The most advanced warships of the Israeli Navy participated in the war. The IDF revealed on Monday that Saar 6 class corvettes were used to attack Gaza.
This is the first time the Israeli Navy’s most advanced warships have participated in a war. “The stealth missile ship Sa’ar 6 is present on the battlefield,” said representative of the Israeli Navy – Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari. Attacks from the Oz and Magan Saar 6 ships struck Hamas infrastructure for assembling weapons as well as positions and lookout posts for the Hamas naval commandos.
The type of weapon used and the target of the attack were not disclosed, but Israeli sources noted that “various weapons systems were used to attack targets in the Gaza Strip”. International military experts believe that the Sa’ar 6 used a special version of the Gabriel V anti-ship cruise missile to attack ground targets.
For the last two years, the Saar 6 vessels have undergone extensive operational tests to have arrived at this moment. In April, Israel announced that the Saar 6 missile boat’s highly advanced radar systems were used successfully in March 2021 to help track an Iranian attack drone and to facilitate assigning a specific F-35 aircraft to shoot down the incoming drone.
It is worth recalling that in May 2015, the Israeli Navy signed a contract with German Naval Yards Holdings and Thyssen Krupp Marine Systems of Germany to build four new Sa’ar 6 missile corvettes based on the basic Braunschweig-class design with a more powerful weapon configuration. The entire hull and propulsion system will be completed by the German shipyard, then will be handed over to Israel for the installation of electronic systems and weapons.
Saar 6′ full load displacement is more than 2,000 tons, enough for the Israeli Navy to install its wide range of weapons and advanced electronics. These corvettes will be primarily responsible for protecting the Israeli rig off the Mediterranean Sea from missile attacks, so anti-missile capability is central to the design of this warship class.
The Saar 6’s bridge integrates IAI’s EL/M-2248 MF-STAR four-sided active phased array radar, which can scan 360° in all directions; can simultaneously detect, identify and locate hundreds of incoming targets. The range of the radar for high altitude fighter size aircraft is more than 300 km and with sea skimming missiles is 25 km.
In terms of weapons, the ship is equipped with two types of surface-to-air missiles, including Barak 8 medium-range surface-to-air missiles mounted in a vertical launch system at the bow, which can intercept air targets within 100 km. The second is a naval version of the Iron Dome missile defense system, installed in a vertical launch system, on either side of the middle compartment, able to intercept and destroy low-flying targets, including aircraft, anti-ship missiles, and rockets.
Saar 6 is equipped with 4 anti-ship missile launchers, each including 4 Gabriel sea skimming anti-ship missiles. Gabriel is equipped with an advanced active radar seeker and two-way data link. The missile can be used in a busy coastal environment with a range of up to 400 km, giving it a clear advantage over similar missiles from Israel’s neighbors. Other weapons of the Sa’ar 6 include a 76mm naval gun, two remote-controlled Typhoon 25mm cannons; 2 x 324mm torpedo tubes capable of launching Mk 54 light anti-submarine torpedoes.
Looking at the design of this class of corvettes, it can be seen that it is equipped with too many weapons compared to the capacity of a 2,000-ton warship. Not only the active phased array radar, but also 72 anti-aircraft missiles and 20 anti-ship missiles, main gun, auxiliary weapons, torpedoes, jamming ammunition and even helicopters. Her firepower even surpassed other countries’ 4,000-5,000 ton frigates, roughly equivalent to guided missile destroyers.
Thanks to the very small size, the stealth performance is better. Saar 6 has stronger stealth than Saar 5 class. The hull design is simple and impressive, the missile systems are hidden inside the hull, which enhances her stealth. Saar 6 not only undertakes anti-missile duties, protects the safety of Israel’s oil and gas fields, but also undertakes coastal patrol, anti-terrorism and anti-smuggling missions.
The Saar 6 corvette will also be connected to Israel’s land-based domestic air defense network and become part of Israel’s maritime air defense system. In recent years, the situation in the Middle East is constantly changing, which also places higher demands on the sea combat capabilities of the Saar 6 class.
The propulsion system of the Saar 6 class includes two MTU 20V 1163 TB 93 diesel engines with a capacity of 9,920 horsepower, giving the ship a maximum speed of 35 knots, a range of more than 4,000 km. However, because its weapons take up too much space, it is not capable of continuous combat and can only operate at sea continuously for 10 days.