Israel has signed an agreement to purchase four advanced battleships from Germany in order to secure its offshore gas fields, Israel’s Ministry of Defense (MOD) announced on Monday.
The 430-million-euro purchase is part of Israel’s effort to secure the gas rigs in its economic waters – an offshore region that includes gas-drilling areas, extending beyond Israel’s territorial waters in the Mediterranean. The first ship will be turned over to Israeli hands in five years.
A contract-signing ceremony was held in Tel Aviv, with MOD Director-General Dan Harel representing Israel. Ursula Von der Leyen, Germany’s minister of defense, arrived in Israel for the event.
Germany’s TKMS shipyard in Kiel will provide the Israeli navy with four advanced patrol corvettes, which will become part of the defense parameter.
All combat systems used on the ships will be produced and outfitted by Israeli companies at the insistence of the MOD, which aims to ensure the flow of contracts to Israeli firms.
Germany has agreed to finance a third of the cost of the deal at 115 million euros. TKMS, which is building the battleships, has promised to purchase Israeli products in return and invest in Israeli companies.
“The agreement signed today is a significant and dramatic step forward in the navy’s defense capabilities on Israel’s strategic gas-yielding sites,” Harel said after the signing.” The deal also serves as a boost to the economy. We are proud and happy with the results of the negotiations, which have ensured maximal achievements in the operational and economic spheres.”
Close Israeli-German ties
Commending the ties between the two countries which were unthinkable 70 years ago, Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon said that the collaboration between Israel and Germany was strong, “based on a shared vision of the threats facing the countries and the West.”