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Naval forces of Israel: current status and prospects of development
Material posted: Publication date: 14-11-2019

The middle East is one of the "hottest regions" of the world, and the state of Israel is one of the main centres of tension in the region and Willy-nilly involved in varying degrees in most regional military conflicts. This forces Israel since its emergence continuously improve the quality of their military force structures and their technical equipment. Currently, the military-political leadership of the country is improving its armed forces to ensure national security and the solving of the tasks in case of military conflict.

IDF or Israel Defense forces (IDF) can rightfully be called the exemplary model of the modern army, where efficiency is measured not by the number of personnel and level of training and high level of organization of planned activities and resource mobilization at wartime. And this is facilitated by a number of important points:

  1. The IDF is the main instrument of security of the Israeli State. In modern history of the country the Israeli army had to be a party to six major wars, and every time the Israeli armed forces proved their high combat skills and excellence.
  2. The actions of the armed forces, strategic planning and mobilization of resources is directed to conduct offensive operations. In other words, the Israeli army adheres to offensive tactics, acting within the framework of strategic defence. The reason the military-political leadership of the country elected this strategy, due to the fact that a small area with a complex configuration. The geographical location of Israel does not have the capacity for managing the strategic defence on all depth. [1]

The Israel defense forces (Hebrew. צבא הגנה לישראל ) or abbreviated IDF (Hebrew. צה"ל is one of the most advanced and high-tech armies in the world, as well as the most battle-hardened from the moment of its occurrence. And the state of Israel is a center of world and middle Eastern politics, as the geographical position of Israel, combined with its military capabilities allow you to fully demonstrate its military superiority in the region. The Israeli Navy, being the smallest of the Armed Forces, however, plays an important role in the structure of the army as they are assigned tasks such as protection of coasts of sea communications in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Red sea, as well as the maintenance of constant combat readiness in order to successfully repel a possible military attack by the Arab countries and daily patrols the coast to protect from looters and terrorists.
History and main tasks for today. Although the birthday of the Israeli Navy is considered 17 March 1948, when the order of the commander of the defense Army was established the marine part of the future of the IDF, the history of the Israeli Navy began much earlier. The Zionist military organization for the illegal transport of immigrants to Palestine by sea were required to its fleet. Because back in the 30s have been established the training of Jewish sailors. The need for the creation and development of Jewish naval forces was formulated in January 1948. While the Jewish community faced with the threat of the Arab countries. March 17, 1948, he was ordered to create a naval unit under the command of marine captain Gershon Zack. Among his first recruits were sailors, fishermen, port workers, inhabitants of the coastal areas, the volunteers of the British Navy [2].

At the present stage the main tasks of the Israeli Navy are: protection and defense of the coast of Israel and its Maritime communications, the conduct of hostilities against the Navy of the enemy, a violation of his communications and the blockade of the coast, support ground operations of the IDF, the landing of the airborne divisions and the reconnaissance and sabotage groups [3].

The preparation and completion of these tasks directs the Commander of Cheil ha-Yam in the rank of major General (Aluf), reporting to the chief of the General staff. He is also responsible for a state of combat readiness of the Navy in time of peace, their acquisition, development and logistical support. The headquarters of the Navy command, located in Haifa.
Acquisition and training of personnel. The personnel of the Navy largely completed by volunteers entering military service for a period of three years. About 20% of naval personnel are sverhsrochnoy, and about 14% of the total number of military personnel of the Navy are women, serving in the coastal parts (departments of communications, of logistics, of coastal radars). Almost all officers and non-commissioned officers are.

Training of personnel for ships is carried out in the training center of the Navy in Haifa, which is equipped with different exercise machines and simulators. According to military experts, training on simulators is the most effective in the educational process: reduces training time, enables to simulate various conditions of the combat situation [4].

Combat training of the ships is carried out intensively and is aimed primarily at practicing the tasks of finding and destroying surface ships, submarines and aircraft of the enemy at sea and in bases, and on the decision of the task of protecting sea lanes in cooperation with the air force. Foreign press reported that during the year each missile boat, usually carried out by one or two practical launching of missiles.

Officers of the naval service are prepared at the naval school in Haifa. It can be elders who have served at least two years on ships, as well as persons who have successfully completed the naval school in acre. Training period of 2 years. Graduates are awarded the title of Lieutenant (segen Mishneh). Every year the school produces 40-45 officers. Senior naval officers have trainings in the national command and General staff College, Israel and in the higher military colleges in the United States [5]. The replenishment of the petty officers of the ship and engineering services is engaged in a training center in Haifa and school of merchant Navy in tel Aviv and Ashdod. Graduates are awarded the title of Sergeant (Rav Samal) [6].
The organization and operational structure. At the head of the Israeli Navy is the Commander (abbreviated מח"י Mahi) in the rank of Vice Admiral (Aluf).

