The live firing section of the SA Navy’s force preparedness exercise Red Lion saw on target hits from a trio of platforms at the weekend.
The Valour Class frigates SAS Amatola and SAS Spioenkop supported by the Heroine Class submarine SAS Manthatisi conducted a co-ordinated torpedo and missile firing against a derelict fishing vessel south-west of Cape Point, in the Pandora training area.
“The objective of the firings was to test the full live firing sequence within the vessels and of the guided weapons and to exercise a co-ordinated and simultaneous attack on a single target by a submarine and frigates.
“All the three guided weapons were launched and detonated successfully on the target,” the Navy’s Captain Zamo Sithole said.
The frigates fired Exocet anti-ship missiles while the submarine fired an Atlas Elektronik SUT 264 torpedo.
Ahead of it being towed to the target site, the Bressay Bank was “properly environmentally cleaned to ensure no pollutants were aboard”. This was to prevent any possible contamination at sea and the necessary clearance certificate was obtained from the Department of Environmental Affairs.
According to Sithole, Exercise Red Lion is held every two years and prepares the SA Navy for combat missions as and when tasked by the Chief of Joint Operations.
Red Lion is the first in a troika of exercises that will see the landward and airborne arms of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) test force readiness. The SA Army will be based at its Combat Training Centre (CTC) in Northern Cape for Exercise Young Eagle with elements based at Vastrap near Upington. The SA Air Force exercise is code-named Winter Solstice and will see it exercise in support of ground-based forces with various platforms.
All the combat arms of service will have full SA Military Health Service support attached to them for the duration of the exercise.
43 SA Brigade, 1 Parachute Battalion and 9 SA Infantry Battalion are the major land-based elements and all told about 2 500 servicemen and women are expected to take part.
Photograph: Doug Drysdale