SA Navy to buy fifth frigate

Sep 12, 2006
Author: P&S

According to a report in Business Day South Africa is ready to take up an option for a fifth Meko class A200 frigate from the German frigate consortium that built four other ships for the South African Navy.

The four ships, SAS Amatola, SAS Isandlwana, SAS Spioenkop and SAS Mendi have all been delivered although only the first two have so far been handed over by the builders and commissioned into the navy.


SAS Mendi, the fourth new frigate for the South African Navy. Picture Terry Hutson November 2004

The report comes as something of a surprise as there has been no indication in public that the navy was keen to go for the extra ship. In fact there has been serious talk of acquiring a range of ships for offshore patrols and also support type vessels along the lines of a helicopter carrier that would be suitable for sea-land support work.

According to the Business Day the fifth ship would cost considerably more than the R1.2 Billion paid for each of the first four frigates. It suggests a fifth ship would now cost in the region of R2 Bn.

The report also stated that the chief of the navy, Rear Admiral Johannes Mudimu had confirmed the intention of buying the extra ship. He said the original contract had been for five ships but only four were taken because of budget constraints.

The navy is awaiting delivery next year of four AgustaWestland Super Lynx helicopters which will serve on board the frigates a fifth is now expected to be added to the order.


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