SAS Manthatisi (S101) is still not back in the water but harbour acceptance trials are underway.
She is the first of three Type 209 diesel-electric submarines acquired by the Navy as part of the Strategic Defence Procurement Package (SDPP) and has been out of service since 2007. This was due to what was at the time reported to Parliament as damage to the boat’s electrical system when “someone” connected the submarine to its high voltage shore service “the wrong way round”.
While out of the water Manthatisi has undergone a total refit and maintenance overhaul, including fitment of new batteries costing more than R250 million. The refit and maintenance work was all done in the Simon’s town dockyard and will serve as a benchmark for future similar work on the Navy’s other two submarines – SAS Charlotte Maxeke (S102) and SAS Queen Modjadji (S103).
Navy spokesman Commander Greyling van den Berg said Manthatisi’s harbour acceptance trials were expected to last until August or September.
“Sea acceptance trials will only commence once the Navy is satisfied all harbour acceptance trials have been completed to rigorous Navy safety standards.
“No hard and fast date has been set for her re-commissioning. The date will be determined by progress of the harbour acceptance trials.
“This is the first time the Navy is re-commissioning a Type 209 submarine. Although the Navy does have knowledge and experience gained from working on the Daphne Class submarines the new boats are different machines with far more complex systems,” he said.
The harbour acceptance trials are being carried out with Commander Russell Beattie in command of S101.