For the first time in 15 years, the Defense Ministry agreed to purchase four new ships for the Israeli Navy from a domestic shipyard on Wednesday in a NIS 100 million ($30.6 million) deal.
The 32.5-meter (106.6-foot) Shaldag 5-class ships will take part in patrol operations along the Israeli coast and will be outfitted with a variety of offensive and defensive capabilities, the Defense Ministry said.
A ministry spokesperson said the ships were due to be delivered in stages over the next four years.
The deal, which was announced on Wednesday following months of deliberation by the navy, marked the first purchase of new naval vessels from a domestic firm — Israel Shipyards Ltd. — in some 15 years. The other ships purchased during this period were all made by foreign companies, most recently Germany’s Thyssenkrupp, which is building four large Sa’ar 6-class missile ships for the navy.
“I applaud this agreement which has both security and societal importance. The Shaldag ships will allow the Israeli Navy to upgrade its capabilities, which are developing on the battlefield, as we saw clearly during Operation Guardian of the Walls,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Wednesday, referring to May’s 11-day Gaza conflict.
“The purchase of Israeli-made ships demonstrates the strengthening of Israel’s defense industries,” he added.
The 95-ton patrol ships have a top speed of 40 knots and will “give the navy the ability to respond to the threats developing on the naval front in the coming years,” the Defense Ministry said.
The chairman of Israel Shipyards, Sami Katzav, hailed the deal, saying the purchase signified a vote of confidence in its abilities.
“We are proud to serve the navy and the State of Israel’s Defense Ministry. This significant order represents a seal of approval for the quality and professionalism of the company as a provider of advanced naval vessels to countries and security forces around the world,” Katzav said.