Poor state of SA’s naval fleet to be on full display at joint exercise


Poor state of SA’s naval fleet to be on full display at joint exercise

Due to the ANC government's ignorance of the last 20 years, the SA Navy is scrambling to have at least two vessels appear functional by the time the joint naval exercise Mosi II with Russia and China gets under way in Richards Bay, writes ERIKA GIBSON.

VLADIMIR PUTIN is sending his best and biggest frigate, Admiral Gorshkov — armed with Russia's answer to the US's Patriot missile — to the joint naval exercise in South Africa. Russia will also be the leading nation during the exercise between February 17 and 27. It forms part of the Gorshkov's maiden international voyage, as well as the first time it will carry the hypersonic Zircon cruise missile.

A replenishment vessel, the Kama, will be close behind the Gorshkov after it departed from Severomorsk, the frigate's home base, in January. There was some discomfort in the US when the frigate practised firing the Zircon in the western Atlantic, especially because the missile has a range of over 1,000km.

Russian media speculated in the past week that the Zircon will be fired during the exercise to add the proverbial “fireworks" to the occasion. But naval experts believe this is unlikely, especially due to the location of Richards Bay and the commercial shipping routes that could be compromised...

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