South African Navy readies for exercise Atlasur IX


The South African Navy is preparing to host Exercise Atlasur IX, a multinational maritime exercise between the navies of South Africa, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.

The aim of the exercise is to improve co-operation between Brazilian, Argentine, Uruguayan and South African armed forces as well as re-affirm tactics and procedures relating to maritime interdiction operations and anti-piracy operations.

The exercise will be conducted in False Bay, Hermanus, Simon’s Town and Hout Bay over the period September 24 to October 10, 2012.

Previous exercises between the nations generally involved cooperation between the maritime and air forces at sea. This year, in a major change to the preceding years, the general public will be able to watch a number of drills, as the exercise will also include a simulation of a major harbour fire with medical emergencies and a VIP rescue operation in a non-naval harbour. Hout Bay harbour will be the venue of the latter exercise.

At sea activities will include formation keeping, gunnery, replenishment at sea and anti-submarine exercises.

The frigate SAS Amatola, currently on anti-piracy patrol off the Mozambican coast as part of Operation Copper, will return to the Cape to participate in the exercise, together with the submarine SAS Queen Modjadji 1 and the Maritime Reaction Squadron. Other participating South African National Defence Force (SANDF) elements include the South African Air Force (SAAF) with Hawk jets and C-47TP maritime surveillance aircraft, the Special Forces and the SA Medical Health Services.

The frigate ARA Spiro is representing the Argentine Navy. This MEKO 140 class frigate is similar to, but older and smaller, than the MEKO A200 class frigates of the South African Navy. Brazil is sending the corvette BNS Barroso, while the frigate “ROU 1 Uruguay” will represent Uruguay.

Atlasur originated in 1993 when the navies of the four countries created the opportunity for multilateral security co-operation in the South Atlantic Region. Held every two years, the 2010 event was once again hosted by Argentina and involved the South African submarine Charlotte Maxeke and the Combat Support Ship SAS Drakensburg deploying across the Atlantic to the Argentinean naval base of Mar el Plato.