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Israeli Navy uses Sa'ar 6-Class corvettes for first live combat against Hamas.

| 2023

On October 16, 2023, Israeli Navy engaged in combat operations targeting Hamas infrastructure and assets in the Gaza Strip, using its latest 'Sa'ar 6' class missile corvettes, the INS Oz and the INS Magen. This marks the first time these advanced warships have been used in live operations against Hamas.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 The IDF released footage showcasing the INS Oz corvette's Oto Melara 76 mm main gun in action, targeting locations in Gaza from the Mediterranean Sea. (Picture source: IDF MoD)

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) conducted multi-domain attacks on the Gaza Strip, utilizing sea, air, and land resources. For the first time, the IDF employed the Sa'ar 6-class corvette to strike a Hamas weapons manufacturing facility, as well as combat equipment, installations, and observation posts. The IDF released footage showcasing the ship's Oto Melara 76 mm main gun in action, targeting locations in Gaza from the Mediterranean Sea.

The Sa'ar 6-class corvette is a series of four German-made corvettes ordered for the Israeli Navy in May 2015. All four vessels were constructed in Germany in a joint project by German Naval Yards Holdings and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, which acts as General Contractor to build four corvettes of this class for the Israeli Navy. Three of them have become fully operational over the last six months.

Developed over the past two years, the 'Sa'ar 6 class ships have significantly enhanced the operational and offensive capabilities of the Israeli Navy. The missile corvettes are equipped with 18 advanced combat systems, considered among the most sophisticated in the world, offering precise firing capabilities. The Sa'ar 6 has a displacement of almost 1,900 tons at full load and is 90 m (295 ft 3 in) long.

The first ship in the Sa'ar 6-class corvette series, the INS Magen, was commissioned in May 2019. This class of ships is equipped with a formidable range of armaments. These include an Oto Melara 76 mm main gun, two Typhoon Weapon Stations, and an arsenal of 40 Barak 8 naval surface-to-air missiles designed to intercept and eliminate a variety of airborne threats such as anti-ship missiles, cruise missiles, combat aircraft, helicopters, and unmanned aerial systems (UAS). Additionally, the INS Oz and the INS Magen are armed with 16 anti-ship missiles (likely Gabriel 5), RGM-84 Harpoon, and RBS-15 Mk 3. The ships are also fitted with cutting-edge radar systems (EL/M-2248 MF-STAR AESA) and have the capacity to accommodate a medium-class SH-60-type helicopter.

The Barak LRAD Interceptors have vertical launch capabilities supporting 360° coverage, quick reactions, short minimal ranges, and an active high-end RF seeker for targets with low radar cross sections and high maneuverability.

The Sa'ar is powered by a combined diesel and diesel (CODAD) propulsion system that integrates two MTU diesel engines coupled with two controllable pitch propellers (CPPs). The ship can reach a top speed of 26 knots with a maximum cruising range of 2,500 nmi.

Originally, these warships were designed to conduct patrol operations within Israel's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to safeguard the country's gas reserves, shipping lanes, and other vital assets in the Mediterranean Sea.

One of their key missions was to defend natural gas drilling platforms in the Mediterranean from potential maritime or land-based threats. The Lebanese group Hezbollah claims that Israel's gas fields are located in Palestinian waters and has threatened to target Israeli gas platforms.

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