SA Navy commissions first of four frigates
Feb 17, 2006
It was a proud day for the South African Navy on Thursday, 16 February 2006 when SAS Amatola, the first of four new frigate/corvettes built for the South African Navy by the German South Africa corvette consortium, was commissioned into the South African Navy.
The Meko A-200 type stealth ship, officially designated a corvette although in every respect she is a ‘frigate in waiting’, has been fitting out for the past year at the Simon’s Town Dockyard along with three sister vessels, SAS Isandlwana, SAS Spioenkop and SAS Mendi. Their arrival marks the arrival of the navy’s first modern fighting ships in several decades and a return to ‘big ship’ capability for the navy.
SAS Amatola manoeuvring at speed before her armament suite was fitted - click image to enlarge
Three submarines which are also being built in Germany are due to begin arriving in South Africa shortly – the first boat, S101 was scheduled to sail for South Africa within the next month together with her escort, the combat supply vessel SAS Drakensberg but may be delayed because of technical difficulties experienced on her sea trials.
SAS Amatola (F145) displaces approximately 3,500 tonnes and has a length of 121m with a beam of 16.34m. The ship is equipped with a CODAG-WARP propulsion system consisting of diesel and gas turbine engines powering a waterjet and twin-shaft refined propellers. Her weaponry consists of a 76mm main gun, a 35mm dual purpose gun, 16 surface-to-air missiles and 8 Exocet MM40 surface-to-surface missiles (that has provision for increasing to 16), plus decoy rockets. The high degree of stealth technology in her design makes the class extremely difficult to detect by radar and other electronic methods.
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