Sa’ar V Corvette is Top-Heavy
Something I wasn’t aware of recently publised in a World Affairs Board forum in a post titled Worst Warship Designs of the Post-WWII era:
When the design went public it was hailed as the most heavily armed warship per ton in the world and stirred up quite a bit of discussion and debate. Here in the states IIRC Cebrowski and Hughes used these ships as an example of what their “Streetfighter” concept could achieve. The brochures claimed these ships would appear powerful indeed. A 76mm gun, two 25mm gatling guns – all director controlled, 64 Barak SAM missiles in vertical launchers with a 3-channel fire control system, 8 Harpoon and 8 Gabriel anti-ship missiles, anti-submarine torpedo tubes and a helicopter.
The reality is somewhat different.
The 76mm gun has never been installed, the ships instead carrying a Phalanx CIWS. The 25mm Gatling guns have never been installed and never will be as this system is no longer available. Instead, hand-operated WWII-type 20mm Oerlikon’s are shipped. Only half of the Barak VLS has been installed, the other half permanently taken over by a SATCOM terminal. Only 2 of the 3 planned Barak directors are installed. Gabriel missiles are not fitted and the ships usually put to sea with only 4 rather than 8 Harpoon. The originally intended L-band air search radar is apparently not installed.
That’s a lot less punch than originally advertised so the obvious question is, what happened?
Topweight is what happened. The Israeli’s, as they are so often prone to do simply tried to cram 10 pounds of potato’s in a 5 pound bag. The ships lack the volume and weight reserves to carry all of the originally intended equipment and yet may still suffer from stability problems. These 85-meter, 1,200 ton corvette’s are hardly more capable than the 488 ton, 61-meter FAC they succeed. To me this smacks of utter and complete failure both on the part of the shipbuilders but also and especially on the part of the Israeli Navy.
The Sa’ar corvettes have been hailed on other blogs as an alternative to the undergunned American littoral combat ship, but this seems to pour water on such an assumption. Anyway have further info on this?