German shipbuilder, Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) has started the construction of the first Sa’ar 6-class corvette for the Israeli Navy with a steel-cutting ceremony at its shipyard in Kiel, Germany on Feb. 7.
The ceremony was attended by the head of the Israeli Navy, Admiral Eli Sharvit, and German Navy inspector Vice-admiral Andreas Krause.
The Sa’ar 6-class corvette is a class of four warships ordered for the Israeli Navy in May 2015. All the four corvettes will be integrated gradually into the Israeli Navy over the next three years
The ships’ design will be loosely based on the German Braunschweig-class corvette, but with engineering changes to render the baseline platform more militarily robust. All four vessels will be constructed in Germany in a joint project by German Naval Yards Holdings and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems.
The first of the class is scheduled to enter service in 2019. Construction cost is estimated at NIS 1.8 billion ($480 million). Israel will pay for two thirds of the cost and the German Government will subsidize a third of the corvettes’ construction costs, as with the Dolphin class submarines.
One of their roles will be to protect natural gas platforms in the Mediterranean sea against possible sea-borne or rocket threats.
The Sa’ar 6-class has a displacement of 2,000 tons and is 90 m (300 ft) long.
It is armed with an Oto Melara 76 mm main gun, two Typhoon Weapon Stations, 32 vertical launch cells for Barak-8 surface-to-air missiles, the C-Dome point defense system, 16 anti-ship missiles, the EL/M-2248 MF-STAR AESA radar, and two 324 mm torpedo launchers.
It has hangar space and a platform able to accommodate a medium class SH-60-type helicopter.