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Saar 6 Corvette - Background

By the turn of the century the Israeli Navy was in the market for an advanced missile boat one with a 1,300 ton displacement, similar to the largest vessel currently in Israeli service. The Saar 5 is manufactured by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Company in Pascagoula, Mississippi. The Navy had announced plans to procure Lockheed Martins LCS (Littoral Combat Ship) with a 2,000 ton displacement. But the negotiations came to an end after the company restructured the project and the price per ship dramatically increased. The Israeli Navy then considered building a similar-sized vessel based on the German MEKO A-100 corvette in Israeli shipyards, but this idea also came to nothing.

Meko A-100 multimission corvette

By late 2009 Israel wanted to acquire two corvettes that would permit missions beyond the Mediterranean and extend its fleet air defense capabilities. The navy was interested in the Meko A-100 multimission corvette, built by Blohm and Voss of Thyssen-Krupp Marine Systems (TKMS) Group. The Meko costs around $300 million but Israel wants the German government to underwrite the sale. The latest stealth version known as the Meko CSL could outperform the current Eilat class to meet Israeli requirements for versatility, sensors and deck space.

The MEKO CSL Corvette is a further development of the successful MEKO and VISBY Classes. Because of its high degree of modularity it is tactically flexible and can be adapted within a very short time to a wide range of mission requirements in terms of functionality and combat capability. The delta-shaped hull enhances the speed/performance ratio and provides more space astern. It makes the ship suitablefor coastal and blu-water deployments. The Meko CSL is 108 meters (354 ft.) long, with a beam of 21 meters and full-load displacement of 2,750 metric tons. Propulsion is by a combined diesel-and-gas/water-jet system that reaches 40 kt. Cruising range at 15 kt. is 3,500 nm., and endurance is 21 days. The vessel can put to sea with a crew of 75.

The initial plan was to have the order subcontracted to Haifa shipyards with Israel's aero industry and Navy installing the weapons systems and electronics. But in view of the spiraling tensions with Iran, Israel's high command decided to set about strengthening the country's marine defenses in the shortest time possible.

Israel's ministry of military affairs announced 10 May 2015 that it had reached a deal with a major shipbuilding company in Germany to buy four warships worth 430 million euros (USD 480 million), of which around 115 million euros will be paid by the German federal government. They will be equipped with Israeli-made combat systems, enabling the country's defense companies to receive new orders.

Berlin, which calls its donations and aid to Israel part of the so-called atonement for the Nazi Holocaust, has often funded Israel's military in the past by providing the regime with modern, expensive military equipment, including submarines. The boats are to be produced in the German city of Kiel, near Hamburg, where Dolphin submarines in service in the Israeli Navy were produced.

The four new warships, which could seriously improve the Israeli navy's firepower, will be built by Thyssen Krupp and are planned to be delivered within the next five years. The deal with the German company is a major economic breakthrough. Under the deal, Thyssen Krupp would also be committed to buy 700 million shekels ($181 million) worth of Israeli goods.

The corvettes will secure Israel's Exclusive Economic Zone in the Mediterranean. They will be used in conjunction with other vessels, including naval unmanned surface vehicles, intelligence drones and other weaponry and military equipment. The new warships will boost Israel's capabilities in policing off-shore gas rigs.

Israel controls huge gas fields in an area of 23,000 square kilometers in the Mediterranean and says that it needs modern military equipment to guard the rigs against any possible missile attack by resistance groups like Lebanon's Hezbollah and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The energy sites located dozens and hundreds of kilometers off the coast in the sea will receive proper protection as a result of the deal.

Successive German governments have provided Israel with various weapons, but the current government of Chancellor Angela Merkel has seemingly intensified the controversial support with its main pretext for the recent deal being the 50th anniversary of establishing relations with Israel.


(tons)
DDG F100 F310 AFCON
Displacement
(tons)
  9,217   5,800   5,120   2,600
Length
Overall
(m/feet)
  155.5/510   146.7/481.3   133.2/437.0   102/334.6
Beam Max
(m/feet)
  20.4/67   18.6/61   16.8/55.1   13.9/45.6
Draft Full Load
(m/feet)
  6.4/21   4.84/15.9   5.0/16.4   3.75/12.3
Crew   380   229+21   120+26   60+20
Propulsion   4 Gas
  Turbines
  CODOG,
  2 Diesels,
  2 Gas Turbines
  CODAG,
  2 Diesels,
  1 Gas Turbines
  CODAD
  4 Diesels
Shafts   2   2   2   2
Electric   3 GT
  Generators
  4 Diesel
  Generators
  4 Diesel
  Generators
  4 Diesel
  Generators
Flight Deck   2 Helo
  Hangar
  1 Helo
  Hangar
  1 Helo
  Hangar
  1 Helo
  Hangar
Speed   30+ kts   28.5+ kts   27+ kts   27+ kts
Other      Active Fin
  Stabilizer
  Active Fin
  Stabilizer 
  Active Fin
  Stabilizer 
 
