Exercise Oxide, the combined French/South African maritime exercise, moved into top gear at the weekend with a capability demonstration in the Richards Bay harbour.
It showcased the combined operational and tactical procedures between the four arms of service of the SA National Defence Force. Air force, army, military health and navy personnel worked together in a vessel in distress evolution that saw marines from the Navy’s Maritime Reaction Squadron (MRS) and 4 Special Forces Regiment board the offshore patrol vessel SAS Isaac Dyobha, simulating the distressed vessel.
The demonstration included marines performing an unopposed boarding by sea boat, a search and seizure of “pirates”, marines being vertically dropped onto the deck of the Isaac Dyobha by a SAAF Oryx helicopter and a man-overboard simulation. The SAAF maritime surveillance C-47TP dropped a life raft during a fly-past to simulate a search and rescue scenario.
The Navy’s hydrographic vessel, SAS Protea, was used as a grandstand for the demonstration to allow guests to get up close to the action with commentary describing each part of each evolution as it unfurled.
The French component is led by the frigate FNS Floreal based at La Reunion as part of the South Indian Ocean Naval Forces.
This week will see sea-based evolutions including submarine infiltration and high value target extraction.
Exercise Oxide 2015 will come to an end on October 9 when all participants have demobilised and returned to their respective bases.