TEL AVIV — The Israel Navy is upgrading its entire combat surface fleet with new German-built, Israeli-equipped Sa’ar-6 corvettes and the integration of new radars and electronic warfare (EW) systems in existing Sa’ar-5 and Sa’ar 4.5 ships.
Procurement and retrofit of the new radars, developed by Elta Systems, and the combined active and passive EW suite by Elbit Systems Elisra will start next year.
By the end of the decade, the upgraded corvettes and missile boats will be joined by four larger Sa’ar-6 combat ships, part of a recently inked €430 million deal between Israel and Germany for defense of offshore energy assets in Israel’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Under the Israel-German corvette deal — concluded in May after nearly five years of negotiations — Berlin agreed to contribute €115 million to offset costs for hull, mechanical and engineering work at ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) of Kiel, Germany.
The deal allows Israel to provide its own combat weapons suite, armament and subsystems for the German-built ships, which are Israeli-tailored versions of the 1,800-ton displacement 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. “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, EW and other systems.