Photo: Flash90

Israel unveils advanced warship

Israel’s multi-year plan to significantly bolster its defensive and offensive capabilities in order to protect its borders and bolster its strategic depth has notched a considerable milestone with the arrival of the navy’s newest and most advanced warship.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin highlighted the importance of the acquisition of the “INS Magen” (Hebrew for “Shield”) during a special ceremony as the German-made Sa’ar 6 Corvette vessel docked in the port of Haifa.

“The blessed discovery of the gas fields along Israel’s shores birthed the need to formulate a comprehensive plan to  provide them with protective cover,” he said, noting that the INS Magen is the first of four such ships due to be integrated into the IDF.

President Rivlin underscored the nation’s gratitude to “German President Frank Walter-Steinmeier and Chancellor Angela Merkel for their deep commitment for Israel’s security and for their personal involvement for substantiating our special strategic (bilateral) relations.”

During his address, IDF Chief of General Staff Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi reiterated military priorities to safeguard the country from unyielding foreign adversaries, saying, “The main goal which we set for ourselves, for the next several years aims to improve the IDF’s offensive power and the new vessel greatly contributes to this end.”

“The INS Six looks like a ship, and it’s called a ship, but it is much more than a ship,” stated the IDF Chief, explaining, “It is a mobile power base. A base of censors that have the capacity to identified enemy targets from significant distances; a base of defensive interceptors; a base of offensive capabilities and firepower. This ship, together with the vessels that will soon follow, will bolster the Navy, the cooperation between the various (military) branches, will magnify the IDF’s qualitative edge and will improve the security of our state’s borders and its assets.”

General Kochavi also emphasized the IDF’s relentless efforts to defend Israel – at a time of increased tensions. “Over the past year, thanks to exemplary soldiers and officers, qualitative intelligence, striving for contact (offensive doctrine) and advanced technologies, the IDF has halted and prevented attacks on all fronts: preventing (border) breaches, rocket fire, exposing tunnels, and thwarting more than a dozen terrorist attacks and smuggling operations in the naval arena. The IDF is operating in six arenas and against a multitude of enemies, much larger than six – thus, it fulfills its designation. Security for Israel. The IDF provides security for Israel,” he said.

Israel’s Naval Commander Rear Admiral Eliyahu Sharvit, for his part, highlighted the importance of the newest Israeli warship – as the maritime sector of Israel’s Mediterranean coastline faces an increase of new challenges that demand forward thinking.

“The maritime sector of our day changed its face to the point of derecognition. The maritime sector, which INS Magen faces, is fundamentally different from the maritime sector that characterized the days of our first destroyers and corvettes,” said Admiral Sharvit. He went on to say that “A different maritime sector from those we were familiar with. This is a sector where the threat originates from the land in the form of precision guided missiles and rockets. This is a sector in which the economic waters represent a signify a huge chunk of over 70% of the state of Israel’s produced electricity. This demands a defensive iron wall.”

It is important to highlight that while it is relatively small, the Israeli navy is highly advanced with numerous technological capacities, and frequently deployed on missions as far away as the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf.