Saturday, December 16, 2017
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Amatola steaming to La Reunion for Ex Oxide

Amatola steaming to La ReunionExercise Oxide, the ongoing naval exercise which sees French and South African elements co-operate in the interests of both human and maritime security, can be said to be partially underway as the Valour Class frigate SAS Amatola (F145) steams toward La Reunion.

The Indian Ocean island, a French territory, hosts this year’s iteration of the exercise, last held with Richards Bay on South Africa’s east coast as exercise HQ in 2015.

Expanding on the need for an exercise such as Oxide, the SA Navy website points out there is a clear link between maritime and human security.

“Sea lines of communication are a vital part of the world economy and a reported 90% of the world’s trade is carried out by sea, according to the World Trade Statistical Review. This makes the importance of a sound security plan easy to see. This becomes even more crucial when one considers increased globalisation in addition to imports and exports of goods essential to human survival, unsolicited objects such as narcotics are also transported along these sea routes. Armed forces all over the world assist to combat the flow of narcotics into any country.

“France and South Africa share common interests in the southern part of the Indian Ocean and agree on maintaining close defence co-operation. To enhance co-operation and operational inter-operability between South Africa and France and preserve a maritime presence in the Indian Ocean, these nations hold joint exercises such as Oxide.

“The Exercise is scenario based on the theme of “Fight against narcotics”. The aim of the exercise is to enhance combat readiness of both military forces in the fight against narcotics in the Indian Ocean.”

Objectives set for Exercise Oxide 2017 are: to maintain, promote and build on previous operational and tactical co-operation between FAZSOI (French Armées de la Zone Sud de l’Océan Indien) and the SANDF; to promote training of military personnel and provide joint force preparation training for military personnel, and to develop and test joint and combined inter-operability.

Amatola has an embarked Super Lynx maritime helicopter for the duration of the exercise. It will be supported by an SA Air Force Oryx medium transport helicopter as well as a C-47TP maritime patrol aircraft and a 28 Squadron C-130BZ. Other SANDF assets involved are an airborne platoon of 36 combat ready parachutists and a SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) medical team embedded on the frigate.

The exercise is due to start on November 29 and ends on December 9.