I’m not saying that it’s necessarily anything to worry about.
(UPDATE: Or is there?)
I’m just saying that they’re there.
The Hessen, The Berlin and The Karlsruhe are probably just hanging around out there about 20 nautical miles offshore and enjoying the late summer calamari season. My sources tell me that squid is a very popular dish in Germany. Right?
The Berlin is essentially a supply ship, a support vessel for other German Navy ships.
Built in 1984, the Karlsruhe is a Bremen-class frigate. It’s got guns.
The Hessen is a more modern (2006) Sachsen-class frigate.
It’s got LOTS of guns:
These ships are optimized for the anti-air warfare role. The primary anti-air weapons are the 32-cell Mk 41 Mod 10 vertical launching system, equipped with twenty-four SM-2 Block IIIA missiles and thirty-two Evolved Sea Sparrowmissiles. Point-defense against cruise missiles is provided by a pair of 21-round Rolling Airframe Missile launchers. The ships are also equipped with two four-cell RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile launchers.
For defense against submarines, the frigates carry two triple-launchers for the 324 mm (12.8 in) MU90 Impact torpedoes. The ships also carry a variety of guns, including one dual-purpose 62-caliber 76-millimeter (3.0 in) gun manufactured by OTO Melara.
They are also armed with two Rheinmetall 27 mm (1.1 in) MLG 27 remote-controlled autocannons in single mounts.
Well, I’ve got a catty that I picked up at the robots in Somerset West (although I’m not ever so accurate with it) and I also have a beagle, albeit that it’s a beagle that generally gets quite scared when confronted with anything bigger than a seagull. (c.f. the Hessen at a length of 143m and a displacement of 5,800 tonnes.)
Having compared the respective weaponry at our disposal (and despite having noted with some glee that they have no specific anti-beagle measures available to them), I think that the German warships can stay right where they are if they like, or they can can even come and take over Struisbaai if that’s what they want to do.
I, for one, welcome our new Teutonic overlords.
UPDATE: Obviously they’re here using the convenient old “bilateral exercise” story:
The aim of the bilateral exercise is to facilitate the sharing of maritime expertise and to strengthen the military cooperation between the two countries.
Sadly, given the distinct lack of any SA Navy vessels in the vicinity, I have a sinking feeling (pun intended) that the strengthening of military cooperation may have been a bit of a one way street.