US destroyer readies for APS deployment from Simon’s Town

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The United States Navy Aegis class guided missile destroyer, USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) that docked in Simon’s Town on Saturday morning, departs for Mauritius,Reunion and Tanzania on Wednesday for the second leg of its six-month African Partnership Station cruise.

She has already conducted joint training with the Djibouti and Kenyan navies.

The US Navy and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration launched the APS off West Africa in 2007 “to help African nations achieve stability and economic prosperity through civilian-military maritime mentoring as well as military-to-military training.”

Seeing the benefits of the program, “African officials on the other side of the continent asked for similar help,” America.gov reported earlier this year. This paved the way for the first APS visit to Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya in March this year by the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Robert G. Bradley.

The USS Arleigh Burke made her first port visit to South Africa in Durban on Monday last week. Two days later, she departed Durban and proceeded with a passage exercise en route to Simon`s Town with SAN frigates SAS Amatola and SAS Mendi as well as offshore patrol vessel SAS Galeshewe.

During the passage exercise to Simon`s Town, the Arleigh Burke and the Amatola conducted formation independent firing exercises.

This involved firing 15 rounds from the 5-inch gun and 500 rounds with the Phalanx Close-In Weapon System at a floating “Killer Tomato” target.

The vessels would then change position and the Amatola would fire at the target using her 76-mm gun. 

According to Ensign Martin Treppa, (Tomahawk) Strike Officer aboard the Arleigh Burke, the South African frigates were the largest and most modern vessels they have seen since leaving the southern coast of Britain and arriving in the Mediterranean

“It`s always great when two partner nations can schedule meaningful and productive events such as these,” added Captain James Tranoris, Commander, Task Force 363. “It not only enhances the professional element of each of our navy`s ability to work with one another for a safer maritime domain, but renews the strong ties of partnership we have with South Africa.”