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 Post subject: Your ideal SAN
PostPosted: 22 Jul 2019, 17:34 
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Joined: 29 Oct 2014, 17:12
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Location: Durban South Africa
Vessel wise, what would be your ideal South African Navy right now? I'm not talking fantasy here, more realistically and if there was the willingness and budget for it.

Please share.

Here's mine:

5 x Damen IPV's (yes two more than what's on order. 3 operational, 1 working up, one in maintenance)
3 x Damen OPV with embarked Lynx (long range, three-week patrols)
2 x Valour class frigates (Sell two, maybe Isandlwana and Spioenkop as Amatola has had its mid-life refit and Mendi has hardly been used. Keep these as the "tip of sword" and for exercises overseas and showing the flag)
1 x Multipurpose logistics vessel to replace Drakensberg. Something that can be built in Durban as well. Something like this new MPLV from VARD https://www.navalnews.com/event-news/im ... ort-ships/
1 x New Hydrographic vessel being built now

Yes, no Type 209 subs. Sell all three and spend the money on the patrol fleet. They're nice-to-haves and force multipliers but they're a luxury. This is difficult to say as I love subs.

I look forward to seeing the response, whether good or bad.


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 Post subject: Re: Your ideal SAN
PostPosted: 22 Jul 2019, 18:38 
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Joined: 07 Apr 2008, 11:50
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I'd like to se a "two fleet" navy: the ability to maintain the full range of capabities on both coasts. That implies bringing the Durban base up to standard/capacity similar to Simon's Town (minus the "heavy" maintenance facilities that do not need to be duplicated).
* 5 frigates - allows for one at sea and one in port on each coast and the fifth in maintenance (with Lynx choppers and space for an occasional extra Oryx).
* 6 OPVs - two on each coast, one on deep ocean patrol (Prince Edward Islands, down to the sub-Antarctic, SADC or AU co-operation missions) and one in maintenance. (Light utility helicopters - Airbus H145M or similar.)
* 7 to 9 IPVs - base them all around the coast, not only Simon's Town and Durban, also Saldhana, Mossel Bay, PE, EL, Richards Bay
* 4 submarines - the three we have now often leaves us short. One-in-three rotation is too high a work rate for subs, one-in-four is sustainable.
* 1 logistics ship (new Drakies)
Thus the naval helicopter unit needs to expand to have one flight of 8 Lynx, one flight of 8 light helis (H145M or similar) and a flight of Oryx.

In an ideal world (defence budget pegged at 2% of GDP) we should have two LPD/LPHs each capable of delivering a battalion across the beach, with sufficient heavy helicopters and landing craft, as well as a few light choppers. https://web.archive.org/web/20160110215 ... 40-africa/ (In this same "ideal world" the Army has an amphibious brigade of three battalions) This would entail another helicopter squadron for Naval operations.

In case this looks familiar, it is basically my interpretation of "Milestone 5" of the 2012 Defence Review.


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 Post subject: Re: Your ideal SAN
PostPosted: 23 Jul 2019, 13:51 
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Joined: 23 Jul 2004, 15:11
Posts: 913
Location: Centurion, RSA
Not trying to be negative but,
If this is a wish list, does not matter how realistic it is, it will be farfetched, but I will even add mine here. That said, in reality our navy will be nothing more than it is now, and most likely much less in a few years time. There simply is no money for defense or anything except politicians and their cronies' pockets.
That said,
1) I would like to see 6-9 IPV's in the 40-48m class for real inshore patrolling around our harbours and strategic areas.
2) Also around 4-6 OPV's in the 80-86m class with light helicopter capability and light missiles like a marinised Makoppa and a 76mm naval gun with good air defense like on our Frigates. Plus mine sweeping function.
3) 4-5 Frigates as is but with heavier more modern guns (105 or 120) and the proper Surface to surface missiles and ASW.
4) 2 Support ships with improved marine landing capability and multiple helicopters; a combined design (Support & Marines)
6) 3-4 Submarines. Any navy worth anything should have proper submarine capability as it is a massive deterrent!
7) 8x light Maritime search aircraft (single or twin engined) and 8 proper MPA's (Twin or four-engined). For the bigger more capable ones I prefer the C295-MPA.
Dream on as we will never get close to this... :(

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 Post subject: Re: Your ideal SAN
PostPosted: 25 Jul 2019, 15:51 
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Durbanite wrote:
Vessel wise, what would be your ideal South African Navy right now? I'm not talking fantasy here, more realistically and if there was the willingness and budget for it.

Please share.

Here's mine:

5 x Damen IPV's (yes two more than what's on order. 3 operational, 1 working up, one in maintenance)
3 x Damen OPV with embarked Lynx (long range, three-week patrols)
2 x Valour class frigates (Sell two, maybe Isandlwana and Spioenkop as Amatola has had its mid-life refit and Mendi has hardly been used. Keep these as the "tip of sword" and for exercises overseas and showing the flag)
1 x Multipurpose logistics vessel to replace Drakensberg. Something that can be built in Durban as well. Something like this new MPLV from VARD https://www.navalnews.com/event-news/im ... ort-ships/
1 x New Hydrographic vessel being built now

Yes, no Type 209 subs. Sell all three and spend the money on the patrol fleet. They're nice-to-haves and force multipliers but they're a luxury. This is difficult to say as I love subs.

