Israeli Navy Takes Deliver of First U.S.-Built Landing Craft
The Israeli Defense Forces and Ministry of Defense marked the delivery and raising of the Israeli flag on the first of two American-built landing craft for the Israeli Navy. The ceremony which took place on August 8 in Mississippi was hailed as a milestone in a project which began nearly four years ago to expand the capabilities of the Israeli Navy.
Reports from Israel highlight that the navy had made use of vessels capable of supporting landings from its inception in 1948. The navy decommissioned the last of its previous landing vessels in 1993 but more recently had begun exploring restoring that capability as part of adapting the Israeli Navy to the modern and multi-arena battlefield.
Commander in Chief of the Israeli Navy, VAdm. David Saar Salama called the vessels a new chapter in the history of the Israeli Navy. He recognized the efforts of the dozens of sailors manning the vessel as they carve a new path for the Israeli forces.
Crew during the delivery and flag-raising ceremony (IDF Photo)
The IDF reports that each of the landing craft is approximately 310 feet in length with a beam of nearly 66 feet. They are more than 2,500 tons displacement. Among the roles outlined by the IDF, the landing crafts will serve as a logistical axis for transporting equipment as well as the soldiers in near and far areas. They are described as small to medium-sized vessels able to transport soldiers, equipment, vehicles, and supplies to conduct amphibious operations from sea to land. The navy previously lacked these capabilities except for small landings with a limited number of soldiers.
During the delivery ceremony, Haifa Naval Base commander Rear Adm. Tal Politis said the delivery of the vessel “marks a significant milestone in adapting the navy to the modern battlefield.”
The IDF announcement only described the vessels as being built at the Pascagoula Shipyard. Janes, however, reports the contract was awarded to VT Halter, which was reported to be building two landing ships for an undisclosed customer at its Pascagoula yard. VT Halter was acquired in late 2022 by Bollinger Shipyards.
The first vessel was officially named, the INS Nahshon. The vessel will begin a final preparations phase, which includes crew training and operational certification tests. In a few months, the IDF says the landing craft will set sail and arrive at its home port in Israel. In 2024, the landing craft is set to be declared an operational vessel.