Navy commits four platforms to Ex Ndlovu


The SA Navy has tasked four platforms to be part of next month’s over-arching SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Exercise Ndlovu.

The Valour Class frigate SAS Spioenkop (F147) with a Super Lynx maritime helicopter embarked will, along with the fleet replenishment ship, SAS Drakensberg (A301), the OPV SAS Isaac Dyobha (P1565) and one of two mine counter-measures vessels, be on station off the Cape west coast next month for the maritime component of the force-wide exercise.

Elements of the Maritime Reaction Squadron will also take part in Red Lion and, dependent on scenario finalisation, there could be Special Forces involved in a maritime insertion and extraction.

While the naval scenario has not yet been finalised at the time of publication it could well finally be written in a way that will see the Navy have to deploy one of its Heroine Class submarines along with another frigate, also with a helicopter embarked Lieutenant-Colonel Piet Paxton, Staff Officer, Operational Communications at Joint Operations Division HQ, said.

The land-based arm of the SANDF, the SA Army, will be headed by 43 SA Brigade with 9 SA Infantry Battalion and 1 Parachute Battalion the major components. The SA Army Air Defence Artillery, which marked its centenary earlier this year, will be based at the Vastrap training area outside Upington for the duration of Exercise Ndlovu with the remainder of the land forces utilising the SA Army Combat Training Centre (CTC) at Lohathla.

This year’s Exercise Ndlovu will see the three war fighting arms of the defence force exercise co-operatively as part of the overall command and control exercise with all contributing to the joint force/joint doctrine concept.

All told, indications are about 2 500 SANDF members will take part in Ndlovu. Among these will be military and ops medics as well as other specialists from the SA Military Health Service.