German shipbuilder, thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) officially handed over the Israeli Navy’s first Sa’ar 6-class corvette, INS Magen, on Nov. 11.
The hand over ceremony, which took place in Kiel, Germany, marked another important milestone in the ongoing program of TKMS as prime contractor to build four next-generation SA’AR-6 class missile corvettes for the Israeli Navy.
“This program is based on an open and trusting dialogue with our customer. I would like to thank Israel for the confidence it has shown in us. We are very proud to be contributing to Israel’s security. I would also like to thank our employees: Despite challenging circumstances, they have achieved something great with tremendous care and discipline! Together, we stay focused on our way to becoming the most modern naval company in Europe,” said Dr. Rolf Wirtz, CEO of thyssenkrupp Marine Systems.
The Sa’ar 6 vessels are being constructed in Germany in a joint project by German Naval Yards Holdings (GNYH) and TKMS under a contract signed in May 2015. Construction cost is estimated at NIS 1.8 billion ($480 million) with Israel paying two-thirds of the cost and the German Government subsidizing the remaining one-third, as with the Dolphin-class submarines.
The Sa’ar-6 class ships’ design is loosely based on the German Navy’s K130 Braunschweig-class corvettes, but with engineering changes to render the baseline platform more militarily robust. The vessels have the stealthy design of a low-signature missile corvette with tailor-made solutions and numerous new technologies onboard.
The Sa’ar 6-class corvettes have a length of 90 m, a beam of 13 m and a full-load displacement of around 1,900 tons. They have a hangar space and a flight deck able to accommodate a medium-class SH-60-type helicopter.
The vessels are armed with an Oto Melara 76 mm main gun, two Typhoon Weapon Stations, 32 vertical launch cells for Barak-8 surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), the C-Dome point defense system (naval version of the Iron Dome), 16 anti-ship missiles (AShMs), and two 324 mm torpedo launchers.
They are equipped with IAI Elta EL/M-2248 MF-STAR active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar which is capable of tracking both air and surface targets and providing fire control guidance. MF-STAR is an acronym of Multi-Function Surveillance, Track And Guidance Radar.
One of the roles of the vessels will be to protect natural gas platforms in the Mediterranean sea against possible sea-borne or rocket threats.
After the completion of the design phase, the construction phase started with the steel cutting ceremony of the first-of-class (INS Magen) in February 2018. Only 15 months after the first steel cut, the ship was undocked, fulfilling its very ambitious schedule. The first Sa’ar 6-class corvette was formally named INS Magen during a ceremony in Kiel, Germany on May 23, 2019.
The remaining three ships are planned for delivery subsequently in intervals of a few months.