Hetz/Nirit Sa'ar 4.5
The first Hetz/Nirit class Sa'ar 4.5 missile craft was commissioned as the INS Hetz in 1991. By 2002, five additional Hetz class missile craft had been commissioned, including the INS Kidon, the INS Yaffo, the INS Tarshish, the INS Herev, and the INS Sufa.
The "Nirit" class missile boat was constructed as an improvement of the Sa'ar 4 class missile boat, and is the same length as the INS Noshav and the INS Chochit ships. Numerous changes were implemented in the ship's structure to better suit modern warfare tactics. The most significant change was the addition of a new masthead, capable of storing antenna and other sophisticated equipment. The INS Chatz was the first ship constructed based on the Nirit design, and was used as an experimental platform for modern weapons experiments- for the eventual use in the later constructed Nirit ships and the Sa'ar 5 class missile boats. The INS Kidon, INS Yaffo, INS Tarshish and INS Chorev ships were added to the Nirit fleet after undergoing intensive remodeling.
The Saar 4.5 represents the newest generation of small, fast-attack missile boats designed and built by ISRAEL SHIPYARDS LTD. (ISL) with flexibility to accept a full range of sensors and weapons. Its sophisticated systems, integrated by Elbit Systems Ltd., are highly reliable, easy to maintain and simple to operate. The semi-displacement hull form assures excellent seakeeping and enhanced crew comfort. The boat proved itself in the Mediterranean and Red Sea areas operated by the Israeli Navy as well as in Cape of Good Hope, South Pacific and Atlantic areas while serving in Foreign Navies.
Feature-packed with advanced capabilities and state-of-the-art equipment, the upgraded Saar 4.5 is a major step into the 21st. century, delivering superior performance in all combat scenarios. Developed by ISRAEL SHIPYARDS LTD. and Elbit Systems Ltd. in close cooperation with the Israeli Navy, the upgraded Saar 4.5 is ready for action, and fully capable of facing virtually any naval threats well into the future.
The Israeli Navy had eight large 430-ton (standard displacement) 62-meter missile boats of the Saar 4.5 project (type Hetz ), also built by Israel Shipyards and commissioned in 1981-2003 (three of these boats are radically modernized boats of the Saar 4 project of the previous Reshef type built in the 1970s). Israel Shipyards Ltd. on November 13, 2019 announced that it had signed an agreement with the Israeli Ministry of Defense to design a promising small corvette to replace the Saar 4.5 large missile boats in the Israeli Navy. The new corvette will be developed on the basis of the Saar 72 project, which is being promoted by Israel Shipyards for export, and will be called Reshef type .
The Hetz class missile craft is equipped with three types of missile systems: Barak, Harpoon, and Gabriel II. The Barak missile system was developed by Israeli Air Industries and Rafael, and has both anti-air and anti-surface capability. The Barak missile is vertically launched from two cells in the ship's bow and has a maximum range of 10 km.
The Harpoon missile system was developed by Boeing and serves as a long range surface to surface weapon. The Hetz class missile craft is equipped with two Harpoon missile batteries, each containing four launchers. The Harpoon has a maximum range of 130 km. The Gabriel II missile system is a short to medium range anti-ship weapon developed by Israeli Air Industries. The Gabriel II has a maximum range of 36 km and Hetz class ships carry six Gabriel II launchers. The Hetz class ship can be equipped with either an OTO Melara 3 76 mm main gun, or a Vulcan Phalanx Mk 15 25 mm CIWS weapon system.
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