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20 mars 2015 5 20 /03 /mars /2015 08:45
C-47TP maritime patrol aircraft

C-47TP maritime patrol aircraft


19 March 2015 by Kim Helfrich – defenceWeb


The decrease in pirate activity off Africa’s east coast has probably contributed to an SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Joint Operations decision to withdraw air operations from Pemba in support of the anti-piracy Operation Copper.


The Southern African Development Community (SADC) counter-piracy tasking is now in its fifth year of operation with South Africa as the major contributor of both personnel and equipment. Mozambique and Tanzania are the other two SADC nations who have committed to the operation in the Mozambique Channel since its inception in 2011.


The first Operation Copper deployment was early in 2011 following the hijacking of a Mozambican fishing vessel by Somali pirates in the northern reaches of the Mozambique Channel. Lindiwe Sisulu, at the time Defence and Military Veterans Minister, said South African warships were deployed to northern Mozambique along with a C-47TP maritime patrol aircraft from 35 Squadron and a 22 Squadron Super Lynx maritime helicopter. This hardware was supported by a total of 377 uniformed personnel from the air force, military health services and the navy.


Captain (SAN) Jaco Theunissen, Joint Operations spokesman, confirmed this week that Pemba and hence 35 Squadron would no longer be a part of Operation Copper.


“Maritime operations will continue from an SA Navy platform,” he said, declining to answer questions on whether the SAAF would still be part of Op Copper.


At present the offshore patrol vessel (OPV) SAS Galeshewe is on station in the Mozambique Channel having replaced one of her sister ships, SAS Isaac Dyobha.


At various times since the deployment started the Navy has put Valour Class frigates and the supply ship SAS Drakensberg into the seas off the lower east African coast as a piracy deterrent. More recently this task has been the exclusive preserve of the serving OPVs, all converted Warrior Class strikecraft.


The normal OPV crew requirement for an Operation Copper deployment is around the 60 mark including a Maritime Reaction Squadron component, divers, an ops medic and two Mozambican sea riders.


The only South African platform to have been an active part of a counter-piracy operation was Drakensberg. She acted as southern stopper for the EU Naval Force to prevent a suspected pirate ship from escaping the multi-national task force based off the Horn of Africa.


It is not known at present if the term of Operation Copper will be extended. It was last extended for 12 months by President Jacob Zuma, in his capacity as SANDF Commander-in-Chief, until the end of March this year.

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4 mars 2015 3 04 /03 /mars /2015 17:45
Amani Africa ll work session

Amani Africa ll work session


04 March 2015 by Kim Helfrich – defenceWeb


Lesotho’s political instability has seen South Africa step into the breach to host the next stage of preparation for the much delayed African Standby Force (ASF).


The field training exercise Amani Africa ll was originally supposed to have been hosted by Lesotho last October but this was put on hold as a result of political turmoil in that country. South Africa was proposed and accepted as an alternate venue.


This saw a four day long technical work session at the Army College in Thaba Tshwane. It started last Thursday and ended on Tuesday.


A core planning team composed of an AU (African Union) element and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) came to South Africa’s military capital for the work session. It was led by Major General (ret) Samaila Lliya of Nigeria, Exercise Amani Africa ll Exercise Director. His support team included Brigadier General Paulo Francisco of Angola, Amani Africa ll Chief of Staff.


The planning session for Amani Africa ll, set down for the SA Army Combat Training Centre in October/November this year, was chaired by Rear Admiral (JG) Patrick Duze from the SA National Defence Force’s Joint Operations Division. SANDF officers representing the force’s arms of service and divisions also attended.


“SADC is hosting the Exercise, originally planned to have been conducted in the Kingdom of Lesotho late last year. Unfortunately, the political and security situation in Lesotho affected implementation of Exercise Amani Africa II timelines. This meant some critical activities planned for the host country to pave the way for the conduct of Amani Africa ll could not be undertaken in 2014 which necessitated a change of date,” Captain (SAN) Jaco Theunissen of Joint Operations said.


