Sa’ar boats are a series of missile boats.
Sa’ar 4, of the earlier versions, was built based on Israeli Navy designs in the early 70’s by Israeli Shipyards, as was the following 4.5.
The Sa’ar 5, the largest of the Sa’ar series, was manufactured by the German ‘Huntington Ingalls Industries’ according to Israeli Navy design in the 1990’s.
The Sa’ar 6 from 2015, is also German made, according to Israeli design.
In 1974, a contract was signed between Israel and Apartheid South Africa leading to a sale of three Sa’ar 4 boats and to joint manufacturing of 6 more for the Apartheid Navy. The South African variants were fitted with Gabriel missiles as well. In 1979 and 1980 three of the boats were sold to Pinochet’s Chile – also armed with Gabriel missiles.
Variations: Sa’ar 5, Sa’ar 4.5 (subclasses: Hetz and Aliya), Sa’ar 5, Sa’ar 62 OPV, Sa’ar S-72.
Use by Israeli Forces
The Sa’ar 4 was first operational use by Israeli Navy in the Yom-Kippur War in 1973. Was used for operations in the Red Sea, were used in the first Lebanon war in 1982 firing missiles to the Lebanese Coast. Not operational anymore in the Israeli Navy.
As of 2019, eight Sa’ar 4.5 boats are in service in the Israeli Navy. The boats patrol off the shore of Gaza take an active role in implementing the siege on Gaza. They were operated during the Gaza wars – Cast Lead (2008-2009) Pillar of Defense (2012), Protective Edge (2014) – shooting missiles on targets on the coast of Gaza. Saar-4.5 boats took part in the take-over of the Gaza flotilla in 2011 (The Marmara Incident), leading to the killing of 13 of the flotilla’s passengers.