AFCON
 


Advanced Frigate Consortium AFCON

The AFCON Corvette is an affordable, high-performance surface combatant solution tailored to meet the littoral needs of navies around the world. The AFCON Corvette has been designed with advanced features in mind, including a SPY-1K phased array radar, a hull mounted sonar system, a 76 mm Gun, a four-cell MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) and an Aegis-based Combat System. The AFCON Corvette design addresses the following Warfare Areas:

  • AAW- Anti-Air Warfare
  • ASW- Anti-Submarine Warfare
  • ASuW-Anti-Surface Warfare

Three worldwide industry leaders joined forces to create the Advanced Frigate Consortium, or AFCON. This alliance, which builds upon the relationship established during the Spanish Navy's F-100 and Norwegian New Frigate programs, was formed to provide international navies with state of the art frigates and corvettes at affordable prices. IZAR, the Spanish Navy's prominent shipyard, and Bath Iron Works (BIW) - a General Dynamics Company and the United States Navy's premier surface combatant shipyard, teamed with Lockheed Martin Naval & Electronic Surveillance Systems (LM NE&SS), a world leader in the design and manufacture of advanced combat systems, to form AFCON.

The AFCON consortium was formed to custom design a corvette for the Israel Navy. They were seeking to sell Israel two of these AEGIS corvettes with options to purchase a third, fourth or fifth. Industry sources said that the Navy wanted four, but the Ministry of Defense would only speak of two. Estimated cost would be about $500 million each.

In 2003 AFCON said they could be ready to "cut steel" already in October 2004 with the first vessel being delivered in 2009. Competition was expected to come from a consortium made up of Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Ingalls shipyards and Elta Systems Ltd., a subsidiary of Israel Aircraft Industries. The original builders of the Sa'ar 5, they are believed to be proposing a stretched version of that ship. AFCON officials say a feasibility study showed that inserting a "plug" to house the missile launchers and added weight of the AEGIS radar would make the Sa'ar 5 unstable.

For Israel, the AFCON vessel was designed to hold MK-41 vertical missile launchers with 32 cells capable of holding cruise missiles. It is also armed with torpedo tubes, anti-ship Harpoon missiles (16 cells) and Barak rockets (32 cells) capable of shooting down incoming anti-ship missiles. It will also have other defenses such as chaff and towed decoys. Its bow was designed to hold a Vulcan Phlanx Gun, but that is expected to be replaced with an unnamed system. The ships radar, aided by a large SH-60 helicopter launched off its back heliport, as well as drones, will also help it hunt submarines, surface ships and other targets.

In addition, the AFCON Team looked forward to the opportunity to work with Customers to develop tailored solutions, customized to meet customers' mission requirements.

Lockheed Martin's Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)

On July 15, 2008 the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Israel of Littoral Combat Ships as well as associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $1.9 billion. The Government of the Israel requested a possible sale of up to 4 Littoral Combat Ships (LCS-I variant): Hull, and all mechanical and electrical functions. Each ship will be equipped with: 2 MK-41 Vertical Launch Systems, 8 cells for each system; 1 Close-In-Weapon System, Block 1A, 1 Enhanced HARPOON Launching System with launchers; 2 MK-32 Surface Vessel Torpedo Tubes; Communications and Sensors; Link 16; COMBATSS-21 with SPY-1F(V) and MK-99 Fire Control System; or Ship Self-Defense System. Also includes design and integration services, hardware and software, spare and repair parts, test and tool sets, personnel training and equipment, publications, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics personnel services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $1.9 billion.

Israel's strategic position made it vital to the United States' interests throughout the Middle East. It was the policy of the United States to promote Middle East peace, support Israel's commitment to peace with other regional Arab countries, enhance regional stability and promote Israeli readiness and self-sufficiency. It is vital to the U.S. national interest to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability. This proposed sale was consistent with those objectives.

The navy evaluated a purchase of a variant of Lockheed Martin's Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), but decided the $460 to $600 million vessel was too costly.




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Page last modified: 09-11-2020 18:41:44 ZULU