IDF considering interceptors for sea-based gas platforms (JERUSALEM POST) By YAAKOV KATZ 04/10/12)
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The IDF is considering the deployment of missile interceptors on gas
rigs that Israeli companies plan to construct in the eastern
Mediterranean Sea in the coming years, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
Israel’s concern is that Hezbollah will try to attack the platforms
with anti-ship missiles or explosives-laden vessels.
The navy is particularly concerned about Syria’s recent purchase of
the Russian Yakhont anti-ship missile, which could be transferred to
Hezbollah and used to target the gas rigs. Syria already tested the
Yakhont in recent maneuvers. The weapon is said to be a sophisticated
missile with a range of about 300 km.
Last February, the navy seized an Iranian arms ship whose cargo,
Israel said, was destined for Islamic Jihad. The vessel was carrying
six Iranian Nasr-1 radarguided anti-ship missiles.
The navy has yet to decide which type of missile defense system it
would deploy on the gas rigs, but the two options under consideration
are David’s Sling, which Israel is developing for use against medium-
range rockets and cruise missiles, as well as the Barak-8, which
protects large navy vessels against anti-ship missiles.
The navy has already increased its patrols in the Mediterranean and
is also using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to increase the range
of its surveillance. It currently operates Israel Aerospace
Industries’s Heron UAV, which comes with a special electro-optic
payload for maritime operations.
Until now, the navy has focused on protecting Israel’s sea lines of
communication (SLOC), which span the length of the Mediterranean and
around the Magreb region of North Africa. Some 99 percent of all
goods arriving in the country come by sea, including security-related
supplies and military hardware.
“The area we will need to protect at sea will significantly increase
with the construction of the new gas rigs,” a senior naval officer
“We are also very concerned with the military buildup in the region,
which is seeing an increase in sophisticated weapons systems like
In addition, the navy is in talks with the Defense Ministry about the
need for four new vessels to more effectively cover its new area of
operations. It is seeking a larger platform than the Sa’ar 5-class
corvettes it operates.
The vessel will have to accommodate an advanced radar system, a
helicopter and a launch system capable of firing long-range air
defense and surface-to-surface missiles.
The navy has also informed the energy companies that it will need to
install radars on the gas rigs, and the government is considering
ordering the companies to help finance some of the cost.
In February, the Defense Ministry and navy ordered the Israel
Electric Corporation to bolster security around a natural gas buoy
that is being built off the coast of Hadera. The buoy will enable
Israel to import natural gas in place of Egyptian gas, which has come
to a near standstill since the revolution in Egypt last year. (© 1995-
2011, The Jerusalem Post 04/10/12)
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