The German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) has signed today a contract to build four patrol corvettes for the Israeli Navy. Israel will pay €315 million of the €430 million contract, the remaining €113 million will be subsidized by the German Federal Government. Israel plans to use the new boats to protect the expanded Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ) in the Eastern Mediterranean, where recent explorations discovered major oil and gas resources. The first new boat will be delivered in 2019, to follow with the other three over the next three years.
The Israeli Government approved the procurement of the new boats as part of the security measures protecting those assets in the Eastern Mediterranean. Those security measures would include an array of unmanned systems surveillance and security systems operating in the air, above and under water. “This contract signed today is a significant event, representing a major increase in the defensive capability of the Israeli Navy, protecting offshore strategic sites located tens and hundreds of kilometers offshore” said Maj. General (ret) Dan Harel, Director General of the Israel MOD.
As part of the agreement, the German Thyssenkrupp concern, the owner of TKMS, will expand its procurement in Israel, buying goods worth at a value over €150 million.
TKMS is offering two versions of patrol vessels – the 1,500 ton Meko class 80 ‘Patrol corvette’ which is also available in 1,900 and 2,100 ton versions, and the 87 m’ long 1,800 ton Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV). In comparison, Saar V, the largest boat class currently in service with the Israeli Navy is 85 meter long and has a fully loaded displacement of 1,275 tons. The new Israeli boat to be designated Saar 6, will be a version of the K-130, a 2,000 ton class in service with the German Navy.
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Depending on the type of engine used (combined diesels or diesel-gas turbine), the Meko Patrol Corvette can develop a speeds of up to 26 knots, but is also equipped with electrically powered motors propelling the vessel at a highly economical speed of 12 knots. At a speed of 14 knots the Patrol Corvette has the autonomous mission range of 4,500 nautical miles, representing a two-week mission endurance. The vessel is operated by a crew of 65, and has accommodations for 23 more. The boat has a helicopter deck supporting helicopters up to ten tons.