Crucial SA Navy projects on track

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Several key SA Navy projects are funded, on track and unlikely to be delayed by current political events or next year’s general election that will probably see the ruling African National Congress (ANC) returned to power, albeit with a smaller majority following its recent split.    
Former defence minister Mosiuoa Lekota, his former deputy Mluleki George and several other high profile ANC politicians have broken away from their political home after the sacking, by the party, of President Thabo Mbeki.
They are currently forming a new party, to be called the Congress of the People, a name taken from a pivotal political event in 1955, where a Freedom Charter was adopted.         
The SA Navy, meanwhile, has a number of key programmes underway to further rejuvenate its capital equipment, following the successful acquisition and commissioning of four Valour-class MEKO A200SAN frigates and three Heroine-class Type209 1400MOD diesel-electric submarines.
The Navy now has four further projects on the Strategic Capital Acquisition Master Plan (SCAMP), the Department of Defence`s list of approved and funded procurement projects.
The first, alphabetically, is Project Biro, the acquisition of a new class of multipurpose patrol vessels (MMPV), the second is Project Hotel, the purchase of an ocean-going hydrographic vessels compatible with the Biro vessels, to replace the 30-year-old SAS Protea, Millennium, the procurement of one or two strategic support ships and Xena, the equipping of the amphibious Maritime Reaction Squadron. Xena includes the buying of 15 10.3m high-speed rigid-hull boats.            
     
SA Navy chief director maritime warfare Rear Admiral Bernard Teuteberg says the Navy is currently generating the user requirement for projects Biro and Hotel and will likely issue Requests for Information (RFI) and Requests for Proposal (RFP) next year.
SCAMP funding starts from 2011. “The money is allocated on SCAMP. The plan is well conceived and derived from the [1996] Defence White Paper and [1998] Defence Review. I`m confident they [the projects] will go ahead as planned.” 
Teuteberg also corrected misperceptions regarding the number and type of MMPVs contemplated. Previous reports have indicated up to 12 of the offshore patrol vessels (OPV) being ordered. “There`s never been mention of 12,” he says. SCAMP, it appears, contemplates three large OPV and three smaller inshore patrol vessels to replace the current Warrior-class OPVs and River-class inshore minehunters.               
Millennium will only follow after 2015, previous reports have indicated.
Xena is already underway. The Navy in its segment of the Department of Defence`s latest annual report says R14 million was allocated to Xena in the 2007/8 financial year. R14 million more is allocated in the current budget and R57 million more is said to follow.