“South Africa has offered to host the Amani Africa ll field training exercise. This will pave the way for implementation of the remainder of the exercise cycle activities. SADC has requested the exercise be conducted in October/November.”


The planning session saw five main activities successfully undertaken. They were a political strategic retreat; AU, regional economic communities (RECs) and regional member states planning meeting; drafting a main events list and a main incident list; an evaluation seminar and strategic and mission headquarters training sessions.


“All objectives set for the technical work session were met and planning is well underway for a purposeful field training exercise that will be conducted efficiently and effectively,” Theunissen said adding the work session was one of the exercise activities that could not be staged in the original host country due to the unstable political situation in the mountain kingdom where voters went to the polls last week.

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19 novembre 2014 3 19 /11 /novembre /2014 06:30
Chammal : Premier bilan de l’intégration du Jean Bart à la TF 50


18/11/2014 Sources : État-major des armées


Après deux semaines passées au sein de la Task Force50, le commandant de la frégate antiaérienne Jean Bart, accompagné du commandant adjoint opérations, s'est rendu sur le porte-avions USS Carl Vinson afin de partager avec l'état major du Carrier Strike Group 1 (CSG 1) les premiers enseignements de cette période d’intégration.


Fort de son expérience récente dans le golfe arabo-persique, le Jean Bart s’est rapidement montré au niveau attendu pour assumer pleinement toutes les fonctions d'un escorteur de la TF 50au même titre que les autres bâtiments américains.


L’amiral Grady, commandant la TF 50, a été marqué en particulier par la capacité du Jean Bart à compléter l’image tactique de la force en reportant un certain nombre de « primo détections », notamment au-dessus du territoire irakien, grâce à ses senseurs performants.


Cette visite à bord du porte-avions a été l’occasion également de visualiser in situ les outils dont dispose l'état major pour planifier et conduire les opérations sur le théâtre du Levant.


Ce premier bilan positif souligne la capacité du Jean Bart à travailler en souplesse au profit du CSG 1. Le Jean Bart assure maintenant, comme les autres escorteurs américains, les fonctions de :

    Sector air defence commander (SADC) : contrôle d’une zone de défense aérienne au profit du CAOC (centre inter-alliés des opérations aériennes) situé au Qatar ;

    Air missile defence commander (AMDC) : défense aérienne du porte avions américain.


En outre, le Panther, hélicoptère embarqué sur le Jean Bart, contribue, aux côtés des MH-60 américains, à assurer la permanence des missions de surveillance maritime de la zone sanctuaire autour du porte-avions. Enfin, l'interopérabilité des moyens français s'exprime également dans le soutien de l'homme amené par l’aumônier du Jean Bart, qui, temporairement seul prêtre catholique de la TF 50, a été envoyé sur trois bâtiments américains pour y célébrer la messe.


Soutien indéniable au dispositif de la coalition, le Jean Bart apporte une plus grande flexibilité à la TF 50.


Par sa présence au sein d’un CSG américain, le Jean Bart manifeste la volonté de la France à jouer un rôle de premier plan dans cette zone, notamment en vue de l’intégration éventuelle d’autres unités française aux côtés des américains, en soutien au gouvernement irakien.


Lancée le 19 septembre 2014, l’opération Chammal vise, à la demande du gouvernement irakien et en coordination avec les alliés de la France présents dans la région, à assurer un soutien aérien aux forces armées irakiennes dans leur lutte contre le groupe terroriste autoproclamé Daech. Depuis le 5 octobre, suite au renforcement du dispositif, les forces françaises s’appuient sur neuf avions Rafale, un avion de ravitaillement C135 et un avion de patrouille maritime Atlantique 2.

