The Israeli Navy received the first of two landing ships that are being built for it at Pascagoula in the United States, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced on 9 August. The delivery and flag-raising ceremony of the INS Nahshon landing craft took place at the Pascagoula Shipyard. The ceremony was led by the Commanding Officer of Haifa Naval Base, RDML. Tal Politis, and senior officials in the procurement delegation of the Ministry of Defense. A landing craft is a powerful combat vessel, which enables sailing to distant arenas. Its length is approximately 95 meters, its width is approximately 20 meters and its displacement exceeds 2500 tons. The team of the landing craft consists of dozens of naval combat soldiers, with a quarter of them being female. The landing crafts will act as a central pillar in adapting the Israeli Navy to the modern and multi-arena battlefield. Among other things, the landing crafts will serve as a logistical axis for transporting equipment as well as the soldiers in near and far areas.
The Head of the IMOD SIBAT Directorate, Brig. Gen. (Res.) Michel Ben Baruch: ”The delivery of the landing craft to the Israeli Navy is one of a series of force building programs being carried out in the U.S. for the IDF. The program is by the Israeli Defense Ministry’s procurement delegation in New York, using the FmF that the U.S. government provides to the State of Israel.”
From the letter of the Commander in Chief of the Israeli Navy, VAdm. David Saar Salama, to the first team of the INS Nahshon: “You have a great privilege today, writing a chapter in the history of the Israeli Navy. As the name of your ship – Nahshonim, you are the pioneers of the way, the first to jump into the water and carve a new path in the heart of the seas. You embarked on the journey of building a ship, far from the ports at home and far from family, and managed to turn a dream into reality. With wonderful cohesion, dedication and professionalism, in a wonderful partnership that crosses times, people and countries – you lead the Navy to new horizons, to horizons of influence, and determination.”
Moreover, the landing crafts will enable the strengthening of the high-quality cooperation between the various units in the Israeli Navy, the Technological and Logistics Directorate (J4) and the other IDF branches, in order to strengthen the joint operational activity, and putting the multi-branch combat effort into action in routine and contingency situations. The joint construction project by the IDF and the Ministry of Defense of the INS Nahshon landing craft’s platform began about 4 years ago. The project began when they were purchased by the procurement delegation of the Ministry of Defense with the FmF from the U.S. government to Israel. The delivery and Israeli flag-raising ceremony marks a significant milestone in the process of their operational integration into the Israeli Navy from the U.S. Shipyard. Now, the INS Nahshon landing craft will begin the final preparations phase which includes crew training and operational certification tests – when in a few months the landing craft will set sail and arrive at its home port in Israel. In the year 2024, the landing craft is set to be declared an operational vessel.