South Africa’s State-owned defence industrial group Denel has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS). This agreement will allow Denel’s Maritime division to take responsibility for the maintenance of, and upgrades to, the South African Navy’s (SAN’s) four Valour-class frigates and three Heroine-class submarines.
“This is a major breakthrough for the South African maritime sector as Denel becomes responsible for specialist services on some of the world’s most-sophisticated submarines and frigates,” affirmed Denel acting CEO Zwelakhe Ntshepe. “These vessels are the sharp end of South Africa’s naval forces and the primary protectors of our coastline against possible intruders and illegal incursions into our territorial waters.”
TKMS is the original builder of both the SAN’s frigates and submarines and the MoU establishes a framework through which the German group will act as subcontractors to Denel, supplying technical and shipyard support. This will include technology transfer, quality assurance, procurement, local supply chain development, on-site technical support and the training of South African technical personnel in Germany.
The German group will also supply general support to the Dockyard, covering infrastructure, operations and maintenance. It will further contribute technical assistance for the maintenance, repair and overhaul of the frigates and submarines at Simon’s Town.
Denel sees the agreement as a significant impetus to the South African government’s Operation Phakisa, which is aimed at stimulating the country’s maritime economic sector. “We are smoothing the waves for the growth of South Africa’s future maritime and shipbuilding industries,” he highlighted. “The benefits of this agreement will cascade down into the Simon’s Town community, the Western Cape economy and the entire local defence and technology sectors.”
The MoU was signed aboard the frigate SAS Amatola, in Rostock, in Germany. Denel is in the process of taking over responsibility for the Simon’s Town Dockyard (not to be confused with the co-located Simon’s Town Naval Base) from Armscor.