The IDF is considering the purchase of a pair of corvettes from a US naval yard equipped with AEGIS technology to allow the Israeli navy to provide strategic depth. The most curious thing about this story is that naval artillery has so much range that a ship in the Mediterranean could hit Damascus.
"If we develop a navy that will be able not only to achieve superiority at sea in the eastern Mediterranean, but also to supply concentrated, accurate and relatively inexpensive firepower from the sea - not to the coast but into the depths of hundreds of kilometers - then the navy could take on missions like the air force such as striking troop concentrations, headquarters, air bases, missile bases, radar and infrastructures like bridges and power stations."
In the previous Knesset, Steinitz headed a sub-committee which examined the future of the Navy. In a paper released later, Steinitz sees the Navy acquiring frigates, (4,000 tons) destroyers (9,200 tons) and cruisers (12,000 tons) equipped with cruise missiles with a range of some 2,000 kilometers, assault drones and marine artillery, including one being developed now which is capable of firing satellite-guided 155mm rounds between 75 and 120 kilometers, putting the Golan and Damascus well within reach. The idea is to relieve the air force of some of its classic missions based, somewhat, on the American model.
The point about relatively inexpensive firepower is important. While these proposed corvettes would each cost $500 million a ship can carry a lot more ordnance than a whole squadron of fighters and such a ship could carry out sustained shelling of a target area. A UAV could provide live images of where shells are falling and where enemy are positioned. So a ship could help defend Israel against attacks being launched from Lebanon, Syria, and the Sinai.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2004 January 06 12:10 AM MidEast Arabs Versus Israelis|