Joint naval exercise Atlasur IX progressing well

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The small fishing village of Hout Bay on the Cape Peninsula will come alive this weekend when Naval, Air Force and Special Forces assault the harbour as part of a VIP rescue exercise.

The rescue mission over the period 7 to 9 October is just one aspect of Exercise Atlasur IX, a multinational maritime exercise currently underway between the navies of South Africa, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.

The South African Navy has warned the residents that fully equipped soldiers would be moving about within the suburb. Hout Bay is within the Cape Town environment, surrounded by the ocean and Table Mountain National Park and was specifically chosen to conduct this part of the exercise. The Navy says that residents might see the soldiers move around town whilst executing their tasks, but they would not, however, be engaging or troubling any residents.

Exercise Atlasur commenced on 25 September, with the Task Group heading out to sea for the first sea phase on 28 September. SAS Umzimkulu led the Task Group safely out of Naval Base Simon’s Town with Captain (Navy) Andre de Wet, Commander Task Group and his team on board the South African frigate SAS Amatola. The balance of the Task Group is made up of ARA Espora (Argentina), BNS Barroso (Brazil) and ROU Uruguay (Uruguay). The South African submarine SAS Queen Modjadji I, which recently underwent repairs after hitting the seabed whilst performing submerged safety drills during August, is also participating in the joint exercise.

The Task Group has successfully completed a number of exercises, including Officer of the Watch manoeuvres, night steamings and a Task Group Photo Exercise with SAAF Oryx, Super Lynx and Brazilian Lynx helicopters. Vertical replenishment and cross-deck landing exercises have also been performed. Night firings have involved BNS Barroso lighting up the moonless night sky with Star Burst flares followed by shells from her guns. Air Defence Exercises involved simulated attack profiles by two Hawk jets.

Activities of the past few days have included Anti-Submarine Warfare exercises and tasks involving Special Forces. Further exercises will be conducted in False Bay and the southern Cape Coast near Hermanus until 10 October.

Rear Admiral (JG) Hanno Teuteberg, the Exercise Director for this exercise said: “The professional skills and experiences which will be exchanged during this exercise’s interaction would help in enhancing cooperation and understanding the nuances of combating maritime threats of terrorism and piracy.”

The ships and frigates of the participating navies will be docked at the Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront for public viewing on Thursday 4 and Friday 5 October.