SA Navy (SAN) fleet headquarters in Simon’s Town next week welcomes a three officer French Armed Forces delegation for an Exercise Oxide mid-term planning session.
This year’s exercise is set for November after cancellations brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated restrictions.
That there would be a joint Franco/South African naval exercise this year was made known last month (April) when the French task force Jeanne d’Arc 2022 ported in Cape Town during a five-month deployment focussed on training cadets from the French Naval College (École Navale). There has – to date – been no information from either the Joint Operations Division of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) or the SAN on exactly when and where the exercise will be held.
In response to a defenceWeb enquiry, Captain (Navy) Alexandre de Lapeyriere, the French defence attaché in South Africa, said he and two officer colleagues from the French Armed Forces in the Southern Indian Ocean would be at SAN fleet headquarters to further plan the conference which is “on track”.
Preferring to leave the nuts and bolts of the exercise as regards serials to the host country’s national defence force, De Lapeyriere said the intention is to “dedicate” air and naval assets to Oxide 2022.
“South Africa and France, as Indian Ocean nations, share common interests including maritime security to a wide extent in their respective EEZs (exclusive economic zones and illegal trafficking.
“This 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.