Submarine number 2 is launched
May 6, 2005
Minister pledges subs will be sailed home
S102, the second of three submarines on order from the German Submarine Consortium, was launched in Emden on Wednesday, 4 May 2005, with struggle veteran Mittah Seperepere delivering the traditional bottle of sparkling wine across the boat’s hull.
Speaking at the launch ceremony at the Noordseewerke GmbH, deputy defence minister Mluleki George repeated the assurance given in South Africa recently by defence minister Mosiuoa Lekota that the new submarines would be sailed to Simon’s Town by South African Navy officers and crew.
This was in response to claims made earlier that the navy lacked the ability and trained personnel to sail the submarines home and that consideration was being given to having them ‘delivered’ as deck cargo on heavylift ships. George described these comments as both unfortunate and premature and challenged critics to approach the ministry of defence for information before ‘sowing doubts and confusion in the public mind.’
He said it was important for the navy to sail its new submarine home as it presented an ideal opportunity for further training and experience and to further test the submarine and its equipment, including the navy’s ability to support the submarine during a long voyage.
He indicated the support vessel most likely to be used in the first instance was the combat support vessel SAS Drakensberg.
The first of three submarines, S101 is due for delivery later this year. S102 will now undergo fitting out and S103 is due to be launched during 2006.
A number of navy personnel are undergoing training in Germany and others in India.
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