The SA Navy has created an operational sea training (OST) section to capitalise on lessons learned last year by the sea service and the crew of the frigate SAS Amatola.
The frigate last year successfully completed the Royal Navy’s (RN) Basic Operational Sea Training (BOST) work-up inspection, the first SA ship to do so. But several shortcomings were identified and the cost of deploying a frigate to the UK to participate in BOST is high.
The RN describes BOST as a “demanding but rewarding six week period, during which time the whole ship’s organisation is thoroughly trained, with the objective being to ensure that a … ship is at the right level of operational capability to progress to the multi-national, task group training…”
The SA Navy`s chief director maritime strategy Rear Admiral (R Adm) Bernard Teuteberg says the OST answers to the director fleet force preparation at Fleet Command and will “assist us to get our ships up to the level of capability (LOC) at which we want it to be.”
Navy director maritime plans R Adm (Junior Grade) Sagaren Pillay says the required LOC for any deployed naval vessel is determined by the Joint Operations Division of the SA National Defence Force.
The Navy`s capability model, he adds, consists of five levels, namely:
· NLOC: No LOC
· SLOC: Safety LOC
· BLOC: Basic LOC
· FLOC: Functional LOC
· OLOC: Operational LOC
Ships classified as FLOC or OLOC are deployable.
Pillay says a ship and the fleet`s LOC is a function of available personnel, equipment, facilities and consumables.
In this regard he notes that between 2003 and this year the price of fuel escalated from R4000 a ton to about R11 500 a ton at peak. “That has a significant impact on the navy`s directed level of capability,” he says.
Teuteberg says ships sent in future to the RN for OST will first have to pass the SAN`s version. “You have to do it [locally] first before you go there, so the learning curve is flatter,” he says.