SA Navy commits two platforms for joint exercise with China and Russia


The SA Navy’s commitment to the first ever exercise in South African waters with Chinese and Russian maritime elements is a Valour Class frigate and the hydrographic survey vessel SAS Protea (A324).

Exercise Mosi starts next Monday (25 November) and ends on Friday, 30 November under the theme “promotion of state navigation and maritime security,” SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Directorate: Corporate Communications (DCC) said in response to a defenceWeb enquiry.

The maritime platforms with SAS Amatola (F145) in the vanguard and, in all probability, carrying a 22 Squadron Super Lynx maritime helicopter will “provide a demonstration of multinational willingness to ensure regional maritime peace and security”. No detail was provided but it appears other SA Air Force (SAAF) assets could be deployed for the exercise. This is apparent from the DCC response which reads, in part, “the SAAF will provide support to the naval forces through provision of some air assets to be used as a launching pad for naval operations”.

The five day exercise will also provide training for “a multinational task force to react to and counter security threats at sea.”

Operations and taskings at sea are expected to include small calibre gunnery, an anti-piracy simulation and “a drill simulating assistance to vessels in distress,” according to DCC.

Cape Town harbour is the venue for all planning for Exercise Mosi where a co-ordination and synchronising exercise is being done. The alongside phase of the exercise will be between 25 and 27 November and will focus on finalisation of planning, finalisation of sea programmes as well as military social and cultural activities.

The sea phase of the exercise will take place between 28 and 29 November and will focus on surface gunnery exercises, helicopter cross deck landings, boarding operations and disaster control exercises.

The exercise will happen in False Bay and will see the South African “debut” of Russian Navy Slava class missile cruiser Marshal Ustinov (055), accompanied by Project Sliva class rescue tug SB-406 and tanker Vyazma. The trio exited Malabo port in Equatorial Guinea earlier this month as part of an extended endurance voyage which started in the Russian Federation Navy’s Northern Fleet main base, Severomorsk.

The Russian contingent is expected in Cape Town on 23 November and will be joined by the 12 700 ton icebreaker Akademik Tryoshnikov. The Marshal Ustinov will be open to the public on 26 November between 9:00 and 15:00, with everyone welcome to come aboard, according to the Russian embassy.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is believed to be sending the Type 054A frigate Weifang (550). The vessel visited South Africa previously, most recently docking in Simon’s Town in June 2018 for a four-day goodwill visit. The Chinese frigate’s expected arrival date in Cape Town is 24 November.

SAS Amatola and SAS Protea will arrive in Cape Town Harbour on 22 November, with a welcome parade on 25 November.