Training in Plymouth

Article by Petty Officer Sthembiso Makuleni and Able Seaman Judy Baatjes
Photos by Warrant Officer Class 2 Phineas David, Petty Officer Sthembiso Makuleni and Able Seaman Judy Baatjes

Training plays an integral part in ensuring the continuous honing of skills in the military, thereby preparing sailors to be able to react according to proper procedures when required. A number of training activities took place on board SAS AMATOLA from 13 to 17 February 2017 under the auspices of the Flag Officers Sea Training (FOST) Royal Navy team.

Rough seas.

An in-depth briefing was presented by the Operations Officer, Lieutenant Commander Gumede on noise hygiene after consultation with FOST. Self-Noise degrades the ships sonar performance and hinders the detection and classification of an enemy submarine, and at the same time enhances an enemy submarine detection on us. Noise hygiene is therefore an effort to counter the sound that is produced by internal noise (i.e. from within the ship) and external noise (i.e. from outside, but generated by the ship, e.g. propellers).

SA Air Force team busy with the Three Winge System ranging of the helicopter.

Super Lynx Helicopter training conducted on board SAS AMATOLA.

Lieutenant Commander Gumede said, “It is important to have a noise-hygiene conscious ship’s company at all times as it will enhance own sensor performance as well as deny the enemy the opportunity to locate and attack SAS AMATOLA in war time. Being a noise-hygiene conscious ship will also improve habitability on board during peacetime transits”.

Engine Room Attendant members during the machinery break drill.

Some of Engine Room Attendants teams being facilitated by the FOST team member.


Noise Hygiene.

Super Lynx Helicopter ranged during rough seas.

The SA Air Force forms part of the embedded contingent on board, as they are required to react promptly when the need arises. The flight crew engaged in training of ranging of the Super Lynx helicopter. Amongst some of the equipment used was the Remote Aircraft Mover (RAM) and Three Winch System aircraft mover which are two ways of which to range a helicopter, the sea state will determine the method of ranging the helicopter onboard. The flight crew will determine which method to use by contacting the bridge to find out the current sea state. For extra precautionary measures during Sea State 7 the RAM system is used together with the “leap frog” method which is the system whereby the helicopter is moved a few meters then tied down until it is in the required position.

Tactical Coordinator/ Pilot Captain Teboho Enock Selepe said “Each and every one of the air crew is professional and knows the importance of safety when ranging the helo”.

During the week the Marine Engineering Department participated in the machinery break down serial at the Machinery Control Room. The Engine Room Attendant members participated in the exercise as the aim was to test communication and control during a break down. So once it is ascertained that there is a breakdown the Machinery Control Room (MCR) would send the Ship’s Standing Emergency Party and Engine Room Attendants down to the affected machinery and take local control of the equipment and report to the MCR who will report to the bridge, so that steering and propulsion control can keep the vessel safely underway. The Marine Engineering Officer Lieutenant Commander Yssel said the aim of these exercises is to ensure that the members can take control of the machinery locally and give the bridge the required reaction time so that the vessel can proceed safely.

The SAS AMATOLA upheld their motto which is train hard, fight easy. This ensures the SA Navy has a combat ready ship.