Navy not taking on extra personnel to man MMIPVs

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The SA Navy will not sign on extra personnel to crew its inshore patrol vessels (IPVs), the first of which is planned to go into service by mid next year.

Earlier this year Armscor indicated work on the three platform IPV contract, being executed by Damen Shipyards in Cape Town, was on schedule. Construction of the first platform is on track according to Sipho Mkwanazi, general manager: acquisition at the defence and security acquisition agency. The first steel for platform number two has been cut with delivery of platform three set for 2023 to finish the contract.

The new additions to the SA Navy fleet have not yet been classed or christened and will be known by their pennant numbers for the foreseeable future. These are P1571, P1572 and P1573, following the tradition of “P” for patrol vessels.

Crew requirements for the new additions will, according to SA Navy headquarters, be in the form of personnel manning the current offshore patrol vessels (OPVs). These were the former Minister Class strikecraft, revamped to Warrior Class, with three in service. They are SAS Isaac Dyobha (P1565), SAS Galeshewe (P1567) and SAS Makhanda (P1569).

“The multi-mission IPVs (MMIPVs) form part of the rejuvenation of the SA Navy patrol capability and it will mostly be experienced crew of the current OPVs who will man the new additions. All crew will be fully trained ahead of the SA Navy taking delivery of the new vessels,” the maritime service said in response to a defenceWeb enquiry.

Each new platform will have a crew complement of 49 comprising seven officers, two warrant officers, 19 senior rates and 21 junior rates. Command will be in entrusted to a commander with as lieutenant commander as first lieutenant.

Crew specialisation will be dependent on mission specifics with standing crews having combat, marine engineering and weapons electrical officers. Radar operators, electricians, mechanics and chefs will be ratings.