The administrative command, a subordinate Commander is composed of five departments. Management, in turn, are divided into departments, departments into offices, offices into sections.

The office staff deals with issues of construction (building combat power and combat training) naval forces and coordinates joint activities of the departments of the Navy. Directly reporting to the Management staff is, among other things, the Division of marine monitoring, coordinating joint activities of naval units.

Management of marine operations dealing with the issues of operational use of naval forces, the development of naval tactics, the conduct of the exercise. Commands the Control of the head of Department, an officer in the rank of rear Admiral.

Intelligence Agency provides intelligence and reconnaissance reports for activities of the Navy. Professionally subordinate to the intelligence Directorate of the General staff of the army. Management of logistics is responsible for the development of technologies, technical services and logistics. Commands the Control of the head of Department, an officer in the rank of rear Admiral.

The office of personnel deals with issues related to the personnel of the Navy. Commands the Control of the head of Department, an officer with the rank of captain 1-St rank.

In addition to the offices of the headquarters, directly subordinate to the Commander of the Navy are the following divisions:

  1. Training base of 600;
  2. 13th flotilla ("Shayetet 13") is a unit of special forces;
  3. Base logistics;
  4. The shipyard of the Navy;
  5. The Department of information technologies, processes, and computerization;
  6. Units subordinate to the naval bases: 3rd flotilla (a flotilla of missile boats), 7th fleet (submarines), a division of subsea (diving) jobs, 914-I patrol squadron subordinate to the naval base in Haifa; 915-I patrol squadron subordinate to the VMS database in Eilat; 916-I patrol squadron – VM base in Ashdod.

Additionally, the Navy has:

  • the underwater detection unit (is subordinate to the 3rd flotilla);
  • unit security port security (the Unit "Snapir", literally "Fin") is subordinate to the patrol squadrons.

Naval forces of Israel has three sites: in the cities of Akko, Atlit, Ashkelon [7].

Weapons and military equipment. In service with the Israeli Navy are 5 submarines type "Dolphin", 3 Corvette type "Saar 5", 8 missile boats of the "Saar 4,5", 2 missile boats of the "Saar 4" and patrol boats "Dabur" (15 units), "Super Yard" (23 units), "Shaldag" (5 units), "Nahshal" (3 units) [8].

Underwater strike force. The Israeli Navy traditionally pay great attention to the development of the submarine fleet. In 1999-2000, the fleet included three submarines, built in Germany (the construction of the first two completely and the third was partially funded by the German government): "Dolphin", "Leviathan" and "Tecum", which became the largest warships of the Israeli Navy. In addition to conventional torpedoes, they can carry anti-ship missiles "Harpoon" and cruise missiles with a range of 1,500 km. In 2006, Israel ordered two more advanced submarines of type "Dolphin", equipped with an anaerobic propulsion (the type used on German SUBMARINES of project 212): "Tanya" is handed over to the customer in may 2012, and "Rahab" in April 2013. Finally, in March 2012, was issued an order to build another of the same subs. The commissioning of the contemporary class submarines "Dolphin", equipped with cruise missiles, long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, significantly increases the strategic potential of the Jewish state and greatly expands the operational capabilities of Hail ha-Yama, consolidating its superiority over the naval forces of the Islamic States of the Middle East [9].

Surface strike force. The largest surface warships are the three corvettes type "Saar-5": "Eilat", "Lahav" and "Hanit", was built in the United States and introduced built in 1994-1995. It ships with total tonnage 1275 tons, armed with anti-ship missiles "Harpoon" anti-aircraft missile complex Barak, small-caliber antiaircraft artillery systems (MSAC), "Volcano", 324-mm torpedo tubes, and also have a helipad. The power plant consists of gas turbine full speed and two diesel engines. Missile boats "Nitsakhon and Atzmaut", built in 1978-1979, are of the type "Saar-4". Of the 10 boats of this type 4 sold to Chile, 2 Sri Lanka, 2 withdrawn from the fleet. The remaining 8 RCA belong to the type "Saar 4,5" ("Roma", "Keshet", "Arrow", "Kidon", "Tarshish", "Jaffa", "Cherev" and "Sufa"). They became part of the Navy from 1981 to 2003. Boats of both types of SCRC are armed with Harpoon and Gabriel, 76-mm guns or 20-mm SAC, and "Saar 4,5" — and SAM "Barack". Displacement boats 450-500 tons powerplant diesel. All RCA built in Israel.


The patrol force. The Israeli Navy has a large number of fast patrol boats of "Dabur" (15), "Yard" (9 units), "Super Court" MK.2 (4 units) and MK.3 (10), "Shaldag" (5 units). Ordered another five boats "Shaldag" MK.2. Most of these patrol boats (with the exception of the oldest of the "Dabur") is built in Israel. Their displacement does not exceed 60 tons, and the armament consists of 20-mm and 25-mm guns and heavy machine guns. Boats of types "Super Yard" and "Shaldag" are widely exported to African and Asian countries, and India is building the first of them under license.

