Germany’s Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) shipyard, located in Kiel, has begun work on the first of Israel’s Sa’ar 6 corvettes.
In a ceremony on Wednesday, TKMS formally cut steel for the first Sa’ar 6 corvette, marking the beginning of work on the ship. The ceremony was attended by the Admiral Eli Sharvit, the head of the Israeli Navy, as well as Germany’s Navy inspector, Vice-admiral Andreas Krause.
Israel signed a contract for the ships in 2015. The corvettes, once completed will measure 90 meters and displace about 2,000 tons. Onboard the Sa’ar 6s, Israel will integrate a number of its own electronic systems.
The ships will be armed with surface-to-air missile systems, a 76mm main gun, torpedo launchers, and remote combat weapon stations. Defense News reported last year that the Israeli Navy modified the designs of the Sa’ar 6 corvettes, with a focus on adding more Iron Dome missile interceptors.
The Navy will use the ships to protect off-shore energy infrastructure, and the growing amount of anti-shipping missiles and other rockets in the hands of militants pose a challenge to the security of the facilities. The Sa’ar 6s will provide the Navy the ability to intercept incoming missiles.
The initial ship will be delivered to the Israeli Navy in late 2019 and the schedule thereafter calls for deliveries every six months. On its social media feed on Wednesday, the Israel Defense Forces noted, “Four Sa’ar 6 Class Corvettes will be integrated gradually into the Israeli Navy over the next three years.”
Today, February 7, a ceremony which marked the construction initiation of the Sa’ar 6 Class Corvettes was held in Kiel, Germany. Four Sa’ar 6 Class Corvettes will be integrated gradually into the Israeli Navy over the next three years pic.twitter.com/mhNc41F0ob
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) February 7, 2018