The Armscor controlled and managed naval dockyard at Simon’s Town is recognised as a strategic facility and is undergoing re-establishment to boost capabilities, according to Solomzi Mbada, chief executive of the state-owned defence and security acquisition agency.
Addressing the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) he said the dockyard delivers “an effective and efficient maintenance service” to the SA Navy. This includes planned preventive and corrective maintenance as well as reconstruction, repairs, upgrades and modernisation of ships and submarines.
The dockyard, handed to South Africa by Britain in 1957, is busy with capability re-establishment and additive manufacturing to enhance its abilities across a range of maritime disciplines. Mbada’s presentation to the PCDMV has it that the dockyard is in the process of acquiring a 3D printing manufacturing capacity which will have the advantage of using a larger variety of materials with complex geometries to be produced. A major plus in this is reduced wastage.
“Computer-aided engineering and drawing capabilities, not currently in the dockyard, will ensure the manufacturing environment is elevated to industry standards,” the committee heard along with an announcement that small boat manufacture has restarted at the facility. This has seen a pair of aluminium harbour patrol boats built for the maritime service of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).
Another plus for the SA Navy is Armscor’s decision to re-establish third line maintenance of the maritime service’s internal combustion engines. Indications are a propulsion workshop will be “fully operational in two years”.
The workshop will be home to the dockyard and the SAN fleet maintenance unit.
“They will co-exist to provide a cost effective maintenance and repair capability with reduced dependence on outsourced OEM (original equipment manufacturer) services.”