The Warrior Class in the SA Navy (SAN) will be boosted by another three hulls with the first due to be taken into service in the first quarter of next year.
The class currently comprises two working platforms – SAA Makhanda (P1569) and SAS Isaac Dyobha (P1565) – with SAS Galeshewe (P1567) decommissioned to reserve status last year.
The maritime service of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) this week said the three multi-mission inshore patrol vessels (MMIPVs) being built by Damen Shipyards Cape Town as per Project Biro would sail as Warrior Class vessels. This is in recognition of “warriors who led their people with great bravery to fight many battles in South Africa” according to the Directorate: Corporate Communication (DCC) of the SANDF.
“The new vessels follow the heritage path of their predecessors to continue with names of celebrated South African warriors,” a statement read.
SAS Sekhukhune (P1571) will be the first MMIPV in service come next year. Initial indications were she would join the fleet either in September or October and no reason is given for the delay in handover. The first hull was put into the water at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront in March this year before being moved to the Elliot Basin for further fitting and finishing work.
The other two MMIPVs are SAS Adam Kok (P1572) and SAS Shaka (P1573). No delivery dates are given other than that a keel-laying ceremony for hull three took place at Damen Shipyards Cape Town on 22 October.
Delivery dates to the SA Navy were initially scheduled as August 2021, September 2022 and January 2024.
The Adam Kok name is not new, with former Minister Class strikecraft SAS Frederick Creswell renamed SAS Adam Kok (P1563) post 1994 and ostensibly scrapped at least eight years ago after being towed to then Naval Station Durban and then on to fleet headquarters at Simon’s Town. The name SAS Shaka was once proudly carried by another of the then SAN strikecraft, SAS PW Botha (P1562), and sunk as a target in 2005.
Sekhukhune’s 49-strong crew under the command of Commander Jabulani Mashamba is training at Simon’s Town in anticipation of their new berth’s arrival. Mashamba has seven officers, two warrant officers, 19 senior rates and 21 junior rates helping him in his tasking of patrolling South Africa’s inshore waters for poachers, traffickers and others committing maritime crime.
Before going to sea, Sekhukhune will have to successfully complete sea acceptance trials. On completion of these she will be commissioned and depart for Naval Base Durban – her home port – on an as yet unspecified date.