Publication: Cape Times Issued: Date: 2004-10-26 Reporter: Aziz Hartley

First of Navy's Four Corvettes Ready to Test Hi-Tech Weaponry



Cape Times

Date 2004-10-26


Aziz Hartley

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SAS Amatola, the first of the navy's four new Meko A200 corvettes, has been fitted with an array of hi-tech weaponry, and is undergoing sea trials, says project director Johnny Kamerman.

All would be fitted with identical weapons systems at Simon's Town naval dockyard, including a 76mm gun, 16 vertically launched uMkhonto surface-to-air missiles, a twin 35mm gun and eight surface-to-surface Exocet missiles.

"Work on the second boat, the SAS Isandlwana, is halfway, fitting of systems on the SAS Spioenkop is progressing well and work on SAS Mendi will begin in December. We are on track to meet a deadline of the third quarter of 2005," Kamerman said.

Built at the Blohm and Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany, the corvettes were delivered at three-monthly intervals, with the last corvette, SAS Mendi, arriving in Simon's Town last month.

Kamerman said each vessel would be fitted with a combat suite consisting of electronic command controls and sensors, 75% locally designed and manufactured by 20 hi-tech companies.

Training of personnel to operate the weapons systems was under way.

"A tremendous amount of training goes into preparing crew to operate the weapons systems effectively. A warship is a very complicated machine to handle and training can take as long as 12 months," said Kamerman.

With acknowledgements to Aziz Hartley and the Cape Times.