The Defense Ministry is offering to sell two patrol boats that were in use by the Israel Navy until last year. Both vessels were built to Israeli specifications by Stingray Marine of South Africa and purchased, according to Defense Ministry documents, in 1997.
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The twin-hull catamarans of the Nachshol-class boats have been used to patrol the Gulf of Eilat since they were first delivered.
No price has been given for the boats, which the ministry plans to sell at auction. They will be sold without their propulsion systems, meaning they won’t be seaworthy. As a result of that, and the fact that they have seen 20 years of military use, they are expected to fetch much less than similar boats for the civilian market. These can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
The Israeli navy boats were purchased for their nonmilitary appearance, in an effort to blend into the regular traffic in the Gulf of Eilat: They look like “civilian” catamarans, except for the machine guns and the radar and night-vision systems mounted on them. Navy veterans have joked that they look like party boats. The website of the Israel Navy describes them as being easier to operate than the Dabur-class patrol boat, which is still in use.
The purchase of the Nachshol boats in 1997 was part of a program of military cooperation that began during the apartheid area. It included arms sales and, according to foreign media reports, cooperation on nuclear weapons.
The Defense Ministry is responsible for selling off the military’s surplus equipment. The Israel Defense Directory, a guide to Israeli military exports, describes such items as being “from a good home.” Among the well-worn items listed in recent years are U.S. Patton battle tanks, Israeli-made Kfir warplanes and Hercules C-130 military transport planes.