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Navy Forum Israeli Navy discussion, submarines, frigates and Israeli naval forces + Navy's from other nations.

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  #1  
Old 02-11-2012, 02:53 AM
mcarling mcarling is offline
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Default Navy still looking to enlarge fleet

As a newbie here, I'm not allowed to post a link, but the Jerusalem Post reported on 27 December 2011 a story with the above title.

Fair use excerpt:
"Due to budgetary constraints, the Navy has scrapped plans to purchase two next-generation missile ships and is instead looking to increase its fleet with smaller vessels. ...

Instead, the Navy is now looking to order two new Sa’ar 4.5-class missile corvettes and to finance the deal by retiring two of its Sa’ar 4-class ships."

Replacing the last two remaining Sa'ar 4 class boats with two newly built Sa'ar 4.5 class boats might be wise as a low-cost short-term step. It is not indicated in the article whether the plan is to build them with the same weapons and sensors as the existing Sa'ar 4.5 class boats or with new weapons and sensors. Obviously, the latter would be more capable, more expensive, and would take more time. Either way, such a step merely buys a little bit of time to decide on a long-term fleet acquisition strategy.

Norman Friedman observed that navy ships have transitioned from being weight limited to being volume limited to being deck area limited. A trimaran of about 80 meters could carry a 76mm gun, 64 Barak-8 missiles, 8 Harpoon missiles, 2 CIWS, torpedo launchers, a helicopter hanger, MF-STAR radar, towed-array sonar, and ample space for carrying and launching small boats from the stern.

For example, something like Austal's proposed Multi-Role Vessel. (Again, as a newbie here, I'm not allowed to post a link, but you can find it with any search engine). Something a lot like the new US Independence class, but about half the displacement, would provide enough deck area to carry the weapons and sensors listed above.

In addition to helping to defend Israel, such warships would (even more than the Sa'ar 5 class) be capable of participating in the international effort to combat piracy in and near the Gulf of Aden. The international goodwill that would accrue to Israel for helping to protect international shipping against piracy would, in my opinion, be invaluable.

Whether a modern trimaran or an older single-hull design, Israel needs a long-term plan to replace the Sa'ar 4.5 and Sa'ar 5 classes.
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Old 02-11-2012, 03:35 PM
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David of Galilee David of Galilee is offline
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The Sa'ar 5 is already a corvette on steroids. Our navy wanted a somewhat larger vessel. The German Meko-Class is also a corvette. The navy has heavy multi-use demands for any future vessels, as it has had with the Sa'ar 5. But times they are a-changing. Israel is a tiny nation, and while wealthy for its size, just too small to float the navy it would like.

The sub fleet will probably stabilise for some time at 6 Dolphin/U212-Class. Good move, but not cheap. Big bang for the shaq (buck), though.

There is a reluctance to look at full frigate-sized vessels, though a stretch-corvette is getting close to being a frigate, which is a genuine blue-water asset. Israel needs to load any new purchases with home-made electronic hi-tech, and be armed for both offensive and defensive capability--ideally to be at least somewhat independent of air force cover.

I'd have happy to see a couple of Israeli-customized Royal Navy Daring-Class destroyers (or something similar), but this won't happen. We need survivability, and having, say, six multi-role corvette/frigate-sized allows us to lose one or two and hang on, whereas two destroyers puts too many eggs in one basket. The destroyer Eilat fiasco still suggests that a lot of smaller vessels armed to the teeth is better than a few big vessels.

Really, money is an ultra-critical part of this decision-making process. In a sense, the big issue is how to make the second- or third-best choice, because we can't afford the ideal first-choice.

I'd like to see 9 subs minimum (not 6), and three new corvettes, maybe full frigates. And a firm basing partnership on Cyprus, as the air force is now discussing for IAF aircraft.

Aluf Rothberg and Bibi have their work cut out for them on prioritizing navy purchases.

Last edited by David of Galilee; 02-11-2012 at 03:37 PM..
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Old 02-11-2012, 04:23 PM
mcarling mcarling is offline
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I agree that nine (or even twelve) Dolphin class submarines would be better than six. Submarines provide two kinds of value to Israel: control of the seas in wartime and deterrence. However, twelve submarines cost twice as much as six submarines but provide far less than twice the value. As expensive as the Dolphins are, I don't see how to justify more than about six. I would like to see Air Independent Propulsion added to the second and third Dolphins when they have their major overhauls.

Israel has no need for anything like a Daring class destroyer. Britain needs to be able to defend the Falklands and engage in other operations far from home with no expectation of air cover. Israel doesn't need such range or endurance.

The approach I take is to start with the weapons and sensors that are needed, then decide on speed, range, and endurance. Once these are known, look at what sort of ship meets the needs. I think the list of weapons and sensors in my first post in this thread makes sense for a future Israeli corvette. 5000nm range and 40 days' endurance should suffice. Given that, a 1000-1200 tonne trimaran of about 80 meters would be the most capable and cost-effective platform.
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Old 02-11-2012, 08:31 PM
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The trimaran platform is intriguing. Navy guys are always excited about the latest in proven electronics, but often inherently conservative about basic ship design. Stealth is now a conservative standard, but how is the trimaran on that?

