Navy seeks 22 ship fleet

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The South African Navy’s blueprint for 2030 forsees a fleet of 22 warships and submarines, which is less than the 26 approved in the 1998 Defence Review but more than the 18 noted in a force design approved in 2007.

The figures are contained in a briefing given earlier this month to the National Assembly’s Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans by the Navy’s Chief Director Maritime Strategy, Rear Admiral Bernhard Teuteberg. The 2030 blueprint provides for the current three submarines and four frigates. It then adds three offshore patrol vessels (OPV) and six inshore patrol vessels (IPV) – all nine to be acquired as part of Project Biro – as well as two combat support vessels (CSV, up from one at present) and three strategic sealift and sustainment (SSS) vessels (Project Millennium). Also on the list is a new hydrographic survey vessel (Project Hotel) as well as a mobile hydrographic survey team.

The six IPV now sought is three more than approved in 2007. The vessels will likely carry the four Project Mapantsula mine countermeasure (MCM) systems required in terms of the 2030 blueprint as required. The 2007 scheme foresaw a need for two MCM systems and three MCM ships. These will be replaced with Biro IPV.

As far as can be determined, Teuteberg did not expand on the need for a additional CSV or the requirement for three SSS. It was previously stated one or perhaps two such vessels were required. It was also suggested they would take over the role of the CSV.

The admiral also tabulated the present Navy of consistent of:
4 Valour-class surface combatants (frigates)

SAS Amatola

SAS Isandlwana

SAS Spioenkop

SAS Mendi
3 Heroine-class sub-surface combatants (submarines)

SAS Manthatisi

SAS Charlotte Maxeke

SAS Queen Modjadji I
3 Warrior-class OPV

SAS Isaac Dyobha

SAS Galeshewe

SAS Makhanda
3 River-class mine hunters

SAS Umkomaas

SAS Umzimkulu

SAS Umhloti
(It is not clear what has become of SAS Umgeni)
3 T-class IPV

SAS Tobie

SAS Tern

SAS Tekwane
1 Drakensberg-class CSV

SAS Drakensberg
1 Hecla-class hydrographic survey ship

SAS Protea

Teuteberg also gave an indication what a navy costs to run:

Costs

Per Frigate

Per Submarine

Per OPV

Comment

Approximate capital acquisition cost

R3bn

R2bn

R400m

According to National Treasury the frigate programme cost R9.69bn and the submarines R8.152bn. This averages to R2.4bn for the frigates and R2.7bn for the submarines.

Annual personnel cost (if staffed to specification

R21.75m

R5m

R5.2m

Average annual operating cost (if spending 1 days at sea @ full operational capability

R25.4m

R5.3m

R11.3m

Annualised life cycle cost (presuming 30 years of service)

R85m

R20m

R15m

Total annual cost

R133m

R30.3m

R32m

Total annual cost over 30 years (excluding acquisition cost and inflation)

R3.99bn

R909m

R960m

(This is a defenceWeb calculation)

From this it an be extrapolated that the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the vessels will at a minimum be:

Vessel

Acquisition cost

Number

Operating cost over 30 years*

Total

Comment

Frigates

R9.69bn

4

R15.96bn

R25.65bn

Submarines

R8.152bn

3

R2.727bn

R10.879bn

OPV

R1.2bn

3

R2.880bn

R4.08bn

R19.042bn

R21.57bn

R40.61bn



* Rear Admiral Chris Bennett (Ret) argues modern ships can operate at full capability for 30 years if properly maintained and crewed and a further 10 years at reduced capability.