New SA Navy sub ready to come home
Jan 19, 2006
The SA Navy’s combat support ship SAS Drakensberg sailed from Cape Town on Tuesday (17 January) en route for Germany to escort the Navy’s first Type 209 submarine, S101, home to the RSA.
S101, the first of three submarines being built for the South African Navy, is currently in Kiel preparing for the long voyage home which commences on 13 February. Following a stopover in Rota in Spain between 22 – 25 February the long haul will begin with the estimated time of arrival in South Africa currently being 22 March.
“The submarine is a major force multiplier and a vital asset to our fleet. We are looking forward to welcoming the submarine and her crew back home where they will work up in local waters before commencing the operational duties that we have planned for them,” said the chief of the Navy, Vice Admiral Refiloe Mudimu.
He said that the arrival of S101 would signal the revitalisation of the SA Navy’s submarine service that has been lacking since the withdrawal of the now decommissioned Daphne Class submarines - the last of which was taken out of service in November 2003.
The highly successful Type 209 submarine, currently in service in 13 navies worldwide, is ideally suited for operations off the RSA coastline.
“This voyage will not only test the SA Navy’s ability to operate submarines for such long distance deployments, but also our ability to support them away from home base for extended periods,” said Mudimu.
S101 was launched by struggle veteran Dr Ruth Mompati in Kiel, Germany, on the 15 June 2004. She was handed over to the SA Navy on 20 September 2005 and commissioned under the command of Commander Gary Kretschmer in Kiel on 3 November last year.
In other navy news the first South African corvette/frigate, SAS Amatola (F145) is expected to be commissioned early this year after which the ship will undertake a visit to South America.
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