Israeli Navy’s new Sa’ar 6 corvettes enter combat against Hamas

By Arie Egozi

IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari confirmed that the Israeli Navy's new Sa'ar 6 corvettes attacked for the first time since they became operational. The IDF has not identified the types of weapon systems used, but sources said that the corvette can be equipped with some types of rockets that are launched from a special container and also with loitering weapon systems. Israeli sources told Defence Industry Europe that the corvettes used different types of weapon systems to hit targets in Gaza. The new corvettes became fully operational recently.

 

Three of the four Sa’ar 6 type missile ships that were built in Germany have recently completed their main operational assimilation process, which included the installation of all 20 combat systems – most of them Israeli-made – while the fourth ship will complete the process in the coming months.

The Israeli navy has added more advanced systems to enhance the capability of its new Sa’ar 6 corvettes to perform more versatile missions in the Mediterranean and in other seas and oceans.

The Sa’ar 6 corvettes carry a combined air defense system, comprised of the Barak-8 and the C-Dome. The navy says that the use of both systems will be defined by the threat. “In some scenarios, both interceptors will be launched,” an Israeli source said.

The Sa’ar 6 corvettes are mainly designed to protect the Israel EEZ that includes the huge gas reservoirs in the Mediterranean. These are very high in the target bank of the Hezbollah in Lebanon.

 

Defence

 

The Barak-8 is made by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). According to the company, the Barak 8 provides the ultimate protection against a variety of aerial platforms and munitions including aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aircraft, and sea-skimming missiles. It is based on a sophisticated missile (developed in collaboration with Rafael), state-of-the-art phased-array multi-mission radar, a two-way data link, and flexible command and control system. The system’s radar, manufactured by ELTA Systems, an IAI group and subsidiary, is a multi-mission radar supporting air defense missions. It delivers an accurate, high-quality, real-time arena situation picture and extracts low Radar Cross Section (RCS) targets even in the toughest environmental conditions. It is a digital Active Electronic Steering Array (AESA) Radar System that incorporates new and advanced technologies. Barak 8 can operate day and night, in all weather conditions, and successfully deals with simultaneous threat engagements, even in severe saturation scenarios. The system has a very short reaction time and a fast missile vertical launch capability with 360-degree coverage. The system optimizes the coordination between the missile and batteries by using an advanced broadband communication network. The missile deals with short, medium, and long-range threats, where its interconnectivity among the various ships in the naval task force enables it to be a multi-layer air and missile defense System of Systems. A source said that a typical ship installation includes 4 vertical launchers, each carrying 8 missiles. The Barak-8 has an effective range of 43 miles. IAI is developing an extended-range version. This one will have an add-on booster and it will give the missile a 93-mile range.

 

Defence

 

The C-Dome Naval defense system is made by Rafael and is based on the Iron Dome and designed to effectively protect combat vessels against a large set of modern threats. C-Dome handles saturation attacks by engaging multiple targets simultaneously. Reaction time, according to Rafael, is very short and enables automatic and semi-automatic engagements. C-Dome components include a multi-round launcher assembly loaded with vertically-launched canistered interceptors. The launcher is installed under the ship’s deck. C-Dome utilizes the ship’s own surveillance radar and does not require a dedicated Fire Control Radar. Weapon System Command and Control is seamlessly integrated with the ship’s combat management system, facilitating system operation. Rafael emphasizes that C-Dome uses the combat-proven Iron Dome interceptor that has already achieved more than 1500 successful intercepts. Rafael says that the Interceptors are maintenance-free and are stored in a sea-proof canister. Up to 8 interceptors can be loaded into a modular Vertical Launcher Unit.

 

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The mix of systems that has been installed is classified, but it can be said that these systems will enable the Sa’ar 6 to operate jointly with the new Dolphin – acquired by the Israeli Navy and with different aerial platforms like the Sea Hawk helicopters that the new missile ships will carry and some unmanned aerial systems.

 

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