Israel and Germany have signed a 430-million Euro contract to provide the Jewish State with four ships to protect natural gas and oil rigs in the Mediterranean.
The Defense Ministry announced the deal on Monday with the arrival in Tel Aviv of German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen for an official state visit.
Included in the agreement was a special grant of 115 million Euros provided to Israel by the German government.
The project is being funded via the Exclusive Economic Zone through a budget separate from that used for defense.
Maj.-Gen. (res.) Dan Harel, managing director of the Defense Ministry, said the acquisition represented “a dramatic improvement in the navy’s ability to protect strategic sites for the State of Israel.”
The four patrol corvette-type vessels are to be built by the TKMS German shipyard in the city of Kiel near Hamburg. All will be equipped with Israeli combat systems.
The shipyard is owned and operated by the TK Consortium, which has committed to a reciprocal purchase from Israel. TK Consortium has agreed to buy at least NIS 700 million in Israeli defense product under the terms of the contract.
Given the equipment with which the vessels are to be loaded, Israel’s defense industry will be busy for the next five years, when the vessels are to arrive.
Dolphin submarines currently in use by the Israel Navy were produced in the same shipyard.