In addition to naval forces, the Navy included the 2nd regiment of combat helicopters - 42 units, brigade of coast artillery - 84 guns and 2 separate battalion of Marines and commandos [10].

A program of developing new weapons. The main task of the Israeli Navy in the coming years is the upgrade of the surface fleet. The possibility of construction of 4 frigates. As prototypes for them was originally seen American warships of the coastal zone of the LCS, then — German corvettes RESORT-100. Currently, there have been reports about the possible construction of the ships of the "Incheon" in cooperation with the Republic of Korea. In addition, long-standing cooperation with Germany does not cease, therefore it is a shipbuilding company recently embarked on the construction of four corvettes of the class "Saar-6", which, according to the IDF will be the largest ships of the Navy of the country [11]. New corvettes will be equipped with marine a modification of the Israeli missile defense system Iron dome, and artillery armament of these ships may be exacerbated by operational-tactical missiles. The commander of the Navy of Israel, Eliyahu Sharvit already called ordered in Germany ships "one of the fundamental components of the naval defensive shield" of the country. Now the Israeli Navy has remote-controlled patrol boats with integrated combat systems for the production of Rafael, also has plans to expand the capabilities of unmanned surface vehicles. Such systems can be used for a wide range of tasks. They are extremely effective, and these technologies are rapidly progressing.

The development of the capabilities of combat use. To more fully address this question, we should first of all consider the previous experience of military operations, as many of these methods are used now. Assessing the fighting Navy of Israel in the Arab-Israeli 1973 war, foreign military observers noted that they were more active than the soldiers of the 1956 and 1967. Currently, the main striking force in the struggle for supremacy on the sea are missile boats. They are also used to protect merchant ships delivering to Israel weapons and military equipment. A feature of this type of military activities was a combination of attacks on shore facilities of the enemy with direct guarding their ships or convoys. For example, Israeli missile boats out in the evening from the base of Haifa, night strikes at shore facilities of the enemy on the Mediterranean coast and by the morning next day go to the area of the Crete island, where there is a meeting with merchant ships. Here boats restock fuel, fresh water and ammunition from merchant ships and then escort them to the ports of destination. For self defense boats during the operations of the widely used means of electronic warfare and anti-aircraft artillery [12].

Tactical operations the Israeli Navy have a raiding character. To strike on the ships or shore facilities of the enemy formed a strike team consisting of several missile boats, which operate mainly at night in interaction with helicopters or under the guise of aviation. Air force aircraft are involved in actions in the interests of the fleet in order to attack coastal enemy targets (fuel depots, ports, radar stations and missile and artillery positions). Also, now the role of force in Maritime operations increases significantly, and they are used to implement many tasks. Is coordinating the work with the air force to develop a helicopter with a large radius of action, which will not require the overall flight deck. There are also plans to deploy the helicopters on the new corvettes.

Thus, we can conclude that the present armed conflict in the middle East are characterized by a large diversity of used hardware. In accordance with the modern trends of the war at sea has also undergone significant changes. High-tech missiles placed on ships, the jamming devices make the modern fighting ship is a multifunctional complex, able to strike as on shore facilities and infrastructure in the depth of the state. For Israel, with its specific geographical position, the protection of the territorial waters are of strategic importance. Therefore, the naval forces of Israel can successfully carry out combat tasks on protection national interests of the state, providing protection of territorial waters and the supporting land forces in coastal areas.

List of sources:

[1] Bondar M. Yu., Ganiev A. T. a "Special country studies. The State Of Israel." M. WOO. 2016.
[2] Vladimir Yankelevich. Giborei Israel. Essays on the history of the Israeli Navy. The magazine-newspaper "Workshop". The article of February 4, 2019. [Electronic resource]
[3] the Website of the Israel Navy [Electronic resource]
[4] Arabs at War: Military Effectiveness, 1948 - 1991 (2002). Kenneth Michael Pollack. U of Nebraska Press. S. 95.
[5] אמיר אורן דרגה אחת יותר מדי הארץ, 26.6.08 (Amir Oren, "At one rank greater than necessary" to "Ha'aretz"
[6] Israeli Navy: The Navy Throughout Israel's Wars. Jewish Virtual Library. [Electronic resource]
[7] the Structure of the Israel Navy Archived copy from October 11, 2011 at Wayback Machine. Internet archive
[8] warships of Israel. Cherbourg backup from March 5, 2016 at Wayback Machine. Internet archive
[9] the Weapon to the promised land. The magazine "Around the world". No. 5, may 2008
[10] Flotilla 13. Mike Elder. MA'ariv Book Guild. Tel Aviv. 1995. P. 430-443
[11] the Israeli army bought from Germany warships "Saar". (25.12.2014)
[12] Vadim Menuhin. Fighting ships of the Israel — Port said and the fight at Damietta — Baltim., 2002

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