If we were a bit bigger bigger, I might argue for a modern, stealthy destoyer. But ok, as said, more smaller boats. The navy does operate far afield in fact, but there the subs tell the tale. Even some amazing stories from the old Gal-Class sub days, though who kows what is just tales.

Regardless of the choice, good air defense autonomy would allow a presence further afield, though the F-16i has a very long effective range. The Sa'ar 5 already has a nearly 7000Km range, but is not an ideal blue water vessel. Even if we had one based in Eilat, going down the Red Sea and around Arabia running a gauntlet of enemy states ina narrow waterway in time of war is daunting.

Well, probably the best we can hope for is effective use of the subs, and a good decision on the two additional surface vessels. But they won't be here for any near-off Iran strike, nor will the new subs (unless they have been, or soon at least one will be, handed over very quietly).

So are there any good examples of naval trimarans in service anywhere you have in mind? A smaller version of the USN Independence littoral craft? Any good Aussie ideas floating aroound--they have built some great trimarans.
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Old 02-11-2012, 09:11 PM
mcarling mcarling is offline
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The only trimaran combat ships now in service are the US Independence class. They are extremely fast, have great fuel economy, leave just about zero bow wake, are otherwise stealthy (depending on materials, geometry, etc.), and are able to operate in higher sea states than single-hull vessels. A trimaran should be able to operate in any likely sea state in the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, or western Indian Ocean.

Yes, the Australian firm Austal who build the Independence class have a smaller design they call Multi-Role Vessel which, in my opinion, is about the right size for Israel's needs. I'm not allowed to link to it, but I'm sure you can find it. It's about the same displacement as the Sa'ar 5, but with nearly twice the deck area. The increased deck area would allow it to carry a lot more weapons.

With good air defense capabilities, I don't see a problem with operating out of Eilat. The Elbit MF-STAR radar, 64 Barak-8 missiles, and 2 CIWS (Phalanx or Sea-RAM or one of each) should suffice.

If Israel needed to protect shipping or territory in the Pacific Ocean, then something the size of the Daring class destroyer would make sense. I can't think of any reason why an Israeli naval vessel in service would ever pass west of Gibralter, south of Madagascar, or east of India.
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Old 02-12-2012, 04:24 PM
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In any ordinry sense, you are absolutely correct. Israel's biggest problem remains being a very small nation with very large-nation defense needs. The hatred againt Israel means that defense has to be assessed in a manner unique. Not like the US or UK. The next war will have some major predictable elements, but the ante seems to be upping, and the conflicts likely after the next war will challenge the navy hugely. Our "allies" also provide major armaments and training to our enemies. Our once-steady pseudo-peace partners like Egypt, and our enemy Saudi Arabia, will probably come into play again in the senior active planning category.

What would be the role of the navy in a multi-front war with major land armies, armour with air cover, at least a few modern diesel-electrics roaming nearby, and enemy satellite? Patrol boats and missile boats would do what? The navy has been great in small operations, covert ops, support, etc. but in a major war such a tiny force needs to be well-used to make a lasting difference in the outcome. Our navy can certainly punch above its weight, but what is the best array of vessels and capabilities of a navy so that it can sustain a big role in a major war, and over periods longer than a week or two?

I live next to the Port of Haifa, and it is a vulnerable area with the major civilian port, navy base, chemical works, and oil refineries all too close together. How will little boats that have survived a major attack on the home port survive, versus bigger vessels?
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:17 PM
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I think you're asking what would the role of the Israeli Navy be in the next major war i.e. the next time Israel's enemies decide it's time to "drive all the Jews into the sea" like they tried to do in 1948, 1967, and 1973.

Ideally, the Israeli Navy would be able to deny use of the seas and the airspace above the seas to any enemies. Further, to have the freedom of the seas to land commandoes behind enemy lines. Ultimately, to destroy enemy naval forces in port and to provide artillery support to the Israeli Army.

To do that, Israeli corvettes need to be able to defend themselves and the area around them against air, missile, surface, and submarine threats. Patrol boats simply cannot carry the array of weapons and sensors needed to defend against the full range of threats. A trimaran of about 1200 tonnes or a single-hull corvette of about 2000 tonnes are about the smallest vessels with enough deck area to carry all the weapons and sensors needed to effectively do the job with satisfactory speed, range, endurance, and survivability.

Maintaining control of the airspace over and near the eastern Mediterranean and the Red Sea would help out the Israeli Air Force a lot.

Any surface vessel which can meet Israel's wartime needs would also be very well suited to peace-time deployment in anti-piracy operations in and near the Gulf of Aden. Freeing other countries' hostages from Somali pirates would provide Israel with much-needed goodwill in the international community.
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