The Israeli Navy's missile boat flotilla consists of Saar 4, Saar 4.5 fast attack missile boats and the newer Sa'ar 5 missile corvettes. In the Yom Kippur War, the Israel missile boats played a decisive role in overcoming the Syrian and Egyptian navies. In the battle of Latakia (the first sea-to-sea missile battle in the world), five Israel missile boats succeeded in destroying three Syrian missile boats, a gun ship and a mine layer.
At a later stage in the combat, the Israel Navy initiated shelling on Syrian and Egyptian coastal targets. The activities of the missile boats on the Egyptian front caused extensive Egyptian vessel losses, including four Osa missile boats. These operations enabled the Navy to completely control the eastern front of the Mediterranean sea basin and ensure safe passage along the coast of Israel.
The missile boats also significantly aided Israeli ground forces in both Operation Litani and the 1982 Peace for Galilee War in Lebanon. This was achieved in the latter by bombarding terrorist bases and other vital targets, and safeguarding landing forces.
The Israel Navy missile boats also provide general security for the entire Israeli coastline.
On October 13, 2014 it was announced that the Israeli Navy had successfully tested an upgraded version of the Barak missile system. The system was upgraded in order to defend Israel from Russian made Yakhont missiles, which Israel believes have recently been acquired by Syrian extremists as well as Hezbollah. In addition to protecting the Israeli Nazy ships as well as the land, the missiles will also provide protection for the Israeli oil rigs in the Mediterranean Sea.