Israel officially received the INS Nahshon, a groundbreaking landing ship, in a flag-raising ceremony held last week at the Pascagoula Shipyard in Mississippi, USA. The Nahshon, the first of two new landing crafts to be integrated into the Navy, is set to be declared as an operational vessel in 2024. Its length is approximately 95 meters, its width is approximately 20 meters, and its displacement exceeds 2500 tons. The construction project began some four years ago when the landing crafts were purchased by the procurement delegation of the Israeli Ministry of Defense from the US government.
The INS Nahshon will now begin the final preparations phase, which includes crew training and operational certification tests – and in a few months the landing craft will set sail and arrive at its home port in Israel.
“You have a great privilege today, writing a chapter in the history of the Israeli Navy. You are the pioneers of the way, the first to jump into the water and carve a new path in the heart of the seas,” wrote the Commander in Chief of the Israeli Navy, VAdm. David Saar Salama, in a letter addressed to the first team of the INS Nahshon:
“You embarked on the journey of building a ship, far from the ports at home and far from family, and managed to turn a dream into reality. With wonderful cohesion, dedication, and professionalism, in a wonderful partnership that crosses times, people, and countries – you lead the Navy to new horizons, to horizons of influence and determination.”
These landing crafts will play a pivotal role in adapting the Israeli Navy to the modern and multi-arena battlefield. Among their functions, they will serve as a logistical axis for transporting equipment and soldiers to both nearby and distant areas. Furthermore, the landing crafts will facilitate stronger cooperation between various units within the Israeli Navy, the Technological and Logistics Directorate, and other IDF branches. This collaboration aims to enhance joint operational activity, enabling the multi-branch combat effort to be effective in routine and contingency situations.
The Israel Navy made use of landing vessels from the War of Independence in 1948 until 1993, when the last aging landing crafts were decommissioned. The IDF assessed at that time that it had no use for relatively newer models.
Over the years, the Israeli Navy has deepened its cooperation with the U.S. in areas like naval ship design and funding. A testament to this is the development of the Sa’ar 5 corvettes.
In the 1980s, Israel, aiming to boost its naval prowess, partnered with the U.S. company, Bath Iron Works, to design the Sa’ar 5 corvettes. These compact vessels are equipped with stealth capabilities. U.S. military aid played a significant role in funding this project, facilitating their acquisition for Israel.