It was a show of force and teamwork as the navies of South Africa and its South American counterparts took part in “war games” military exercises.
Improving effective communication between the navies was the objective in the 11th edition of the Atlasur “war games”‚ a military exercise that sees military allies take their respective frigates to the open seas and engage in simulated combat.
“Combined‚ we can combat illegal trade” was the theme of the Atlasur exercises‚ which are hosted in rotation between South Africa‚ Uruguay‚ Argentina and Brazil every three years.
TimesLIVE was invited aboard the SAS Amatola‚ one of four valour-class frigates in the South African navy‚ to participate in a unique opportunity to see the navy demonstrate their ability to effectively navigate combat situations such as air attacks and enemy fire.
Rising from their cabins in the early morning‚ the 146-strong crew of the Amatola enjoyed a healthy breakfast of eggs‚ bacon and kippers before taking their stations in the operations centre and the control rooms. The 121m-long frigate then joined a convoy with the Uruguayan and Brazilian ships off the coast of her homeport of Simons Town before running tactical manoeuvres.
“The purpose is two-fold‚ firstly a military dimension of a strategy we have with the countries of South America‚ and secondly it is an opportunity to train and prepare with the navies across the world‚” said South African Navy Captain Cebo Gwala.
“The South American navies are ones that we look up to and can learn from. It’s all about diplomacy and communication.”