SAS Spioenkop (F147)

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SAS Spioenkop (F147)
Career (South Africa) South African Navy ensign
Namesake: Battle of Spion Kop
Ordered: 3 December 1999
Builder: Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft, Kiel
Laid down: 28 February 2002
Launched: 2 August 2003
Christened: Spionkop, F147
Commissioned: 16 February 2007
Homeport: Simonstown
Fate: Active service
General characteristics
Class and type: Valour class frigate
Displacement: 3700 tons
Length: 121 metres (397 ft)
Beam: 16.34 metres (53.6 ft)
Draught: 5.95 metres (19.5 ft)
Propulsion: 2 diesels 5,920 kW each, 2 shafts for cruise; 1 gas turbine 20,000 kW, 1 waterjet
Speed: 30 knots (52 km/h)
Range: 8,000 nautical miles (15,000 km) at 16 knots (30 km/h)
Complement: 117

1x Otobreda 76 mm gun
2x 35 mm LIW (Denel) 35DPG dual purpose twin-barreled guns
2x Mk1 Oerlikon 20 mm cannon,
8x MBDA MM 40 Exocet Block 2 surface-to-surface missiles (mounted in two four-cell launchers),

16x Umkhonto surface-to-air missiles (mounted in two eight-cell vertical launchers)
Aircraft carried: 1 × SuperLynx 300 (can carry 2)

SAS Spioenkop (F147) is the third of four Valour class frigates for the South African Navy.


They were manufactured by the European South African Corvette Consortium (ESACC), consisting of the German Frigate Consortium (Blohm+Voss, Thyssen Rheinstahl and Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werf), African Defence Systems (part of the French Thales Group defence company) and a number of South African companies.

The ships were built to the MEKO modular design concept, and they are designated by the manufacturer as the MEKO A-200SAN class. Some controversy exists as to the class type of the vessel, with both the manufacturer and the South African Navy referring to her as a "corvette", but other similar vessels in other navies being referred to as frigates. Some have claimed that the use of the word corvette was a political decision made by the South African government to ease criticism of the procurement of the vessels.

As with all the other ships of the Valour class, the Spioenkop is named after a famous South African battle or instance of great valour. In this case the famous Battle of Spioenkop between the Boers and Great Britain, during the Anglo-Boer War.

The SAS Spioenkop was built at the Blohm + Voss shipyards in Hamburg, Germany, and arrived in South Africa on 31 May 2004. She is currently nearing the final stages of weapons and systems installation and integration.

The commanding officer of the Spioenkop is Captain Chris Manig.

Notable Deployments

Exercise Whippet

The South African Navy conducted its first combined tactical Exocet missile firing exercise. The two frigates, SAS Spioenkop and SAS Mendi, fired two missiles at MFV Azalea, an old fishing trawler given to the SA Navy by I&J fishing company to sink. The firing was conducted on Thursday 28 June[when?] in Exercise Area Pandora, 50 nautical miles (93 km) south of Cape Point.

Operation Sidewy 2007

Exercise Dolphin 2008

A joint naval exercise between Ghana and South Africa. The following ships were involved in the exercise, SAS Spioenkop and the Ghanaian Naval vessels GNS Anzone, Bonsu, Yogaga, Sero and Achimota. Activities included simulated opposed and unopposed boarding, fleetwork as well as rescue assist. To add to this schedule there was a contingent of Ghanaian media representatives onboard, who were ferried between the different vessels.

Exercise Greenpoint 2008

Operation Caraway

The ship conducted a three month, six-country visit to the Far East. Spioenkop visited Singapore from 3–8 October, Shanghai in the People’s Republic of China from 16–20 October, Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia from 25-29 October, Ho Chi Minh City in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam from 31 October to 5 November), Cochin in India from 14-20 November and Port Louis in Mauritius from 26 November to 1 December. The ship conducted naval exercises with the Singaporean Navy, the People’s Liberation Army Navy of the People’s Republic of China, the Indian Navy and the Mauritian Coast Guard. The ship's company also engaged in various diplomatic related activities with all the countries visited.