The head of Israel’s navy has announced the names of the four Sa’ar-6 ships set to arrive in Israel from Germany over the next coming years.

On Sunday, Navy commander Maj.-Gen. Eli Sharvit announced that the four ships would be named Magen, Oz, Atzma’ut and Nitzachon.

The decision on the names was determined by a forum led by the navy, headed by Sharvit.

“As is customary in the navy, some of the ships received the names of vessels that had served in the navy in the past, as part of the preservation of the naval heritage,” read a statement by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.

Israel is highly dependent on the sea with over 90% of Israel’s imports arriving via boat, and while the country’s navy is relatively small compared to other IDF corps, it has a significant amount of territory to protect since the expansion of the country’s exclusive economic zone from 40 miles to 150 miles from shore several years ago.

While there is no hermetic protection on the sea, due to the threat posed by Hezbollah’s arsenal of Grad rockets and other longer-range projectiles, the navy has upgraded its weapons and defensive systems on its entire combat fleet.

“You can how see the ships are taking shape these day,” Sharvit said. “The arrival of the ships is expected to significantly change the face of the navy and the Flotilla 13 in particular.”

“The navy will employ tools with new capabilities that we do not possess today with excellent and precise defense and attack capabilities for their mission, headed by the defense of the strategic assets of the State of Israel at sea,” he said.

The construction of the four Sa’ar-6 class warships was agreed to in a €430 million deal between Israel and the German company ThyssenKrupp in 2015.

The first ship is expected to arrive at the end of 2019, and the last by 2021.

Existing Sa’ar-5 and Sa’ar-4.5 ships are being upgraded with the integration of new radars and electronic warfare systems, Israel is set to receive new Dolphin-class submarines and new Sa’ar-6 corvettes in the coming years and are set to be operational by 2021. The Sa’ar-6 will have a crew of 70 sailors, a range of 2500 miles, and advanced capabilities able to deal with a wide range of threats, including Iron Dome short-range defense missile launchers and Barak-8 long-range surface-to-air missile naval defense system.

They are set to defend Israel’s offshore natural gas reserves as well as other strategic maritime assets.

“The bread and butter of the Sa’ar-6 are its defense and offensive capabilities,” a senior officer said in February. “I wish we could have this ship on our waters right now.”



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