SA Navy corvette handed over

Sep 30, 2003
Author: P&S

South Africa’s newest warship, the Valour class stealth corvette SAS Amatola has been handed over at a ceremony at the Blohm+Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany after completing successful sea trials.

SAS Amatola sails for South Africa in the charge of her commanding officer, Captain Guy Jamieson, and a crew of about 100. The crew has been with the ship for some time acclimatising themselves and getting ready to sail her to South Africa. Amatola is due in Simon’s Town early in November, where the combat suite will be installed.

South Africa has three other Meko A200SAN class patrol corvettes under construction – SAS Isandlwana, SA Spioenkop and SAS Mendi – numbers 1 and 3 at the Blohm+Voss yards in Hamburg and 2 and 4 at the HDW shipyards in Kiel. Once all are in service the four ships will form the main striking power of the navy.

The ship has an overall length of 121m and a beam of 16m and is powered by COADG-WARP (combined diesel and gas turbine - waterjet and refined [controllable pitch] propellers). Her top speed is likely to be in the region of 30 knots with an economic cruising speed of slightly above 20 knots. The ship operates with a design draft of 4.4m.

Once fitted the ship’s armaments are to consist of surface-to-surface Exocet missiles, South African-designed surface-to-air Umkhonto missiles, a 76mm gun (taken from the strike craft fleet) plus a twin 35mm gun and decoy rockets. The intention is to ultimately equip the ships with Lynx helicopters but in the interim Oryx military helicopters are likely to be substituted.

The ship’s steel hull is divided into more than ten watertight compartments and outwardly shaped for low (stealth) radar signature.

South Africa also has three class 209 type 1400SAN submarines under construction in Germany to replace the remaining Daphne class submarines currently in service.

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