INS Hetz Guided Missile Boat / Escort / Patrol Boat
Updated: 8/11/2017; Authored By JR Potts, AUS 173d AB; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
The INS Hetz proceeds along a multiple-minded mission set, ready to react in an offensive or defensive nature.
An Israeli Naval Ship (INS), the Hetz/Nirit-class Sa'ar 4.5 is a missile boat that was launched sometime in 1991. The Hetz - and her class - are designed with a multiple mission set in mind: "brown water" patrol close to the shore line and "deep blue" water assignments further at sea. The Hetz takes on a coast guard type assignments and, at times, can be called upon to assume destroyer escort duty as a picket boat, in effect expanding the missile defense umbrella covering Israel's coastline against enemy missile, aircraft or a surface warship attack.
Originally, the Hetz Sa'ar 4.5-class missile boat was named the INS Nirit. Two of the original class - the Aliya and Geula - were scheduled to have helipads and hangers built atop the aft deck. They were renamed to the INS Aliya-class. Compatible helicopters included the Sikorsky HH-65, Bell 206, Hughes MD 500 as well as the newest Eurocopter Panther. In 2006, both "heliboats" were sold to Mexico.
The Nirit was last to be launched and received advanced equipment and, when commissioned in 1991, received a name change to INS Hetz. The Romach and the Keshet were then upgraded to the Hetz standard and the Israeli Navy named the Hetz as first in its class. Another two missile boats were upgraded as Hetz Sa'ar 4.5-class the INS Sufa launched in 2002 with the INS Herev following in 2003.
The Hetz was outfitted with three types of missile systems - the Barak, the Gabriel II, and the American-made Harpoon - and could support a layered defense approach with the operator choosing the right weapon for the task at hand. Apart from the Harpoon, the other two defense systems were of wholly Israeli design. The Gabriel II was a short-to-medium anti-ship missile system with a range up to 36km with six such launchers mounted onboard. The Barak was a short-range 10km system designed for anti-aircraft and surface ship suppression to which the Hetz mounted two of these launchers forward. The Boeing Harpoon missile system rounded out the triad and was a proven long-range, surface-to-surface anti-ship missile. The Hetz carried two harpoon batteries of four launchers each having a maximum range of 130km. For closer encounters, the weapons suite was made up of the Vulcan Phalanx Mk 15 25mm CIWS (Close-In Weapon System) or the standard OTO Melara 3 76mm main gun. Fire control onboard for the missile systems and the CIWS 25mm gun was directed by the Thales Neptune air/surface search radar and the Elta EL/M-2221 fire control radar. The ship was also afforded an electronic warfare system in the Elisra NS-9003A/9005 RWR and, as the last level of defense, an Elbit a chaff rocket system was made available.