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By ARIE EGOZI
With the rising cost of maritime security, government agencies are interested in smaller, highly versatile boats that can be called upon to operate effectively in peacetime, emergency and at war. Boats that can effectively chase smugglers, and human traffickers, defeat well-armed terror attacks and become an integral part of projecting a nation’s maritime power in time of war.
To answer these operational requirements, the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Ramta division has launched the Super Dvora class of multi-role Fast Patrol Boats / Fast Attack Craft (FPB/FAC). Based on a combat proven design first developed and became operational in the 1970s, the current class of Israeli Super Dvora is a third generation. The latest Super Dvora has been supplied to customers with Waterjets or Articulated Surface Drive (ASD) propulsion. Both offer excellent acceleration and high speed (45-50 knot), with ASD offering a slight edge in maneuverability and shallow water operability (at water depth of 1.3 meters), while waterjets provide somewhat more efficient maneuverability.
The company has two variants of the Super Dvora class – the Super Dvora Multi-Role (SDMR) multi-mission patrol boat and Mini-Dvora interceptor class fast boat. Both utilize the proven hull design of Super Dvora Mk III to offer new models meeting specific market requirements for both smaller and more heavily armed/equipped vessels. They reach a speed of 33 knots.
An affordable ‘interceptor’ type boat, Mini-Dvora enables fast and highly responsive teams to cover large areas.
The SDMR variant uses and slightly expanded Super-Dvora Mk III hull designed with a robust, modular approach, enabling the customer to integrate specific mission systems and payloads, thus modifying the boat for new missions as needed. These include coastal defense, surface attack, command and control etc.
On top of self-protection means, the boat is also equipped with a stabilized electro-optical payload with an integrated laser designation capability, supporting precision attack weapons. Other sensors include passive EO, communications (COMINT) and other electronic signals detector ESM.
The primary weapon system is a stabilized marine 20\30 MM cannon slaved to the electro-optics payload. This combat proven merging of systems delivers ‘One shot-One Kill’ capability on targets at a distance of 1,500 meters even in rough seas. It also carries precision guided missiles, extending the platform’s effectiveness to 6-8 kilometers.
To enable the coexistence of all systems in such a small space IAI/Ramta’s designers developed a three-layered integrated mast, sealed and air-conditioned to provide sustainable environment and shielded efficiently to host multiple emitters and sensitive electronic systems in a small space. The mast eliminates cross-system interference, while also providing easy access to the power distribution, cooling and communications lines supporting the systems on board.
On the SMDR, a crew of 10 can effectively fulfill all operational and support tasks. The key to such efficiency is the newly designed Combat Information Center (CIC) and operating consoles. Instead of dedicating a specific console for each task (detection, identification, defensive systems, offensive systems, situational display, communications etc.), IAI introduced a common, compact operating station integrating all functions into a single display, similar to those used in the cockpit of fighter aircraft. Specific tasks are shown on different displays, integrated into the situational picture, which also supports routine operations.
Last year IAI received a contract worth tens of millions of dollars to supply four Super Dvora Mk3 Fast Patrol Boat to an African military customer. Deliveries are underway.
These newly ordered Super Dvoras are designed for coastal defense, EEZ and HLS missions.
To date, IAI has supplied more than 100 patrol boats in various configurations, via contracts valued at hundreds of millions of dollars, to maritime customers around the world.