SAS Mendi, the second Valour Class frigate to be taken into service by the SA Navy, is currently berthed in Simon’s town with rigging adorning her superstructure.
At the same time Armscor has issued a tender for rigging services related to the “port engine removal and replacement” of Mendi and another Valour Class frigate, SAS Spioenkop. Spioenkop was the first of class, acquired as part of the 1998 Strategic Defence Procurement Package, which also saw the maritime service of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) regain its underwater capacity with three Type 209 submarines.
Mendi was laid down in Kiel, Germany on June 2002, launched in October the following year and commissioned in June 2004. Spioenkop was laid down in Hamburg four months ahead of Mendi, in February 2002. She was launched in August 2003 and commissioned in March 2004.
Neither the SA Navy, nor the directorate: corporate communications of the SANDF, had, at the time of publication, responded to an enquiry wanting to know if the scaffolding was part and parcel of the midlife upgrade for the Mendi.
This project, according to the Armscor annual report is “currently in the concept phase”.
“It commenced in February 2016 and the focus has been to conduct functional studies aimed at clarifying the functional and logistic requirements of both the platform and combat suite to identify alternative options for satisfying user requirements and to determine the optimum solution.
“The project (as it presently stands) aims to finalise the project study report, which will recommended the preferred option for execution during the next phase, which will commence during the second semester of 2018.”
The tender for rigging services to allow the removal of both frigates’ port engines closes on November 13 with a bidders’ briefing scheduled for Tuesday (October 31).
Photograph: Courtesy of Doug Drysdale via the Unofficial SAAF Website