INS Hanit at Haifa port, May 2010
|Builder:||Northrop Grumman by Ingalls Shipbuilding|
|Laid down:||5 April 1993|
|Launched:||5 March 1994|
|Commissioned:||7 February 1995|
|Class & type:||Sa'ar 5-class corvette|
|Length:||85.64 m (280.97 ft)|
|Beam:||11.88 m (38.98 ft)|
|Draft:||3.45 m (11.32 ft)|
|Range:||3,500 nautical miles (6,500 km)|
|Aircraft carried:||Eurocopter Panther|
|Aviation facilities:||Helipad and helicopter hangar|
INS Hanit (Hebrew: חנית, Spear) is a Sa'ar 5-class corvette of the Israeli Navy, built by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems in 1994. On 14 July 2006, during the 2006 Lebanon War, it suffered damage after being struck by a Hezbollah C-802 anti-ship missile.
Attack on 14 July 2006
During the 2006 Lebanon War, the vessel was patrolling in Lebanese waters ten nautical miles off the coast of Beirut. It was damaged on 14 July 2006 on the waterline, under the aft superstructure by a missile (likely a Chinese-designed C-802) fired by Hezbollah that reportedly set the flight deck on fire and crippled the propulsion systems inside the hull. However, INS Hanit stayed afloat, extricated itself and made the rest of the journey back to Ashdod port for repairs on its own power. Four crew members were killed during the attack: Staff Sergeant Tal Amgar, Corporal Shai Atas, Sergeant Yaniv Hershkovitz, and First Sergeant Dov Steinshuss.
According to the Israeli Navy, the ship's sophisticated automatic missile defense system was not deployed, even though the early warning system is usually deployed during peace-time wargames. In the aftermath of the event, reports suggested that no known intelligence existed which would have pointed to the fact that such a sophisticated missile was deployed in Lebanon by Hezbollah. In fact, the investigative work of Ha'aretz journalists Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff showed that an intelligence officer identified only as Colonel K. had given a lecture on 21 April 2003, predicting that Hezbollah possessed shore-to-sea missiles. Furthermore, on the morning of 14 July 2006 a branch head of naval intelligence described as Lieutenant-Colonel Y. briefed the head of naval intelligence, Colonel Ram Rothberg, telling him that "ships enforcing Israel's naval blockade on Hezbollah should take into account the possibility of a C-802 missile being fired on them." No warning was issued based on this assessment, however; if it had, Israeli ships would have moved further away from the shore and activated their anti-missile systems.
As a result of the incident, two navy officers, two junior officers and the commander of the ship were formally reprimanded and repositioned to non-commanding positions on land. One of the junior officers had shut down the central radar and parts of the defence system without notifying the commander, in the belief that the ship was not under threat.
An official IDF report on the Lebanon war incident reveals that the crew did not act sufficiently in order to anticipate the threat.
The IDF report, which was submitted to Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, said, "as far as the intelligence picture is concerned, it was found that despite the lack of pinpoint information about the weapon in the hands of Hezbollah, there was information in the Navy in the past that could have led to some type of an assessment that the enemy holds shore-to-ship missiles." In addition, failures were uncovered in "the way the forces understood the operative reality and implemented it." As there were no perceived missile threats, an officer had left the ship's anti-missile suite disabled, in energy-saving standby-mode, while patrolling near the coast.
Repairs took months; the ship returned to active service in 2007.
- "Hezbollah missile hits Navy ship off Beirut coast". Haaretz. 2006-07-14. Archived from the original on July 18, 2006.
- "Missile, Not Drone, Hit Israeli Warship". The Guardian (London). 2006-07-15. Archived from the original on July 16, 2006.
- Mazzetti, Mark (31 December 2008). "Striking Deep Into Israel, Hamas Employs an Upgraded Arsenal". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
- "INS Hanit Suffers Iranian Missile Attack". Defense Update. 17 July 2006. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
- "Strike on Israeli Navy Ship". NAVSEA. 2006-07-19. Archived from the original on February 11, 2007.
- "Middle East Crisis: Hezbollah-Israel conflict wrap". Spero News. 2006-07-15. Archived from the original on October 4, 2007.
- Harel, Amos; Issacharoff, Avi (2008-01-18). "How the navy missed its boat". Ha'aretz English.[dead link]
- Greenberg, Hanan (1 January 2007). "Officers reprimanded over Hanit vessel incident". YnetNews. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
- Greenberg, Hanan (7 November 2006). "Report: Ship crew didn't realize missile threat". YnetNews. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
- Opall-Rome, Barbara, "Israel Navy Faults Humans, Not Technology, for Ship Attack", Springfield Virginia News (Tel Aviv: Defense News)
- Gardner, Frank (3 August 2006). "Hezbollah missile threat assessed". BBC. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
- Greenberg, Hanan (11 October 2007). "Exclusive: Photos of navy ship hit during war revealed". YnetNews. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
- Yehoshua, Yossi (3 June 2014). בראש הכוח עמדה אח"י חנית שנפגעה בלבנון. Ynet (in Hebrew). Retrieved 17 July 2015.
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