Israel to arm warships with Iron Dome system to protect gas reserves at sea
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) will install its successful Iron Dome missile defence system on warships protecting Israel’s off-shore gas drilling platforms, a temporary measure until new warships acquired in a deal with Germany arrive.
Israel has huge and mostly untapped gas fields that cover some 23,000 square km (9,000 square miles) of sea, more than Israel’s territory on land.
Israel’s Ministry of Defense struck a 430-million Euro ($480-million) deal with Germany in May to purchase four warships to protect its natural gas platforms in the Mediterranean sea — including the already operational Tamar site and the more extensive site which is currently being developed.
The military sees possible sea-borne or rocket threats to gas facilities from Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, making expanding the naval presence a priority for them.
A senior military official said that the gas platforms are currently protected by the navy’s “Sa’ar 5” warships and are equipped with the Barak 1 missile defense system, Haaretzreports.
The new ships, which will be classified as “Sa’ar 6”, are expected to arrive by 2019 and will feature the much more advanced Barak 8 missile system, the report said.
In the interim, the military will arm its current ships with batteries from its successful land-based Iron Dome missile defense system, which
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