MEDIA RELEASE

To: News Editors
From: SA Navy
Date: 03 November 2005
Embargo: Immediate

SA NAVY'S FIRST TYPE 209 SUBMARINE COMMISSIONED IN GERMANY

Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota says the commissioning of the new submarine, S101, for the South African Navy represents the best of naval cutting edge technology both afloat and under the sea.

He was speaking in Kiel, Germany, during the commissioning ceremony of the first of three Type 209 submarines procured for the South African Navy.

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The SA Navy's first Type 209 submarine is commissioned in Kiel, Germany today.

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Minister of Defence, Mosiuoa Lekota hands the submarine protocol over to Chief of the SA National Defence Force, Gen Godfrey Ngwenya.

The submarine was symbolically handed over to  Minister  Lekota, by Dr Popo Molefe, Chairman of the ARMSCOR board.

Minister Lekota said the new submarine would go a long way to ensure that South Africa has the requisite maritime defence capability to provide the highest level protection for South Africa's economy and people, while creating the opportunity to rejuvenate the SA National Defence Force with young talent and diversity in terms of both race and gender.

"Putting South Africa's security requirements into context we must consider that 98% of the country's imports and exports pass through our harbours," he said.  "South Africa is therefore a maritime economy and our strategic geographical positioning as a major international sea route makes it all the more important to have the best possible equipment to secure all of our interests."

The submarine, the Type 209, is one of three boats ordered by the SA government to replace the obsolete DAPHNE class submarines, the last of which was taken out of service in November 2003.

Ownership of the submarine transferred from the shipyard to the SA Navy on 20 September 2005 when the Delivery Protocol was signed.  A framed copy of this protocol was also officially handed over to the Minister at the ceremony. 

The initial commissioning ceremony is a historic occasion during which the South African flag is raised on board for the first time and she is manned for the first time by a fully South African crew.

Chief of the Navy, Vice Admiral Refiloe Mudimu, handed over command to Commander Gary Kretschmer.

S101 is expected to sail on 14 November for the first time under the SA flag.  She will be conducting sea training and a work-up period prior to the submarine's departure for South Africa where she is expected to arrive in late March next year.  She will sail home under own power escorted by the combat support ship SAS DRAKENSBERG.

South Africa is one of 13 countries to procure the Type 209 submarine, which is considered to be one of the most successful conventionally powered class of boats in the world today.

S101 was built in Kiel while her sisters, S102 and S103, are under construction in Emden.  S102 is nearing completion having been launched in April this year.  She is expected to commission in mid 2006.  S103 is due for launching in 2006 and will commission a year later.

Issued by:  Ministry of Defence.
Contact: Mr Sam Mkhwanazi
Contact number: 083 628 0858