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Forces gather for Good Hope IV

A German naval task force has arrived in Simon’s Town to partake in Exercise Good Hope IV, the latest in a series of joint and bi-national naval and air exercises between Germany and South Africa. The current exercise will take place from yesterday to March 15 in the seas and skies surrounding Cape Town.

The German Bundeswehr is represented by the frigates FGS Brandenburg (pictured) and FGS Niedersachen, two combat support vessels, FGS Frankfurt Am Main and FGS Westerwald; as well as six Panavia Tornado strike aircraft, one Antonov AN124 (NATO reporting name: “Condor”) and two Learjets.

The Westerwald arrived in Simon’s Town a week ago, while the Antonov transport aircraft was hired to bring in two Deutsche Marine AgusataWestland Lynx maritime helicopters. The two Learjets are operated by the Luftwaffe and are used for tracking missiles and electronic warfare training. The aircraft will be based at AFB Overberg in the southern Cape.

South Africa is deploying two frigates – SAS Amatola and SAS Spioenkop, one diesel-electric submarine (SAS Queen Modjadji I), one offshore patrol vessel (SAS Isaac Dyobha), two mine countermeasures vessels (SAS Umzimkulu and SAS Umkomaas) and two inshore patrol vessels (SAS Tern and SAS Tobie). In addition, the SA Air Force is providing two BAE Systems Hawk Mk120 lead-in fighters, two Pilatus PC7 MkII Astra, one Cessna C208 Caravan, two Douglas C47TP maritime patrol aircraft, two AgustaWestland Super Lynx 300 Mk64 maritime rotorcraft and three Denel M1 Oryx medium helicopters.

Good Hope IV is the fourth exercises to be conducted in South African waters between the two countries. It is also the largest undertaken by the Bundeswehr outside of its NATO obligations.

The “theatre of operations” will be around Cape Town and some manoeuvres will be conducted at the Overberg Military Test Area near Bredasdorp and Arniston/Waenhuiskrans. Some of the types of exercises will include live missile and gun firings, anti-submarine warfare with mock torpedo attacks, anti-aircraft drills, fleetwork, station-keeping and more.

The objectives that both countries want to achieve with these exercises are:
- To enhance and maintain the comprehensive defence capabilities of the two armed forces.
- To develop a common understanding of military interoperability and foster mutual trust, respect and co-operation between the German Task Force Group and the SANDF.
- To upgrade operational means and methods of multi-national conventional forces by employing different types of equipment whilst conducting and exercising according to a common set of guiding principles.

The German units visited Namibia en route and Oryx helicopters from 22 Squadron SAAF practised deck landings when the vessels neared Cape Town.

The public will be invited to view the German vessels at the V&A Waterfront on Saturday 27 February to Sunday 28 February 2010. Thereafter the public can view most of the SA Navy and German vessels during the annual Navy Festival from 5 March to 7 March 2010 in Simon’s Town.


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