I look forward to seeing the response, whether good or bad.


As I look at this 'ideal SAN' suggestion, which is in my opinion highly practical and fit for purpose - I wouldn't change much in this excellent assessment of needs - save for the submarines which I would keep in my scenario, especially for Special Forces covert operations. Here the sub has proven its worth time and time again. So I would go for the above listed ship categories, and numbers. Obviously a lot of thought has gone into this suggestion by Durbanite and I think his ideal is becoming my wish list in terms of what "could be" and provide a great future operational effectiveness.


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 Post subject: Re: Your ideal SAN
PostPosted: 29 Jul 2019, 15:43 
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Joined: 20 Sep 2005, 16:12
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I would not get rid of the subs.
The subs, as stated, are a magnificent force multiplier, and have many roles.
They would be by far our most dangerous maritime weapon if this country had to defend itself.
They also play a huge role in training the surface vessels in ASW measures...an oft overlooked role.
Regaining capabilities the subs provide, if they are lost, would take a huge amount of treasure and time to ever recover.
Getting rid of the subs blunts our offensive and defensive naval capabilities massively...all out of proportion.

I would seriously look at multi-role IPV and OPV's with a minewarfare capability. See the Flyvefisken class from 30 years ago with the Stanflex system as an example. There are moves towards this type of system, albeit modernised, in other navies (USA, France, UK).
See BMT's Venari 85 as an example of a common hull with flexible systems for mine combat, hydrographic, and patrol functions.

We have a shoreline approaching 3000km long, with its resources, astride a major sea route, with a huge percentage of our imports and exports coming by sea through our ports.
Our core capabilities should be patrolling and interdicting that coastline, sea route, and ports.
This means subs, frigates, minewarfare/patrol vessels, and the ability to replenish said vessels.

Subs-minimum 3, but ideally 4 for availability reasons.
Frigates- minimum 4, but ideally 6, for a 2 fleet ( Atlantic and Indian) system. The huge growth of the Chinese and Indian fleets, whereas it was only the Atlantic side before, is illustrative.
A multipurpose replenishment/ combat support vessel.
A fleet of combined patrol/minewarfare vessels, with fexible/containerised systems.
Do not forget our Prince Edward/Marion Island group...its resources have been stolen before, and it sits close enough to the Round the Cape shipping route to be very important.
A hydrographic ship, based on one of the OPV's/MCMV above...all built and serviced locally, with commonality of spares and maintenance.

Any other vessels, such as amphibious landing/ support vessels spoken about years back, are not needed.
We did one naval landing in SWA over a hundred years ago, when transport links and aviation/motorised technology was primitive.

A fleet such as above need not necessarily be expensive, as long as intelligent aquisition and funding is adhered to.
Certainly, the crewing manpower component on such a fleet would be either on par with, or actually less than our previous 1960/70's manpower requirements.


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 Post subject: Re: Your ideal SAN
PostPosted: 29 Jul 2019, 19:40 
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Mine countermeasures comes in a couple of suitcases/crates these days, the age of the dedicated MCM ship is over. The types of towed sonar and ROVs used for minehunting and destruction can be operated from a rubber duck or two.


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 Post subject: Re: Your ideal SAN
PostPosted: 07 Aug 2019, 15:08 
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Joined: 29 Oct 2014, 17:12
Posts: 151
Location: Durban South Africa
Thanks for all the responses so far.

I hear what some of you are saying regarding the subs. My ideal SAN is a very realistic look at things.

In my view we should move to a very patrol-centric fleet. Even keeping 2 frigates and ordering a replacement for Drakensberg is a luxury that we probably cannot afford.

I believe the IPVs being built will have containerised MCM capabilities? So that takes care of that. I agree, the days of dedicated MCM ships are dead.

I forgot to add my two cents regarding aircraft. The 4 Lynx helicopters would be sufficient for the OPVs but we desperately need planes. So I would say 4 MSA aircraft (Diamond DA62 with turret)) and 2 MPAs (modded C-130s).


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 Post subject: Re: Your ideal SAN
PostPosted: 07 Aug 2019, 15:30 
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Joined: 29 Jun 2004, 17:19
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Durbanite, interesting discussion and one that I'm sure is being held at Naval HQ!

I hear what you say about the vessels, but I don't think your MSA/MPA aircraft are appropriate.

Sure the DA62/Beechcraft King Air 350 are ideal for inshore work, we could use five of them as a minimum for both east and west coast work.

We also require a longer range patrol aircraft as a result of our international SAR obligations, but C-130s are not ideal for low level work, bumpy as hell and too much unused volume in the cargo hold. I'd look at something like the C-295/ATR-72 class, perhaps only three.

Or even a few MALE UAVs from Denel or other local producer for the long-range maritime surveillance mission. Not as useful/capable as a manned aircraft, but cheaper in certain scenarios.

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