US and Israeli Navies start maritime exercise in the Red Sea

According to information published by the U.S. DoD on August 1, 2022, naval forces from Israel and the United States began a four-day maritime exercise in the Red Sea.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Sa'ar 5-class corvette INS Eilat (Picture source: Zona Militar)

The exercise is a bilateral training event between U.S. 5th Fleet and Israeli naval forces that focuses on mission planning, maritime interdiction, and other drills at sea.

U.S. Navy ships USS Nitze (DDG 94), USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3), and USNS Matthew Perry (T-AKE 9) are participating with Israeli Sa’ar-class ships INS Eilat and INS Keshet.

About the INS Eilat

INS Eilat (501) is a Sa'ar 5-class corvette of the Israeli Navy that was built by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems in 1993. She is one of three Sa'ar 5-class corvettes in service with the Israeli Navy and her homeport is Haifa, Israel.

The contract for the construction of the three ships of the class was signed in the early 1980s. Eilat was the first of the three ships to be launched and commissioned, being the first in her class.

The ships' missile systems include: (i) anti-air capability with 1 x 32-cell vertical launch system (although it is possible to carry another), with Barak-1 and/or Barak-8 missiles of IAI and Rafael, and two four-cell Boeing Harpoon missile launchers.

Ship's guns are a Raytheon / General Dynamics MK15 Phalanx 20mm close-in weapon system (CIWS). Secondary guns included a pair of 20mm autocannon, although these were later replaced with 5-barrel 25mm Sea Vulcan 25 guns.

The main radar for the 1st and 3rd ship (INS Eilat and INS Hanit) is the Advanced Lightweight Phased Array (ALPHA) ELM-2258 by Elta, an AESA S-band multifunction rotating radar, with automatic track initiation at +120 km (for fighters) and +25 km (for missiles).

The main radar for the 2nd ship INS Lahav is the micro-AEGIS-style four-fixed-paneled S-band radar. In 2014 September 23, she was presented to the public with that new radar at Haifa naval base.

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