Israel is preparing to welcome the first of four new SA’AR 6 corvettes from Germany after its delivery was delayed by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
INS Magen, as the first unit in the series will be called, had initially been expected to be delivered in early 2020; this is now scheduled to take place in early December.
The remaining three ships, all of which are under construction at the thyssenkrupp Marine Systems yard in Germany, will arrive over the next two years.
INS Magen was launched in May 2019 and started trials in March this year. Once it arrives in Israel, it will be fitted with locally-developed weapons. It will carry an Oto Melara 76 mm main gun, vertical launch cells for Barak-8 surface-to-air missiles, and anti-ship missiles. It will also feature torpedo launchers and a helipad and hangaring space for an embarked helicopter.
The design of the SA’AR 6 corvettes is based on the K130 corvettes that are being operated by the German Navy. Germany currently has five ships in service and five improved batch II ships on order.
Once they enter Israeli Navy service, the SA’AR 6 will be maintained by Israel Shipyards for an initial period of ten years.
SA’AR 6 corvettes will become flagships of the Israeli Navy fleet and will be in charge of protecting the country’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone and gas platforms in the Mediterranean Sea.