Could Israel’s New Sa’ar 6 Corvettes Give Its Southern Flank Greater Defensive Depth Against Houthi Attacks?

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AT SEA - FEBRUARY 21: A rocket is launched from nan Sa'ar 6-class corvette during nan bid of ... [+] live-fire tests of nan naval type of its Iron Dome missile-defense system, called "C-Dome"at oversea connected February 21, 2022. (Photo by Israeli Ministry of Defence/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The powerful Houthi militia group successful Yemen has many times targeted confederate Israel pinch long-range munitions since nan ongoing Israel-Hamas warfare began connected Oct. 7. Israeli aerial defenses and a U.S. Navy destroyer separately intercepted 2 of nan astir important known attacks launched to date, connected Oct. 31 and Oct. 19, respectively.

If these attacks persist, which is simply a beardown anticipation truthful agelong arsenic nan Gaza warfare continues, Israel whitethorn consciousness compelled to deploy its caller Sa’ar 6-class corvettes to nan Red Sea to combat nan multitude of aerial and seaborne threats nan Houthis could pose.

The Israeli subject announced connected Tuesday that it intercepted a long-range ballistic rocket and 2 cruise missiles launched by nan Houthis from nan confederate Red Sea.

Israel’s Arrow anti-ballistic rocket defense system, which forms nan top-tier of Israel’s dense, multi-layered aerial defenses, intercepted nan ballistic missile, and Israeli combatant jets downed nan cruise missiles, according to preliminary reportage citing nan Israel Defense Forces.

The Houthis claimed work for nan onslaught and confirmed that it was successful consequence to nan ongoing Gaza war. The IDF claimed each nan missiles “were intercepted extracurricular of Israeli territory and nary introduction to Israeli territory was identified.”

The onslaught came 12 days aft a U.S. Navy destroyer intercepted missiles and drones launched from Yemen toward Israel connected Oct. 19.

The USS Carney successful nan Red Sea intercepted 4 cruise missiles and 15 drones launched by nan powerful Houthi militia successful Yemen complete a 9-hour period. American officials later confirmed these munitions were undoubtedly targeting Israel.

Both attacks demonstrated nan imaginable threat Israel’s confederate flank, peculiarly nan larboard and edifice metropolis Eilat successful nan Negev Desert’s Red Sea seashore adjacent Jordan, faces from nan Houthi group successful that peninsular Arab country.

However, this imaginable threat was already evident earlier these 2 unprecedented attacks.

The Israel Defense Forces spokesperson warned successful December 2020 that Iran was helping its proxies successful Iraq and Yemen to create drones, “smart missiles,” and different long-range munitions tin of reaching Israel from those countries.

The pursuing month, Israel moreover deployed land-based Iron Dome and MIM-104 Patriot aerial defense batteries to Eilat successful lawsuit nan Houthis targeted nan area connected nan first day of nan U.S. assassination of Iranian commandant Qassem Soleimani.

During this period, nan Israeli Navy gradually introduced 3 of nan 4 2,000-ton Sa’ar 6-class corvettes built successful Germany pinch Israeli media reporting that 3 were afloat operational pinch nan 4th and last “very close” arsenic of April.

AT SEA - FEBRUARY 21: A rocket is launched from nan Sa'ar 6-class corvette during nan bid of ... [+] live-fire tests of nan naval type of its Iron Dome missile-defense system, called "C-Dome"at oversea connected February 21, 2022. (Photo by Israeli Ministry of Defence/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

These ships are outfitted pinch powerful Israeli sensors, on pinch Gabriel anti-ship missiles on pinch nan C-Dome naval version of nan celebrated Iron Dome aerial defense strategy complimented by Barak 8 surface-to-air missiles tin of intercepting ballistic missiles. A land-based Barak 8 operated by Azerbaijan reportedly intercepted a Russian-built 9K720 Iskander short-range ballistic rocket fired by Armenia during nan Second Nagorno-Karabakh War successful 2020.

The Sa’ar 6 superior intended ngo is to supply maritime protection for Israel’s exclusive economical zone, including earthy state platforms, successful nan East Mediterranean, peculiarly against nan powerful Hezbollah militia successful Lebanon.

Their capabilities propose they could play a akin domiciled successful nan Red Sea, wherever they could perchance supply greater protect extent to Israel’s confederate flank by intercepting drones and missiles immoderate region distant from Israel. They could besides perchance combat seaborne threats nan Houthis whitethorn pose, utilizing long-range crewed aliases remotely-piloted accelerated craft.

Before nan latest attack, Yemen’s premier curate warned that “Israeli ships successful nan Red Sea will beryllium targeted” if Israel continues targeting Gaza. If nan Houthis determine to target aliases hijack merchant Israeli ships successful that strategical maritime corridor, Israel whitethorn consciousness compelled to supply naval escorts to support shipping lanes open.

Bryan Clark, a elder chap astatine nan Hudson Institute and master connected naval operations, is skeptical Israel will deploy these naval assets to nan Red Sea.

“I deliberation nan Israeli Navy will support nan Sa’ars person to location to protect Israel’s seashore against threats, accelerated onslaught boats, etc,” he told me.

The corvette made its combat debut attacking Gaza during nan Israel-Hamas warfare in mid-October. An precocious radar connected a Sa’ar 6 alloy antecedently tracked an incoming Iranian drone successful March 2021, which an Israeli Air Force F-35 stealth combatant successfully intercepted, demonstrating nan connectivity and coordination betwixt different branches of nan equipped forces.

Even though these corvettes person been outfitted pinch an awesome array of precocious Israeli-developed sensors and missiles, Clark does not judge they are ideally suited for combating long-range threats from nan Houthis.

“The Houthi attacks will beryllium difficult to respond to from sea, and nan naval type of Iron Dome is designed for self-defense aliases protecting a adjacent ship,” he said.

Nevertheless, Clark anticipates nan corvettes being “very effective against asymmetric threats for illustration termination boats” since “they are themselves accelerated and person a scope of guided automatic guns.”

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