thyssenkrupp Marine Systems has handed over the two ships to the Israeli Navy today. The SA`AR 6-class corvettes had been christened earlier. The Sa’ar 6-class corvette is a series of four German-made corvettes ordered for the Israeli Navy in May 2015. The ships’ design is loosely based on the German Braunschweig-class corvette, but with engineering changes to accommodate Israeli-built armament such as the Barak 8 and the naval Iron Dome system. All four ships ordered have now been delivered to the Israeli Navy. Due to the pandemic, today’s ceremony took place on a small scale.
After the design phase, the construction phase began with the ship’s steel cuting ceremony in February 2018. Just 15 months after the first steel was cut, the ship undocked. All four vessels constructed in Germany in a joint project by German Naval Yards Holdings and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems. In May 2019, the “INS Magen” as first of class received her name in Kiel and was handed over in November 2020. The second ship, “INS Oz” followed in May 2021. Construction cost was estimated at NIS 1.8 billion Israeli new shekel (NIS) or roughly 430 million Euros ($480 million).
The SA’AR 6-class ships will form the backbone of the Israeli Navy for the next 30 years. thyssenkrupp Marine Systems is building the ships in a joint venture with German Naval Yards Kiel. Vice Admiral Eliyahu Sharvit arrived from Israel for the naming and handover ceremony. The Israeli navy commander-in-chief is pleased with his new ships, as he expressed in his speech: “I thank you for your tremendous effort invested in this combined project to ensure its extraordinary success.”
In his speech to the guests at the ceremony and to the crews of the new ships, Managing Director Dr Alexander Orellano emphasised the good professional und personal relationship with the Israel Navy. Dr Alexander Orellano said, “In the six years from the signing of the contract until today, we have developed a superior ship together. We have discussed a lot with each other, sometimes even argued. In the end, we, client and contractor, together built a better ship than originally planned.”
The Sa’ar 6 has a displacement of almost 1,900 tons at full load and is 90 m (295 ft 3 in) long. It is armed with an Oto Melara 76 mm main gun, two Typhoon Weapon Stations, 32 vertical launch cells for Barak-8 surface-to-air missiles, 20 cells for the C-Dome point defense system, 16 Gabriel 5 anti-ship missiles, the EL/M-2248 MF-STAR AESA radar, and two 324 mm (12.8 in) torpedo launchers. It has hangar space and a platform able to accommodate a medium class SH-60-type helicopter. They are to be equipped with radar and weapon systems by the Israeli Navy after their arrival in Israel.
The Sa’ar 6 has been adopted for maritime protection, anti-shipping and prevent threats in the Israeli exclusive economic zone (EEZ).The Sa’ar 6 is also used to defend Israeli shipping lanes in the Mediterranean to import more than 90 percent of goods for Israel. One of their roles will be to protect natural gas platforms in the Mediterranean Sea against possible sea-borne, counter-terrorism or rocket threats. The Lebanese Hezbollah group alleges that Israel’s gas fields lie in Lebanese waters. It has threatened to target Israeli gas platforms.