German shipbuilder thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) handed over the final two SA’AR 6 corvettes to the Israeli Navy in a ceremony in Kiel, Germany, on July 27.
The ships were officially named INS Atzmaut (Independence) and INS Nitzachon (Victory), in a small-scale ceremony attended by Israeli Navy commander-in-chief Vice Admiral Eliyahu Sharvit. Israeli Navy sailors thereafter manned the ships ahead of their journey home.
TKMS built the ships in a joint venture with German Naval Yards Kiel under a four-ship contract from May 2015.
“In the six years from the signing of the contract until today, we have developed a superior ship together. We have discussed a lot with each other, sometimes even argued. In the end, we, client and contractor, together built a better ship than originally planned,” TKMS managing director Dr Alexander Orellano commented.
INS Magen, the lead ship in the class, was handed over in November 2020 after starting construction in February 2018. The second ship, INS Oz, was handed over in May this year.
As the country’s most advanced ship yet, SA’AR 6 will be in charge of protecting Israel’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone and gas platforms in the Mediterranean Sea. Based on the German Navy K130 design, SA’AR 6 ships incorporate stealth design features and measure 90 meters in length. They will carry an Oto Melara 76 mm main gun, vertical launch cells for Barak-8 surface-to-air missiles, and anti-ship missiles. They will also have torpedo launchers and a helipad and hangaring space for an embarked helicopter.
The ships are handed over by Germany without radar and weapon systems. These are fitted after the vessels arrive in Israel.