Israel's new Sa'ar 6 warship arrives in Haifa from Germany - WATCH

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi: "This is a holiday for the State of Israel, the IDF and the Navy."

The 'INS Magen' arrives in Haifa from Germany on December 2, 2020. (Video credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
The INS Magen, Israel's first Sa'ar 6 warship and the newest addition to the Navy, arrived in Haifa from Germany Wednesday evening, an event marked by a welcoming ceremony.

"This is a holiday for the State of Israel, the IDF and the Navy," IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi said ahead of the ceremony.
In honor of the ship's arrival, the Haifa Municipality's building was lit up blue, N12 reported.
Built by Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems in Kiel, Germany, the INS Magen is the first of four Sa'ar 6 ships to come to Israel, and will be operational in the next year or two. The three others are named the INS Oz, the INS Atzma’ut and the INS Nitzahon, with the last expected to arrive by the end of 2021.
The arrival of the ships is the result of an ongoing partnership between Israel and Germany to strengthen their strategic cooperation. 
"This project, over many years, which is not yet complete, required close coordination with the German defense industries," President Reuven Rivlin said in a speech at the ceremony. "This will work together with the military systems on board the missile boats from our own excellent, blue-and-white, military industries.”
Rivlin also thanked German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier for the ongoing cooperative efforts.
The Navy is relatively small compared to other IDF corps, and consists of patrol units, submarines (Shayetet 7), special naval forces (Shayetet 13) and missile boats (Shayetet 3). Despite this, it has to protect Israel’s largest strategic depth under or over the surface of some 44,000 sq.km. of sea, almost double the size of the entire country. 

It also has to guard strategic infrastructure such as the natural gas rigs and protect the commercial shipping lanes that bring in 98% of Israel’s imports, as well as take part in missions far from the country’s borders.
But the addition of four new state-of-the-art Sa'ar 6 ships will be a major boost to one of the IDF's most vital arms. Coupled with its aging Sa’ar 5-class missile ships, which are close to 30 years old, the Navy now has a strong backbone of 15 missile ships.
"The [INS Magen] is an excellent response to a necessity – it's an excellent and effective product, accurately adapted to its mission: Protecting the great natural resources that have made Israel an energy-independent country," Navy commander Maj.-Gen. Eli Sharvit said in a speech. "You won't find a better ship."
These sentiments were echoed by Kochavi.
"Behind me is one of the most advanced war machines in the world," he said in his speech at the ceremony, adding that it was a major step forward in the IDF's ability to maintain control over the seas.
"The ship and the ships on the way will strengthen the Navy... increase the IDF's military advantage and improve the defense of the country's borders."
The new 90 meter-long 2,000-ton ships have a maximum speed of 24 knots and a range of 2,500 nautical miles. Though not much longer than the Sa’ar 5, they have been built to better handle rough seas and stay at sea longer.
Also unlike the Sa'ar 5, the Sa'ar 6 was designed to counter aerial threats, and the various equipment that the ships are outfitted with reflects this design choice.
They are covered in close to 300 static radar arrays that are able to detect incoming aerial threats that can then be shot down by either their two onboard Iron Dome (Naval Dome) rocket interceptors or two Barak-8 batteries to shoot down cruise and ballistic missiles.
In addition to interception missile defense systems, the ships will also have 16 anti-ship missiles, one 76mm Oto Melara Super Rapid main gun, two Typhoon 25mm remote weapon stations and two 324mm torpedo launchers for MK54 Lightweight Torpedoes.
Each state-of-the-art ship is also outfitted with cyber and electronic warfare systems and Elta’s EL/M-2248 MF-STAR active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar capable of tracking both air and surface targets.
President Reuven Rivlin is seen inside the control room of Israel's new Sa'ar 6 warship on December 2, 2020. (Photo credit: Koby Gideon/GPO)President Reuven Rivlin is seen inside the control room of Israel's new Sa'ar 6 warship on December 2, 2020. (Photo credit: Koby Gideon/GPO)
The troops will be assisted by unmanned aerial vehicles and an upgraded pad for Israel’s newest naval helicopters.
And for the first time, the new missile ships will be able to house both female sailors – who will make up 25% of the crew.
“The Israel Navy, and the IDF, proves again its connection to Israeli society," Rivlin said.
"That is the relevance of the IDF as the people’s army – the army of the people, of us all. Navy servicepeople are used to spending long periods at sea, far from home, but I have no doubt that this will be a real challenge to you, and of course to your dear families who are also part of this national mission. You are the real focus of this celebration. You are the foundations on which this important project is built, and so I would like to thank you on behalf of all Israelis.
"At this time, when Israeli society is in crisis, you are an anchor of stability, patriotism of uncompromising commitment to Israel’s national security. You are our pride – true Israeli pride.”
Tobias Siegal contributed to this report.