IDF increases naval strength with new logistics support vessel

INS Komemiyut
Israeli Navy ships escort the new INS Komemiyut (far right) as she arrives off the coast of Israel. (IDF image)

The Israeli Navy received a new ship on June 16 with the arrival of the INS Komemiyut. It is the second of two new landing craft, known as logistics support vessels (LSV), that Israel has obtained in the last year. The Israeli Navy took delivery of the first of these new ships, the INS Nahshon, at the Pascagoula Shipyard in Mississippi in September 2023.

The Komemiyut’s arrival in Israel was greeted with a formation of five ships, including the Nahshon. “The LSV has finished its voyage from the port of Pascagoula in the United States and docked at the Israeli Navy Base in Haifa,” the IDF stated on X. “The vessel’s entrance to the State of Israel’s territorial waters was accompanied by Israeli Navy vessels in a ‘missing’ formation, this in memory of the fallen soldiers from the ‘Swords of Iron’ war.”

The two new logistics support vessels bolster the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) at a critical time, as the Israeli Navy has been called upon to conduct numerous operations off the coast of Gaza and in the Red Sea during the current war.

Vice Admiral David Saar Salama, the commander in chief of the Israeli Navy, said that the new ship would lead to “future actions” that “will strengthen the cooperation between the IDF branches, expand the range of military operations, and maintain the security of the State of Israel.” He also highlighted the unique time during which the ship arrived.

“Today, while IDF soldiers conducted intense operations in various arenas, the Israeli Navy received a vessel with strategic importance to the State of Israel. During these historic moments, we salute our brothers in arms who fell while fulfilling their primary mission of maintaining the security of the State of Israel.”

When the Israeli Navy first took command of the Nahshon in 2023, the IDF stated, “A landing craft is a powerful combat vessel, which enables sailing to distant arenas. Its length is approximately 95 meters, its width is approximately 20 meters and its displacement exceeds 2500 tons.”

The vessels are similar to the United States’ Frank S. Besson-class of LSVs, which played a key role in US Central Command operations in the Middle East for many years. Recently, the US Army sent the USAV General Frank S. Besson, Jr (LSV-1) back to the region to support the US military’s floating pier project off the coast of Gaza.

The IDF states that the goal of the two new Israeli vessels is to adapt Israel’s navy for a “modern multi-arena battlefield. Among other things, the landing crafts will serve as a logistical axis for transporting equipment as well as the soldiers in near and far areas.” The ships play a role in expanding the possibilities for joint operations with Israel’s army, air force, and various special forces. 

The arrival of the Komemiyut provides the Israeli Navy more flexibility at sea. Each of the ships can transport a company of tanks, as well as significant equipment and personnel. Israel generally does not conduct large-scale maritime or amphibious operations, although it did conduct raids of this nature in Lebanon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Israel ordered the new landing craft in 2019. These vessels are part of a larger expansion and modernization of the Israeli Navy that began in 2015 when Israel ordered four new Sa’ar 6-class corvettes built in Germany. The first of these ships, the INS Magen, arrived in December 2020, while the last arrived in September 2021.

The new corvettes were first used in conflict off the coast of Gaza in October 2023. In April 2024, one of the new Sa’ar 6 corvettes employed the naval version of the Iron Dome air defense system, C-Dome, to down a drone threat for the first time in the Red Sea.

The IDF has stated that the new LSVs will be operational in 2024 but has not said if this is already the case.

Reporting from Israel, Seth J. Frantzman is an adjunct fellow at FDD and a contributor to FDD’s Long War Journal. He is the acting news editor and senior Middle East correspondent and analyst at The Jerusalem Post. 

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