As Denel gets ready to revive the Naval Dockyard facilities in Simonstown, the company is collaborating with thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (tkMS) for joint support of the SA Navy frigates and submarines.
Denel, which is a global supplier of world-class defence products and solutions, and tkMS, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on-board the SAS Amatola, in Rostock, Germany.
The co-operation is based on the recognition of the critical importance of the operational availability of the South African Navy Fleet at all times.
Denel’s Maritime division will take responsibility for maintenance and upgrades on three heroine-class submarines (SAS Manthatisi, SAS Charlotte Maxeke and SAS Queen Modjadji) and four valour-class frigates (SAS Amatola, SAS Isandlwana, SAS Spioenkop and SAS Mendi). The vessels were commissioned by the SA Navy between 2005 and 2008.
The agreement creates a framework in which tkMS, the original manufacturer of the submarines and frigates, will provide technical and shipyard support as subcontractors to Denel. It will include quality assurance and procurement, on-site technical support, the transfer of technology and the development of the local supply chain. The training of Denel’s technical personnel will take place in Germany.
“This is a major breakthrough for the South African maritime sector as Denel becomes responsible for specialist services on some of the world’s most-sophisticated submarines and frigates,” says Zwelakhe Ntshepe, acting CEO of Denel.
As the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of the South African Navy (SA Navy) MEKO A-200 frigates (valour-class) and the SA Navy 209/1 400mod submarines (heroine-class), tkMS will provide general support with regard to the Dockyard operations, infrastructure, and maintenance. In addition, the company will provide technical support for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of the frigates and submarines in the Dockyard, with all activities focused on ensuring that the SA Navy ships are able to spend maximum time protecting South Africa’s maritime territory.
“These vessels are the sharp end of South Africa’s naval forces and the primary protectors of our coastline against possible intruders and illegal incursions into our territorial waters.
“We are smoothing the waves for the growth of South Africa’s future maritime and shipbuilding industries,” says Ntshepe. “The benefits of this agreement will cascade down into the Simon’s Town community, the Western Cape economy and the entire local defence and technology sectors,” says Ntshepe.
This is a major boost for Operation Phakisa, government’s broad strategy to develop the ocean economy and unlock the potential of the country’s vast coastline. The experience Denel gains on the pride of South Africa’s naval fleet will soon become available to other state-owned vessels and enable Denel to expand into the commercial sector over the long term. The agreement with tkMS forms part of Denel Maritime’s strategy to establish key strategic alliances in the maritime sector.
“Both tkMS and the South African Navy have demonstrated their confidence in Denel’s ability to look after our country’s most valuable naval assets. We are confident of our ability to take over these responsibilities,” says Ntshepe.