The midlife upgrades of SA Navy (SAN) prime mission equipment – its frigates and submarines – are at concept and feasibility study phases with further progress on hold according to Armscor.
In its latest annual report, the State-owned defence and security acquisition agency has it the project to upgrade the four Valour Class frigates “is in the concept phase that commenced in February 2016”. No dates are given as regards upgrades for the three Heroine Class Type 209 submarines for which feasibility studies are complete with a recommended approach defined. This has been approved by SAN.
“The acquisition and implementation phase of the programme was due to commence after completion and acceptance of recommendations in the project study report. Due to the reduction in the DoD (Department of Defence) capital budget, no further funds exist in the short term to continue the project and all further activities are suspended,” the 2019/20 report states.
Upgrades for the Valour Class platforms which give the maritime service of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) its surface blue water capability are also stalled by a lack of funding.
“The focus for the concept phase has been to conduct functional studies, which will culminate in the establishment of a functional baseline and a project study report respectively. The platform functional study was completed during the reporting period while the majority of combat suite studies were nearing completion. Due to the reduction of the capital budget, this programme will be executed to establishment of the functional baseline where after work will cease until further funds are appropriated and a decision made to continue with the programme,” the report states.