A delay in delivery of certain spare and replacement parts means SAS Manthatisi (S101) is still on the synchrolift at the Simon’s Town naval dockyard and is not yet in the water.
The Type 209 diesel electric submarine was one of three acquired by the Navy as part of the 1998 Strategic Defence Procurement Package (SDPP) and was commissioned in November 2005. She has been out of service since 2007 following what was then reported to Parliament as damage to the boat’s electrical systems when “someone” connected the submarine to its high voltage shore service “the wrong way round”.
Last month Flag Officer Fleet (FOF) Rear Admiral Bravo Mhlana told defenceWeb that Manthatisi left the shed, where she underwent major refit and overhaul work, on April 11. She was due to be put back into the water on May 5. This has not happened, a source said, due to a delay in certain parts being delivered to South Africa.
The source indicated planning, at this stage, was for Manthatisi to go back into the water “early in June” with a tentative commissioning date of August 15 set following sea trials.
Part of the refit saw S101 fitted with 480 new man-sized battery cells weighing 250 tons at a cost of around R250 million.
Navy watchers maintain the delays experienced were “normal” because it was the first of type to undergo such major work.
“This meant a steep learning curve for both the Navy and the Naval Dockyard. It must also be remembered the refit did not commence immediately after she came out of the water. It was delayed to allow it to fit into the new scheduled maintenance cycle. This means once she is operational again, the next submarine will move into the maintenance and overhaul schedule,” the source said.
The refit and overhaul work is in accordance with laid down schedules for the Type 209 submarine as well as being in line with the Navy business plan for its underwater craft.