SAAF no longer part of Op Copper in Mozambique
Written by Kim Helfrich, Thursday, 19 March 2015
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) counter-piracy tasking is now in its fifth year of operation with South Africa as the major contributor of both personnel and equipment. Mozambique and Tanzania are the other two SADC nations who have committed to the operation in the Mozambique Channel since its inception in 2011.
The first Operation Copper deployment was early in 2011 following the hijacking of a Mozambican fishing vessel by Somali pirates in the northern reaches of the Mozambique Channel. Lindiwe Sisulu, at the time Defence and Military Veterans Minister, said South African warships were deployed to northern Mozambique along with a C-47TP maritime patrol aircraft from 35 Squadron and a 22 Squadron Super Lynx maritime helicopter. This hardware was supported by a total of 377 uniformed personnel from the air force, military health services and the navy.
Captain (SAN) Jaco Theunissen, Joint Operations spokesman, confirmed this week that Pemba and hence 35 Squadron would no longer be a part of Operation Copper.
“Maritime operations will continue from an SA Navy platform,” he said, declining to answer questions on whether the SAAF would still be part of Op Copper.
READ MORECommander of CTF-150 discusses maritime security challenges with SANDF
More counter-piracy duty for Navy OPVs
Defence spend, more vessels needed if ocean economy is to be protected
SAS Spioenkop returns from Operation Copper
At present the offshore patrol vessel (OPV) SAS Galeshewe is on station in the Mozambique Channel having replaced one of her sister ships, SAS Isaac Dyobha.
At various times since the deployment started the Navy has put Valour Class frigates and the supply ship SAS Drakensberg into the seas off the lower east African coast as a piracy deterrent. More recently this task has been the exclusive preserve of the serving OPVs, all converted Warrior Class strikecraft.
The normal OPV crew requirement for an Operation Copper deployment is around the 60 mark including a Maritime Reaction Squadron component, divers, an ops medic and two Mozambican sea riders.
The only South African platform to have been an active part of a counter-piracy operation was Drakensberg. She acted as southern stopper for the EU Naval Force to prevent a suspected pirate ship from escaping the multi-national task force based off the Horn of Africa.
It is not known at present if the term of Operation Copper will be extended. It was last extended for 12 months by President Jacob Zuma, in his capacity as SANDF Commander-in-Chief, until the end of March this year.
Top stories this week
- Kruger helicopter crash investigation reveals training and skills shortfalls
- Norway and South Africa co-operating on stopping illegal and unlawful fishing
- Mali and Egypt to receive C295s this year
- US military veterans coming to help in the fight against rhino poaching
- Mid-life upgrades for SA Navy Valour Class frigates
AT4 Roquette NG, Carl-Gustaf M4 and NLAW lands at Eurosatory 2016
by Saab, 14 June 2016
These will be presented at Eurosatory 2016 in Paris, including AT4 Roquette NG, Carl-Gustaf M4, and NLAW.
Intelligent camouflage: the future step for Saab Barracuda
by Saab, 14 June 2016
At Eurosatory 2016 Saab highlights new concepts within the field of intelligent camouflage to the attending audience.
Saab to deliver CBRN equipment to Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency
by Saab, 9 June 2016
The company will deliver the test kits with advanced indication equipment to the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, in September.