With the start of the sixth Exercise Good Hope looming ever larger it appears the South African Navy will have two platforms participating in any number of tasks with four German Navy vessels.
Initial indications from the maritime arm of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) were that three platforms – a Valour Class frigate, a Heroine Class submarine and a River Class mine hunter – would take part in the exercise.
The naval elements will be supported by a Super Lynx maritime helicopter, embarked aboard the frigate for the duration of the exercise, a pair of Oryx medium transport helicopters and a 35 Squadron C-47TP maritime surveillance aircraft as well as detachments from both the Special Forces and the Maritime Reaction Squadron.
Confirmation has been received from fleet headquarters in Simon’s Town that SAS Spioenkop (F147), under the command of Captain (SAN) Mark Boucher and with a crew of 155, and SAS Manthatisi (S101), commanded by Commander Russell Beattie with a 42-strong crew, will by the South African maritime assets in the exercise.
The mine hunter SAS Umhlothi is currently not seaworthy and is not expected to be approved as such before the exercise starts on March 2.
The German contingent comprises the frigates Hessen (flagship), Karlsruhe and Brandenburg accompanied by the Type 702 supply ship, Berlin. All four are expected in South African waters on March 1 and will port in Simon’s Town the following day.
First on the Exercise Good Hope agenda is harbour training with SA Navy elements until March 12 after which two days are taken up with a harbour visit to Cape Town for the German ships.
The exercise is set to finish on March 27.