Joint SA-German naval exercises set for later this month


A German navy frigate is due in South Africa at the end of the month to partake in Exercise Good Hope V, a series of naval and air exercises between Germany and South Africa. According to the South African Navy (SAN), the SAN has always sought to benchmark itself with and take its rightful place amongst the major navies of the world and regular exercises are conducted with foreign navies.

Exercise Good Hope is a large-scale bi-national and joint exercise between the SAN, the South African Air Force (SAAF) and the German Navy and takes place off the waters of South Africa every two years. This series of exercises, the fifth to be conducted in South African waters between the two countries, is also the largest undertaken by the German Task Force Group outside of its NATO obligations.

This year, however, financial considerations and the counter piracy commitments of both navies have meant that Exercise Good Hope V will be conducted off the coast of Mozambique. The aim is to conduct exercises that will facilitate the sharing of expertise in general and anti-piracy operations in particular. The SAN will utilise their frigate currently involved with anti-piracy operations in the Mozambique Channel (Operation Copper).

The German Navy will also be utilising a vessel that is returning from Operation Atalanta, the European Union’s Naval Force counter-piracy operation in the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin.

In order for more forces to be incorporated, the exercise will be split into two stages. The first stage will be conducted within the Mozambican channel, whilst the second stage will be conducted off the eastern and southern coasts of South Africa. This second stage will also include submarine and fast inshore attack craft exercises.

The German Navy will be represented by FGS Lübeck, a frigate which also carries two Sea Lynx Mk 88 helicopters. A Marine boarding team is also present. Just last month the Lübeck forced Somali pirates to release an Indian dhow with 15 Indian mariners held as hostages.

The SANDF will participate with two frigates, SAS Isandlwana off Mozambique and SAS Amatola off South Africa. A Super Lynx Mk 64 helicopter configured for surface search is embarked on the Isandlwana, whilst the SAAF will provide a C-47 TP maritime patrol Dakota in Mozambique. SAS Queen Modjadji 1 will be the submarine component and boarding teams consisting of Special Forces and Maritime Reaction Squadron personnel will assist.

The first phase will take place between February 29 and March 10, whilst the final phase will take place between March 11 and 25. Both Durban and Simon’s Town will be used during this later phase.

The public will be invited to view the South African and German vessels during the annual Navy Festival from March 16 in Simon’s Town.