Exercise Red Lion, the naval component of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) force preparation and combat readiness Exercise Ndlovu, has to date gone “well” according to the maritime arm of service’s Senior Staff Officer Surface Warfare.
Captain Michael Boucher is task group commander for Red Lion and he this week expressed satisfaction with the exercise so far.
“We are now moving into the combined aspects of Ndlovu such as firefighting, disaster management, VIP hostage release and local guarding. This will see the Navy’s Maritime Reaction Squadron (MRS) in action as well as other naval elements that will be involved in local guarding and the disaster relief components of the exercise,” he said.
Boucher said Red Lion up to now had seen “a lot of tactical staff work” with officers taking on other roles to gain maximum experience. Other areas of naval operation that have come under the microscope to date include inter-ship communications and live firing. This saw a co-ordinated and successful torpedo and missile firing against a derelict fishing vessel south of Cape Point in the Pandora training areas.
“At the beginning of Red Lion 2016 we reviewed the previous exercise to learn from mistakes and will take note of this year’s exercise with a view to minimising errors and mistakes the next time around,” he said.
Red Lion has and will still see the Navy rehearse all spectra of maritime conflict, three dimensional warfare, constabulary and benign operations before it wraps up on July 29.
The local guarding exercise, currently underway, will assess the conduct of emergency procedures and drills at shore establishments with the disaster exercise testing inter-agency co-operation.
Boucher said attention would also be given to providing practical training platforms to assess principal warfare officers, exercising maritime procedures during a light air strike as well as the integration of anti-submarine warfare procedures between surface vessels and a submarine.
The Navy this week warned Simon’s Town residents Exercise Red Lion “might impact” on their daily activities.
As part of the local guarding exercise, all incoming and outgoing vehicles will be searched at all military entrance and exit points.
The disaster relief component of the exercise will be confined to the west yard of the Simon’s Town naval base but pedestrians and local businesses have been told “not to be alarmed or frightened by local noises” coming from the area.
“Loud bangs, blank R5 firings, mock riots and small controlled fires are all part and parcel of the exercise,” Navy communications officer, Commander Cara Pratten, said.