Israel Seeks German Missile Boats for Offshore Protection
Israel's Defense Ministry is looking for more money to purchase four German missile boats to protect the country's offshore gas fields.
The Defense Ministry plans to ask the Finance Ministry for an additional $853 million to buy the vessels. The Cabinet has tasked the army with protecting the privately owned gas fields, but has yet to discuss financing.
Israel's national security adviser visited Berlin last week to discuss the deal, but is also discussing the issue with gunboat manufacturers in South Korea and the United States.
This plan - to purchase four large gunboats to assist the navy in protecting Israeli gas fields located within Israel's economic zone, an area 200 nautical miles off the coastline – was approved months ago by Israeli defense officials.
While the navy has already started guarding the gas fields with missile boats, it requires an additional four gunboats to enhance security. The drilling sites themselves are protected by private security firms and aerial patrols.
There are three significant offshore gas fields off Israel currently – the Leviathan, the Tamar, and the newly discovered Tamar Southwest. The natural gas reservoirs, reportedly the largest discovered in the world in last decade, are slated to turn Israel into a major exporter and reduce its dependency on foreign energy sources.
Photo: Tiger class boat S54 Elster (P6154)