The latest Submarine Officer Commanding Course of the South African Navy began last month, giving submariners the skills and knowledge to fill new roles in the Navy.
The course began on 23 October, Chief Petty Officer J G Grant reported for Naval Base Simon’s Town Public Relations, and will last 12 weeks, covering a theory phase, a simulator phase, and a practical phase at sea.
The initial phase involves a three-week theory session where learners, also known as Perishers, delve into an array of subjects, including submarine operations, navigation, systems engineering, and tactical warfare, Grant wrote. The theoretical foundation aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the complexities involved in submarine operations. The theory phase also introduces the Perishers to in-country capabilities and organisations beyond just the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).
Following the theory phase, participants progress to a three-week simulator phase. They will have the opportunity to utilise advanced simulators to hone their skills in handling various submarine scenarios, such as emergency situations and combat simulations. This phase will serve as a crucial bridge between theory and practice, enhancing participants’ decision-making abilities and teamwork, the SA Navy said.
The final phase of the course will be a six-week practical phase at sea, where they will apply their theoretical knowledge and simulator experience in real-life scenarios. Under the guidance of experienced mentors, they will gain hands-on experience in submarine operations, including navigation, sonar detection, and strategic warfare techniques. This phase will test their resilience, adaptability, and leadership skills, preparing them for future challenges.
“Submarines play a crucial role in the naval defence strategy of South Africa. These vessels provide the SA Navy with a significant advantage in coastal and offshore operations, including surveillance, reconnaissance, anti-submarine warfare and protection of maritime interests. Submarines offer stealth capabilities, allowing them to operate undetected and gather critical intelligence in various environments. Furthermore, submarines enhance the SA Navy’s deterrence capabilities and contribute to national security. They can effectively enforce maritime boundaries, protect vital sea lines of communication and respond rapidly to potential threats,” the SA Navy said.
“The Submarine Officer Commanding Course is therefore instrumental in ensuring that the SA Navy maintains a highly trained and skilled submarine force capable of safeguarding the nation’s interests.”