SAS Spioenkop due back in South Africa tomorrow after India trip


The South African Navy (SAN) frigate SAS Spioenkop is due to arrive in Simon’s Town harbour on Thursday after a ten week deployment that saw the Valour class vessel take part in Exercise Ibsamar V with the navies of India and Brazil.

The South African Navy said today that SAS Spioenkop will be due back at 9:00 tomorrow after participating in port calls in Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Mauritius.

The frigate docked in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on 10 March. Spioenkop departed Goa, India, for South Africa on 1 March after taking part in Exercise Ibsamar V and the Indian International Fleet Review from 4 February. South Africa was one of 54 countries that attended the Review in Visakhapatnam, with ‘Navies of the World United through Oceans’ as the theme.

After the Naval Review, SAS Spioenkop departed for Colombo, Sri Lanka. The vessel arrived there on the 12th, and hosted a Sri Lankan Navy delegation, before departing for Goa on 15 February.

Exercise Ibsamar V, between South Africa, India and Brazil, began on 18 February with a harbour phase. Next up was the sea phase, which took place between 23 and 26 February. This saw the destroyer INS Mumbai (D62), the stealth frigate INS Trishul (F43), SAS Spioenkop (F147) and the Brazilian Navy patrol vessel BNS Amazonas (P120) participate. The focus was on anti-submarine warfare, surface firing, air defence, visit board search and seizure, flying operations, search and rescue, and tactical procedures, the SAN said. The Indian Navy Shishumar class submarine INS Shalki, Sea Harriers and MiG-29K fighter aircraft, as well as the Lynx helicopter, participated in the trilateral exercise.

Throughout the three-day sea phase, gunners fired at air and sea targets, including towed surface targets. Before sunrise on day two of the sea phase, trainee officers and tactical communications operators practiced Morse code with flashing lights.

Regarding aerial activities, the INS Mumbai’s Alouette III helicopter and SAS Spioenkop’s Lynx conducted cross-deck exercises, vertical replenishments and deck landings.

As Ibsamar had a big anti-submarine warfare component, exercises involved two or more anti-surface warfare units detecting, classifying, tracking and attacking a submarine which in turn measured the ability of the submarine to counter-attack and evade after detection.

The South African Navy said that numerous basic interdiction and boarding exercises were held. South African Special Forces on SAS Spioenkop boarded the INS Mumbai, while the INS Mumbai’s Special Forces boarded Spioenkop.

This was the first time Ibsamar was held in Indian waters as all previous editions were held in South Africa. Ibsamar IV took place off the coast of South Africa in October/November 2014.