SAS Isandlwana (F146), the Valour Class frigate earmarked to be number two in line for a mid-life refit, is currently undergoing maintenance to extend her operational capability.
This, according to the Navy’s Captain Zamo Sithole, is because the ship is “awaiting refit funding”.
The maintenance will allow her to remain operational but it appears management of the maritime arm of the SA National Defence Force is not going to allow her too far from home.
defenceWeb has reliably been told no SA Navy frigate will be part of Exercise Oxide starting in September. Instead the hydrographic vessel, SAS Protea (A324), will be the SA Navy’s “working platform” for the exercise with elements of the French naval forces based in the Indian Ocean. The exercise will use the east coast port of Richards Bay as headquarters.
The Type 206 submarine SAS Queen Modjadji (S103) and the OPV SAS Isaac Dyobha (P1565) are, at this stage, the other SA Navy vessels identified for deployment to Richards Bay.
SAS Spioenkop (F147) has, according to Sithole, recently completed a tour of duty in the Mozambique Channel as part of the Southern African Development community anti-piracy tasking Operation Copper. He did not indicate which platform has replaced her.
The fourth Valour Class frigate, SAS Mendi (F148), is undergoing maintenance.
SAS Amatola (F145) steamed into Simon’s Town earlier this month after a midlife refit at Southern African Shipyards (SAS) in Durban. She is now undergoing armament refit and this will be followed by harbour and sea acceptance trials.
Sithole would not give details of participation in exercises and/or operations saying “ships’ movements are confidential and participation details are generally only released after commencement of exercises and or operations”.