Chammal : Premier bilan de l’intégration du Jean Bart à la TF 50
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24 mars 2014 1 24 /03 /mars /2014 17:45
Operation Copper still up and running



24 March 2014 by Kim Helfrich


Any possible review of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) tri-nation agreement on counter-piracy operations in the Mozambique Channel could be an agenda item for next month’s Standing Maritime Committee meeting.


In the meantime it’s business as usual for SAS Spioenkop, the current SA Navy asset on station in the area, according to Defence and Military Veterans Ministerial spokesman Joy Peter.


She said the agreement, between Mozambique, Tanzania and South Africa, remained “effective”.


“As recently as March 21 at a meeting of the Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security reform the governments of Mozambique and Tanzania stressed the importance of bringing into force the trilateral agreement on maritime security signed by South Africa, Mozambique and Tanzania,” she added.


Peter also said no indication has been received for any request to review the tri-national agreement on counter-piracy operations off the lower east coast of Africa.


South Africa is by far the major contributor to Operation Copper, the code name given to the counter-piracy tasking, providing at least one maritime platform as well as a C-47TP maritime aircraft and rotary-winged aircraft including Super Lynx and Oryx. In addition to ship’s crews the Navy has also deployed elements of its Maritime Reaction Squadron (MRS) aboard vessels in the Mozambique Channel.


While the bulk of counter-piracy taskings have been given to the Navy’s Valour Class frigates, offshore patrol vessels and the Navy’s single replenishment vessel SAS Drakensberg have also spent time on station.


SA Air Force’s assets, with the exception of the Lynx maritime helicopters aboard the frigates, are based at Pemba.


The Mozambican contribution has been in the form of sea riders deployed on South African Navy vessels in the area of operations. Further assistance from South Africa’s eastern neighbour has been in the form of co-ordination, collaboration and information sharing in executing the mission objective she said.

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13 septembre 2013 5 13 /09 /septembre /2013 16:45
Namibia hosting SADC special forces exercise

11 September 2013 defenceWeb


The Namibia Defence Force (NDF) is hosting a multinational special forces exercise involving around 600 personnel from Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries.


Military personnel from Namibia, South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Lesotho began arriving in Namibia earlier this month in anticipation of exercise Welwitchia, to be conducted around Walvis Bay.


Preliminary training will take place from September 9 to 29 before the main portion of the exercise is held between September 30 and October 7. The exercise will involve practicing the tactics, techniques and procedures of desert warfare and improving the readiness and interoperability of SADC special forces, the NDF said. It will also improve command and control and give special forces the chance to coordinate anti-piracy operations.


The Chief of the Namibian Defence Force (NDF), Lieutenant-General Epaphras Denga Ndaitwah, officially opened the exercise at Rooikop military base on Sunday, reports the Namibian Sun. He said this was the first time the multinational exercise was being held in desert conditions. The exercise will be directed by Namibia’s special forces commander, colonel Martin Shikomba.


Ndaitwah said the SADC troops fighting rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo is “a clear sign that the region has a mission of bringing and maintaining peace and stability on the continent. This is a mission we cannot postpone if we are able to execute it,” he said.


South African Army Colonel Renier Coetzee earlier this year said that special forces teams are able to provide the SADC Standby Force with unique capabilities, as they utilise “unconventional actions to resolve strategic problems.” Special forces offer a wide variety of capabilities such as reconnaissance, intelligence, offensive action, the protection of vital and strategic interests, the combating of terrorism, combat search and rescue and military capacity development.


“SADC special forces have proven themselves combat ready for deployment during the past four years,” Coetzee said, referring to annual exercises, the most recent of which was held in Lesotho last year. “SADC special forces are ready to take part in the SADC Standby Brigade.”


Each SADC member country has a special forces field of expertise awarded to it. “We have lots of experience we can offer to the SADC,” Coetzee said, as the special forces have done maritime operations, counter-insurgency training and next year will conduct anti-piracy training.

