Israel- Hamas War: US Concentrates Forces in Middle East, Israeli Navy’s SAAR-6 Put in Action

By Arie Egozi

Foreign Affairs

Tel Aviv: The US is building up a force that may back Israel in the war, in case other Iranian proxies like the Hezbollah in Lebanon joins the attacks. The US continues to concentrate forces in the Middle East to be ready to a situation where Iran or one of its proxies joins the fighting with the Hamas terror organisation in Gaza.

As part of an escalation in American forces in the Middle East following Hamas‘ terror strikes on Israel on October 7, a squadron of US Air Force A-10 Warthogs has already landed in the area , and more are anticipated to do so this week, a senior defence official told reporters on October 12.

A-10, F-15, and F-16 aircraft were added to the US Central Command’s (CENTCOM) deployment to its theatre of operations on October 8. The aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford and its strike group arrived in the Eastern Mediterranean on October 10.

On October 13, the Hamas launched a long range rocket in order to hit targets in Northern Israel. The Israeli air force David ‘s Sling air defence system intercepted the heavy long range missile.

The Israeli navy‘s new SAAR 6 corvettes are taking part in the war against the Hamas terror organisation in Gaza . IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari confirmed that the Navy’s new “SAAR 6” corvettes attacked for the first time since they became operational.

The IDF has not identified the types of weapon systems used, but sources said that the corvette can be equipped with some types of rockets that are launched from a special container and also with loitering weapon systems.

Israeli sources told Raksha Anirveda that the corvettes used different types of weapon systems to hit targets in Gaza. The new corvettes became fully operational recently.

Three of the four “SAAR 6” type missile ships that were built in Germany, have recently completed their main operational assimilation process, which included the installation of all 20 combat systems – most of them Israeli-made – while the fourth ship will complete the process in the coming months.

The Israeli navy has added more advanced systems to enhance the capability of its new SAAR 6 corvettes to perform more versatile missions in the Mediterranean and in other seas and oceans. The Saar 6 corvettes carry a combined air defence system, comprised of the Barak -8 and the C-Dome. The navy says that the use of both systems will be defined by the threat.

“In some scenarios both interceptors will be launched “An Israeli source said.

The SAAR 6 corvettes are mainly designed to protect the Israel EEZ that includes the huge gas reservoirs in the Mediterranean. These are very high in the target bank of the Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The Barak-8 is made by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). According to company, the Barak 8 provides the ultimate protection against a variety of aerial platforms and munitions including aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aircraft and sea-skimming missiles. It is based on a sophisticated missile (developed in collaboration with Rafael), state-of-the-art phased array multi mission radar, two-way data link, and flexible command and control system.

The system’s radar manufactured by ELTA Systems, an IAI group and subsidiary, is a multi-mission radar, supporting air defence missions. It delivers an accurate, high quality, real-time arena situation picture and extracts low Radar Cross Section (RCS) targets even in the toughest environmental conditions. It is a digital Active Electronic Steering Array (AESA) Radar System which incorporates new and advanced technologies.

Barak 8 can operate day and night, in all weather conditions, and successfully deals with simultaneous threats engagements, even in severe saturation scenarios. The system has a very short reaction time and a fast missile vertical launch capability with 360 degree coverage. The system optimises the coordination between the missile and batteries by using an advanced broadband communication network. The missile deals with short, medium, and long range threats, where its interconnectivity among the various ships in the naval task force enables it to be a multi-layer air and missile defence System of Systems.

A source said that a typical ship installation includes 4 vertical launchers each carrying 8 missiles.

The Barak-8 has an effective range of 43 miles. IAI is developing  an extended range version. This one will have an add on booster and it will give the missile a 93 miles range. The C-Dome Naval defence system is made by Rafael and is based on the Iron Dome and designed to effectively protect combat vessels against a large set of modern threats. C-Dome handles saturation attacks by engaging multiple targets simultaneously. Reaction time according to Rafael, is very short and enables automatic and semi-automatic engagements.

C-Dome components include a multi-round launcher assembly loaded with vertically-launched canistered interceptors. The launcher is installed under the ship’s deck. C-Dome utilises the ship’s own surveillance radar and does not require a dedicated Fire Control Radar. Weapon System Command and Control is seamlessly integrated with the ship’s combat management system, facilitating system operation.

Rafael emphasises that C-Dome uses the combat-proven Iron Dome interceptor that has already achieved more than 1500 successful intercepts. Rafael says that the Interceptors are maintenance-free, and are stored in a sea-proof canister. Up to 8 interceptors can be loaded into a modular Vertical Launcher Unit.

The mix of systems that has been installed is classified, but it can be said that these systems will enable the SAAR -6 to operate jointly with the new Dolphin – acquired by the Israeli navy and with different aerial platforms like the Sea Hawk helicopters that the new missile ships will carry and some unmanned aerial systems.