The Israeli navy continues its retooling to defend offshore natural gas rigs, announcing on Sunday a $420 million purchase of equipment to upgrade systems, The Times of Israel reported.
The procurements include missile defense batteries, electronic warfare, navigation systems, command and control centers, communication gear and other naval systems.
This is in addition to the purchase of four Saar-6 warships to guard Israel’s coastal assets.
The Defense Ministry noted that, unlike the Saar 6 vessels ordered from Germany, these systems are being procured from Israeli manufacturers.
Astronautics C.A., a Petah Tikva-based firm, won the tender to develop the navigation systems for the Sa’ar 6; and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems will make the internal and external communication systems for the corvettes.
“The Defense Ministry made it its mission to deepen its purchases from Israel as much as possible, even in a situation where there’s a highly competitive market with extensive international supply and a budget in shekels,” said Col. (res.) Avi Dadon, the head of the ministry’s procurement department.
Prior to the discovery of major gas fields, the navy’s primary responsibility was to guard the coastal strip. The location of those fields approximately 60 miles offshore has created a new challenge for the navy.
“These procurement deals for the economic waters project — a project in which the IDF will protect the gas fields — have significant meaning for the economy of the state and its security, and [the deals] are further proof of that,” Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a statement.