The Israel Navy plans to bolster its combat fleet with the addition of German-built ships, along with radar and weapons systems. The process of attaining new radars and electronic warfare systems and adding them to ships will start as early as next year, reported Defense News on Sunday.
The Israeli Navy completed a major deal, worth $480 million, to purchase four new German-built but Israeli-equipped Sa'ar-6 corvettes ships in May. The deal, which took five years to complete, allows for Israel to provide its own combat weapons suite, armament and subsystems. Germany also took on about one-third of the cost of building the ships, UPI reported. The new ships will essentially be an Israeli modified version of the German Blohm+Voss-class 130 corvette.
"It will be designed along the shape of that platform," said Israel Navy Capt. Ariel Shir, head of the Electronic Combat Systems Department in the service's Materiel Command, to Defense News. "All the top-side arrangements above the water line are basically a German and Israeli design, tailored for the needs of the Israel Navy and integrated with our own radar, [electronic warfare] and other systems.
The Israeli Navy will also reportedly add four larger Sa'ar combat ships by the end of the decade. The new radars developed by Elta Systems, an Israeli defense company, will be added to existing Sa'ar-5 and Sa'ar 4.5 ships. One of the key focuses of adding new radar and weapons systems is to have a common system throughout the country's warship fleet. Getting the new systems up and running is reportedly a delicate process.
"When you take out the radar and replace it with a new, more advanced system, you must connect properly all the interfaces with all the other systems, just like a surgeon would do with the veins and arteries of the heart," Shir said, according to Defense News. "If not, you may not be able to use the new capabilities, or worse, you'll face difficulties syncing all the systems back together again. We're working to make sure this operation is a success."
The Israeli Navy will add new radar systems to a range of ships, including eight Israeli-built Nirit-class, 500-ton Sa'ar-4.5 missile boats and United States-built Sa'ar-5s ships, according to Defense News.
The Israeli Navy made a high-profile stop on Monday, intercepting a ship carrying pro-Palestinian activists in a flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip in order to protest a naval blockade. The ship, called the Marianne, was carrying 18 people and had an intended destination of the Israel port of Ashdod, reported the New York Times. The Marianne was the lead boat of a flotilla of four, and the others turned back to their original ports once the lead ship was taken, the Times reported.