TEL AVIV – The desert-based shipyard of state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will soon deliver three new Super Dvora Mk3 fast patrol craft to the Israel Navy, a Navy officer told Defense News on Wednesday.
The first of the three vessels, purchased from IAI's Beersheba-based Ramta Division in September 2013, arrived at the Navy's Mediterranean base in Ashdod last month and is now undergoing acceptance trials.
Once certified, it will replace the last of the Navy's Dabur-class craft, which was recently decommissioned after more than 40 years of service.
"The first will be delivered in the coming few weeks, and the other two will follow by the end of the year," the officer said. "This is a major improvement in our fast patrol and interdiction capabilities … and we intend to buy more."
In a recent interview, Rear Adm. Yossi Ashkenazi, head of the Navy's Materiel Command, said the service has earmarked funds in its multiyear modernization plan for additional fast craft from IAI as well as Israel Shipyards, the Haifa-based producer of the Shaldag Mk3.
"We are constantly upgrading our patrol boat fleets with these two contractors, both of which are well versed in our operational needs," Ashkenazi said. He added, "It is MoD's policy to give work to both of those industries."
With regard to IAI's Ramta Division, Ashkenazi said the service was extremely satisfied with the firm's performance. "Only in Israel can you find a top-rate shipyard in the center of the desert."
Opall-Rome is Israel bureau chief for Defense News. She has been covering U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation, Mideast security and missile defense since May 1988. She lives north of Tel Aviv. Visit her website at www.opall-rome.com.