SPECIALISTS AT WORK: German marines and SA Special Forces board SAS Amatola from a rigid inflatable during anti-piracy training. Picture: BOB JOHNSTON
Cuts in budgets mean the just completed maritime Exercise Good Hope V saw both the German and South African navies forced to utilise less equipment and manpower than previously – but this did not deter from an overall excellent result.
While the naval exercise, which ended in Simnstown at the weekend, concentrated on the anti-piracy and anti-submarine warfare aspects of naval operations, many aspects of this inter-nation training can be applied to other maritime operations. This includes littoral warfare, where speedy deployment of marine and special forces is essential.
“While the global objective of the Good Hope exercises has always been to conduct joint multinational exercises focused on conventional warfare, the 2012 interaction has concentrated more on the asymmetric threat of piracy. This is a first,” said Capt Micky Girsa, commander of the Combined Maritime Task Group and Officer Commanding SAS Amatola.
The leading role players, ship-wise, were the SA Navy frigate SAS Isandlwana and the German Bremen Class frigate FSG Lübeck, supported by Type 209 submarine SAS Queen Modjadji and SA Air Force MPA C-47TP maritime patrol aircraft and a Super Lynx maritime helicopter. The Germans also supplied a pair of Sea Lynx rotary-winged aircraft and marines – along with SANDF Special Forces and maritime squadron elements.
Boarding exercises, from rigid inflatable boats and helicopters, as well as maritime domain awareness, simulated anti-ship missile firings, seamanship and manoeuvring, with the emphasis on replenishment at sea, were all successfully performed during the three-week exercise. Phase two concentrated on anti-submarine warfare with the German contingent testing local submariners’ evasion tactics to the utmost with dipping sonar.
German Navy task group commander Capt Eike Wetters said the value of the exercise had been added to by the professionalism of the SA Navy.
“Good Hope V has been of great value. It was planned and professionally led by the SA Navy and successfully concluded by all participants.”
While planning is already under way for Good Hope VI, scheduled for 2014, the Navy is now concentrating on IBSAMAR 2012.
This joint exercise sees the SA Navy in a joint exercise with southern hemisphere maritime neighbours Brazil and India in the latter part of this year.
Navy chief director for maritime strategy Rear Admiral Bernhard Teuteberg said all the lessons learnt during Good Hope V would be put to good use during the tri-nation naval exercise.
“We will obviously also be looking at these lessons in terms of the navy’s anti-piracy deployment in the Mozambique Channel,” he said.