INS Magen began sea trials in March 2020. Credit: Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems.
The hull and superstructures of the ships are being built at TKMS’ shipbuilding facility in Germany.
Israel Shipyards’ floating dock will provide flexible operative mobility during installation. Credit: Israel Shipyards.

The Sa’ar 6-class of corvettes includes a series of four new warships being built by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) for the Israeli Navy.

Based on the German MEKO 100 patrol corvette, the Saar-6-class is designed to offer enhanced attack capabilities compared to its predecessor Sa’ar 5 class.

The warships will be used to conduct patrol duties in Israel’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to protect the country’s gas reserves, shipping lanes and other strategic assets in the Mediterranean.

Sa’ar 6-class development

The Israeli Ministry of Defence placed an order with TKMS for four new patrol vessels in January 2015 and the order was finalised in May 2015.

The cost of construction is estimated at $480m, of which two-thirds will be paid by Israel and the German Government will subsidise the remaining amount with the Dolphin-class submarines.

The steel-cutting ceremony of the first ship was held in February 2018. The hull and superstructures of the ships will be built at TKMS’ shipbuilding facility in Kiel, Germany, while the outfitting of combat systems, sensors and other subsystems will be performed in Israel.

The four corvettes were christened INS Magen, INS Oz, INS Independence and INS Victory in April 2018.

The initial sea trials of INS Magen began in March 2020. The vessels are expected to be commissioned by the Israeli Navy between 2020 and 2022. In November 2019, Israel Shipyards received a contract from Israel’s Ministry of Defence and Navy for a floating dock with a ten years’ service agreement for maintenance and repair of Sa’ar 6-class corvettes and submarines.

Sa’ar 6-class corvettes design

The hull form of the Sa’ar 6-class warships is designed to reduce the ship’s radar cross-section and infrared signatures.

"Based on the German MEKO 100 patrol corvette, the Saar-6-class is designed to offer enhanced attack capabilities compared to its predecessor Sa’ar 5 class."

The corvette will have an overall length of 90m, a maximum beam of 13.2m and a height of 21.5m. The displacement of each corvette will be approximately 2,000t.

The ship will be operated from an integrated bridge system, which will be installed next to the bow section. It can accommodate up to 70 crew members.

The hangar and helicopter deck at the stern can be used to accommodate a medium multi-mission maritime helicopter such as SH-60 Seahawk.

Armament of Sa’ar 6-class corvettes

The Sa’ar 6-class corvettes will be armed with a range of weaponry, including anti-air and anti-ship missiles, as well as machine guns.

Each ship will carry 40 Barak 8 naval surface-to-air missiles amidships to intercept and destroy all types of airborne threats such as anti-ship missiles, cruise missiles, combat aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

Up to two C-Dome naval point defence systems will be installed on the bow deck of each ship to defeat short-range rockets and artillery shells. The forward bow section will also be fitted with an Oto Melara 76mm Super Rapid gun mount, which offers a high rate of fire against air and surface targets.

The ships will also be fitted with 16 anti-ship missiles such as Gabriel, RGM-84 Harpoon and RBS-15 Mk 3 to attack enemy ships and boats.

The armament will also include two torpedo launchers for MK54 Lightweight Torpedo and two 30mm Rafael Typhoon remote weapon stations. Israel Shipyards’ floating dock will be used for the operational mobility and installation of all-Israeli combat systems on the incoming Sa’ar 6 vessels.

Sensors on board Sa’ar 6-class corvettes

The ELM-2248 Multi-Function Surveillance, Track And Guidance Radar (MF-STAR) multi-function active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar on board the Saar-6-class corvettes will track enemy targets under severe environmental / jamming conditions with a 360° coverage.

Located above the integrated bridge, the radar will have four active arrays operating in S-Band frequency.

The Israeli Navy’s future corvettes will also incorporate electronic warfare systems, cyber defence systems, navigation systems, radio frequency systems, command and control centres, and communication gear.

The optical sensors and communication systems are mounted on the integrated mast module installed on top of the AESA radar.

Sa’ar 6-class corvettes propulsion and performance

Powered by a combined diesel and diesel (CODAD) propulsion system, the Saar-6-class corvettes will remain afloat at sea for a long duration.

The CODAD propulsion system integrates two MTU diesel engines coupled with two controllable pitch propellers (CPPs).

The corvettes will have a maximum speed of approximately 26k and will be able to reach a maximum distance of 2,500mi.