SAS King Shaka – MMIPV number two – busy with sea trials

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The seagoing component of the SA Navy’s Project Biro is approaching the 66% completion mark with the second multi-mission inshore patrol vessel (MMIPV) working sea trials in False Bay.

The vessel, built by Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT), carries pennant number P1572 and is named SAS King Shaka. She is number two of three inshore patrol vessels with the third – SAS Adam Kok (P1573) – according to Armscor “at an advanced stage” of construction with launch set for “early 2024”.

SAS King Sekhukhune I (P1571) was the first new SA Navy (SAN) inshore patrol vessel to come from DSCT going into active service, some informed naval observers believe, before completing operational testing and evaluation. She took part in this year’s Exercise Mosi II with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA Navy) and the Russian Federation Navy off the KwaZulu-Natal north coast.

The vessel was also part of the SA Navy component of February’s Armed Forces Day events in Richards Bay. Sekhukhune also took part in Exercise Ibsamar off Gqeberha late last year with India and was on hand in the same port city for the SAN World Hydrographic Day commemoration in June this year.

April was initially set down as the delivery date for the second inshore patrol vessel with Armscor not making public reasons for what seems to be a seven month delay. King Shaka, according to Armscor, will be commissioned at Naval Base (NB) Durban, touted at one stage as the patrol squadron’s home port, in October.

All three MMIPVs are DSCT Stan Patrol 6211 design platforms. The 62 metre long, 750 ton vessels have a 20 knot economical speed and a range of 2 000 nautical miles. Apart from a seven and nine metre RHIB (rigid hull inflatable boat) for boarding operations, each vessel is fitted with a Reutech 20 mm Super Sea Rogue marine gun and Reutech FORT (frequency modulated optical radar tracker) low probability of intercept (LPI) optronics radar tracking system.