Israel to Buy 13 Naval Guns From U.S. to Defend Offshore Gas Reserves

The 76-mm naval guns will be equipped on the Israeli navy's Sa'ar 4.5-class missile boat in deal expected to cost $440m

Israeli soldiers onboard the Israeli vessel Saar 5 Class Corvette "INS Hanit" attend a training session during the "Novel Dina 17" exercise in the Mediterranean Sea on April 4, 2017
JACK GUEZ/AFP

Israel has asked the U.S. for over a dozen naval guns to be mounted on the Israel Navy's missile boats. The American Defense Security Cooperation Agency reported that the State Department has approved Israel's request to buy 13 of the 76-mm naval guns and spare parts for $440 million.

According to the plan, the guns will be equipped on the Israeli navy's Sa'ar 4.5-class missile boat and the four Sa'ar 6-class warships Israel has ordered from the German shipyard ThyssenKrupp and which are expected to become operational within two years.

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ThyssenKrupp will only build the warships, which are slated to guard Israel's offshore gas reserves, while Israel will arm them. This is the first report of weapons being purchased for the Sa'ar 6-class warships tasked with guarding the gas fields. Previous reports said the Iron Dome missile defense system will also be installed on the boats.

"The proposed sale will improve Israel’s capability to meet current and future threats in the defense of its borders and territorial waters," the American statement said, adding that one of the 13 guns will be used to train navy personal.

The deal to buy the Sa'ar 6 warships from ThyssenKrupp is currently under police investigation, as part of a large probe into the deal to purchase submarines from the German ship maker. ThyssenKrupp's representative in Israel, Miki Ganor, is represented by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's personal lawyer and relative, David Shimron, raising suspicions of possible wrongdoing.