Exercise Good Hope IIDate: 20 February 2006
Exercise Good Hope II, the month-long war games between South Africa and Germany from 20 February and 17 March 2006, involved naval and air forces in the Atlantic off the Southern Cape. The mission was to protect a virtual Berlin from attack.
In what has become an annual event for the German Air Force, six Tornados of Reconnaissance Squadron 51 (Immelman) arrived at AFB Overberg in the southern Cape at the end of February. The route included three stops, including Accession Island. Air-to-air refuelling support was proved by KC-135s of 100 ARS, USAF, Mildenhall. Eight Cheetahs of 2 Squadron, SAAF, also deployed to AFB Overberg to partake in exercises with the Germans.
The German Navy Task Group consisted of the frigates 'Rheinland-Pfalz' (F209) and 'Hamburg' (F124), the Combat Support Ship 'Berlin' (A1411) and the ammunition transport Westerwald. The SAN contingent included the frigate 'Amatola' (F145) and the Strikecraft Isaac Dyobha (P1656).
Since 20 February, sea and air forces from Germany and South Africa united in a Joint and Combined military exercise in waters around the Cape of Good Hope. Approximately 1 300 soldiers participated in Good Hope II with the merged ships, aircraft and bases ashore. By creating a joint German/South African naval federation, numerous exercise scenarios could be rehearsed, with interaction by the air forces of Germany and South Africa. The two countries combined their forces and thus it was not the case of country against the other. Included in the exercises was the German Missile-Ex / Kormoran 1.
Commander Boedeker of the German Navy made use of the South African Cheetah aircraft, which defended the naval federation against attacking of Tornados of the Luftwaffe. The Tornados fired Kormoran anti-ship missiles at fleet targets. A high point for the frigate Rheinland-Pfalz was the firing of Sea Sparrow ground-to-air missiles, by using the opportunity of being located in the shooting area south of Overberg to prove its ability in the air defence role. The Cheetahs were also given the opportunity to fire live air-air missiles against ground-launched infra-red targets.
After completion of the common exercise on 10 March, all involved analysed the experiences of the past few weeks. A good example of outstanding co-operation was the crew of the SAAF Oryx helicopter which operated between the ships of the federation and the bases ashore. Major Brian Bell, pilot of the Oryx, said that "co-operation between the South African Air Force and the German navy ran well. In addition, my work was facilitated in that the procedures of both armed forces are very similar with landing and takeoff on a ship." Captain Alan Claydon-Fink recalled two significant examples of the successful work from view of the South African Navy at the conclusion press conference in the hangar of the frigate Hamburg: "We, for the first time in 20 years, gained practical experiences with RAS (Replenishment At Sea) manoeuvres. With the good training and the extensive experiences of the German crews, we could in particular win valuable knowledge in this area. In addition, we obtained new understanding in the process of the exercise within the tactical range." Commander Boedeker rated the standards reached with the air defence exercise as a considerable success. Conditions for success were also the local conditions in the South African shooting area. "There are only a few areas world-wide in which a large-scale exercise can be conducted such as Good Hope II with integrated missile shooting. Also regarding the development of the German navy the manoeuvres beyond the NATO borders was a valuable experience for us."
The Tornados left South Africa on 21 March.
Material from Mail & Guardian and the German Navy. Many thanks to Lloyd Hains of the SAAF for his assistance in compiling this report. All photos have been approved by the SAAF.