With COVID-19 no longer deemed a danger, it’s full steam ahead for Exercise Oxide, which is set down for 14 to 30 November.
The joint Franco/South African naval exercise is on track and will take place in what the Joint Operations Division of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) terms “the west coast area of operation”.
A planning conference at Wardroom Job Masego in Simon’s Town finalised “a broad exercise plan” including “all related activities and requirements”.
There is, as yet, no indication of which SA Navy (SAN) assets will be tasked for Exercise Oxide with defenceWeb informed this will be announced at a later stage.
The French contingent is drawn from the European country’s military assets deployed in the Indian Ocean with Captain (Navy) Alexandre de Lapeyriere, the French defence attaché in South Africa on record as saying both countries are “Indian Ocean nations sharing common interests including maritime security in their respective EEZs (exclusive economic zones) and illegal trafficking”.
“The exercise is important to France and an opportunity to improve our ability to operate bilaterally on operations such as intervention, surveillance, disaster relief, anti-pollution and search and rescue (SAR) where military units are required,” he said.
The exercise with French Indian Ocean naval forces based at La Reunion is a regular on the South African maritime force’s calendar. It is staged in either South African or French-controlled waters and sees training and live exercise phases.
In 2020, ahead of COVID-19 restrictions, Exercise Oxide 2020 was scheduled for Gordon’s Bay with SAN fleet headquarters at Simon’s Town serving as exercise home port. The exercise was postponed by mutual agreement.
The exercise is generally staged in Western Cape waters with the exception of 2015 when KwaZulu-Natal port Richards Bay hosted French and South African warships.