a proud member of the exclusive club that hosts Israel’s most successful global military developments,” he said.IAI CEO and president Joseph Weiss said that the contract would add to the several other Barak-8 contracts entered into over the past few years, “with a total value of more than $5 billion.”The Barak-8 naval air defense system was jointly developed by the IAI and India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO).The system is designed to defend naval vessels against many short-to-long range (70- 150 km.) airborne threats, like incoming missiles, planes and drones at both low or high altitudes. In July, the Israeli military successfully tested the Barak-8, intercepting a small drone simulating an enemy aircraft.The system integrates several advanced state-of-theart systems, such as a digital radar, command and control, launchers, interceptors with modern RF seekers, data link and system-wide connectivity. It is also able to engage multiple targets simultaneously in severe saturation scenarios and can be operated in all types of weather.The construction of the four Sa’ar-6 class warships was agreed to in a €430 million deal between Israel and the German company ThyssenKrupp in 2015. The first ship is expected to arrive at the end of 2019 and the last by 2021, and will defend Israel’s offshore natural gas reserves as well as other strategic maritime assets.The Sa’ar-6 will have a maximum speed of 26 knots and a crew of 70 sailors, a range of 2,500 miles, and advanced capabilities able to deal with a wide range of threats.They will be fitted with two naval Iron Dome short-range defense missile launchers with 20 Tamir missiles for each launcher and the Barak-8 longrange surface-to-air missile naval defense system.They will also have 16 antiship missiles, one 76 mm. Oto Melara Super Rapid main gun, two Typhoon 25 mm. remote weapon stations and two 324 mm. torpedo launchers for MK54 Lightweight Torpedoes.