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11 septembre 2013 3 11 /09 /septembre /2013 07:45
Political will and out-of-the-box thinking needed for SADC air defence

10 September 2013 by Kim Helfrich - defenceWeb


A major message coming through on day one of the SA Joint Air Defence Symposium (SAJADS) is that without political will across the region the implementation of a Southern African Development Community-wide air defence network will not become reality.


This was illustrated by defence analyst Helmoed Heitman who told the 350 plus delegates that few understood the potential of air power in peacekeeping, stabilisation and constabulary operations in Africa.


This because air defence was regarded by many of no real relevance in Africa, mainly because it is considered in conventional warfare terms and “the conventional wars there have been in Africa have not been studied”.


He said air power “in one or more forms will always be an element – usually a critical element – of any military operation” on the continent citing its sheer size, the generally large theatres and areas of operation as well as the poor condition of overland transport infrastructure and the small size of the majority of African militaries as reasons for this.


“In most cases air transport will be the only practical means of moving and supplying forces and combat attack and transport helicopters will be the only practical means of focussing and re-focussing combat power as situations develop,” Heitman said.


The relevance of a regional air defence system to South Africa and the wider region, he said, was based on “simple, self-interest”.


“South Africa needs a peaceful and prosperous neighbourhood within which to develop its economy, both to attract vital foreign fixed capital investment and because, as Sergio Vieira, a one-time senior Mozambican intelligence official put it ‘paupers make bad neighbours’ – not that our immediate neighbours are necessarily paupers but their economies are too small to provide the markets we need.


“SADC as such also needs a peaceful and prosperous neighbourhood, for much the same reasons, and also because as former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa said ‘if your neighbour is not stable, you cannot be stable for too long. If your neighbour collapses, the fallout will not respect the boundary between you’.


“The bottom line is South Africa and SADC need the peace, security and stability without which it will be impossible to undertake any meaningful economic activity.”


In this regard he quoted Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula who said: “There is no possibility of development and economic success for a South Africa surrounded by a pool of instability, war and hunger”.


He also warned that it was not only the “good guys” who made use of air power pointing out there were dedicated air routes used for smuggling, among others, valuable mineral ore as well as drugs and weapons.


“Air power in its widest sense will form a key element in many of the security challenges that will face Africa over the next few decades – from the occasional conventional or semi-conventional inter-state war through to insurgency and terrorism to organised crime. The trend is clearly visible and there are good examples to be found in Latin America and South-east Asia.


“The air defence community will need to accept, understand and digest that reality, and then develop a set of doctrines to deal with it. And they will have to persuade their colleagues in the other services of the need to think unconventionally in respect of air defence, not least in how one conducts offensive counter-air operations: Not many would see an infantry platoon placed at an air field or a long-range sniper team covering one from a hill two kilometres distant in that role, but that will in some cases be the only or at least the optimal solution. Imagination is required, not just professional competence.”


In terms of imagination going into air defence systems Lieutenant Commander Ben Wahl, anti-air officer on the SAS Spioenkop, came up with one in his presentation on netcentric integration of air defence systems in SADC.


He said the continuing presence of budget constraints had, in Ghana, been overcome by issuing fishermen with camera capable mobile phones.


“The country knows it cannot properly patrol its fishing waters and bringing fisherman who are on the water into the equation helped enormously. They are taught how to use the phones and once pictures of suspected fish poachers are taken they are sent to a control room from where scarce assets can be deployed without the need for continuous patrolling.”


His innovative approach sees off-the-shelf commercial portable computers, laptops, tablets and mobile phones working together to provide short, sharp burst of information on to commanders to enable fast decision-making when it comes to airspace violations.


He envisages the Internet browser as an example of a simple, cost efficient system to carry this information with the added bonus of information carried being outdated less than a minute after transmission and so obviating the need to make it “hacker-proof”.


Rear Admiral Rusty Higgs, SAN Navy Chief Naval Staff officially opened the 2013 iteration of SAJADs in the absence of Navy Chief, Vice Admiral Johannes Mudimu, at the CSIR Conference Centre in Pretoria.

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