Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that the country will acquire four new Saar corvettes from Germany.
“We have added an important element to our defense force. They will also be used to secure Israel's gas reserves in the Mediterranean,” said Netanyahu.
The ships are expected to reach Israel in about two years’ time and are being built by Thyssen-Krupp Marine Systems. The new Saar vessels will be a customized version of Thyssen-Krupp’s Meko A-100 combat vessels.
According to Thyssen-Krupp, the 98m A-100 corvette is a fast mono-hull design that incorporates a forefoot skeg and excellent flow-lines with the very good beam, active fin stabilizers and a raised buoyant foreship. These features provide sustained blue-water sea-keeping operations, allowing helicopter and boat operations in sea state 6. The vessels have a top speed of over 28 knots, and also run economically on a single diesel engine up to 19 knots.
The news of the corvette deal comes a few months after the fourth Dolphin-class submarines were delivered from Thyssen-Krupp, and in announcing this latest deal Netanyahu thanked German chancellor Angela Merkel for her ongoing commitment and assistance to Israel’s security.
It is unclear to what extent Germany will be funding the construction of the vessels. According to Defense News, Germany agreed to fully fund the first two submarines, split costs of the third, and underwrite the last three submarines by about 30 percent. The INS Rahav, Israel's fifth submarine, is expected to be delivered in 2015. A sixth submarine is under construction and is expected to be delivered in 2017.