The Chief of the Navy will brief the Military Council, a committee of Service and South African National Defence Force division chiefs in the next few months regarding the user requirement for Project Millennium, the undertaking to acquire a helicopter and troop carrying strategic support ship (SSS). .
Vice Admiral Refiloe Mudimu says the ship represents the “first ever joint user requirement (JUR) in the history of the Department of Defence.”
He says the requirement was crafted after extensive discussions with the SA Army, SA Air Force, SA Military Health Service, the Joint Operations Division and other departments.
The admiral says the JUR was ready for presentation to the Military Council at its last meeting for 2008 last week, but time precluded its presentation.
Mudimu says a SSS will help turn the SANDF into a “balanced force”.
“We are very excited at having this capability. As soon as we are ready, as soon as the process is complete, we will make it known.”
The Navy chief says the sea service has its own projections on the time line for acquiring the ship “but in the final analysis” the decision is that of government, he says.
Previous reports have suggested the ship will be acquired in six years` time, in 2015.
The Navy last week confirmed that Defence Update 2025, approved by former defence minister Mosiuoa Lekota two years ago as the blueprint for SANDF force design, only allowed for one SSS. Reports in the international specialist press have suggested two.