Flag of IsraelFlag of IsraelIsrael has signed a contract with German ship maker ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems to purchase four patrol corvette type vessels to help protect natural gas fields in the Mediterranean.
Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon and his German counterpart Ursula von der Leyen signed the deal on Monday during Von der Leyen's recent visit to Israel to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Israeli radio reported.
The total cost of the vessels is reported to amount to NIS1.8 billion ($480 million), of which the Berlin government will finance about a third.
Israel's Yedioth Aharonoth newspaper reported that "each ship will weigh about 2,000 tonnes, and will be capable of carrying advanced combat systems that will enable operations from a distance of hundreds of kilometres from Israel's coasts and will include missile tracking systems."
The paper pointed out that "the new ships will arrive 'bare', and will be installed with a combat system developed by the defence industry in a process that will take a year."
According to the paper, despite "the major impact Israel's Leviathan and Tamar natural gas fields have on Israel's economy, they also created a security challenge for the Navy, whose troops secure the fields that have become strategic targets."
The construction of the ships will take two to four years where the first ship will be delivered in five years, and the remaining three will be delivered a year apart.