South African Navy Submarine flotilla
The South African Navy (SAN) has traditionally been the country`s Cinderella service, with the air force and army taking priority in funding and equipment, a situation that was exacerbated for many years by international political isolation. By the end of the 1990s, the first-line naval combatant force was reduced to three 30-year-old French-built Daphne class SSKs diesel powered submarines, two are still operational and one in reserve.

Umkhonto (ex Emily Hobhouse) S-98
, launched October 24, 1969, commissioned January 25, 1971.
Assegaai (ex Johanna Van Der Merwe) S-99, launched July 21, 1970, commissioned July 21, 1971.
Spear was decommissioned in 1999.

Despite the comparative neglect of naval forces, South Africa is highly dependent on maritime trade. Over 95 per cent of trade by tonnage and 80 per cent of exports and imports in value are transported by sea. While there are currently no immediate overt threats to maritime security, the capabilities of neighboring states being marginal in most cases, the navy remains responsible for patrolling 3,000 km of coastline, bordering both the Indian Ocean and the South Atlantic, and an exclusive economic zone of over 1.1million km2. South Africa`s re-integration into the international community has also brought increased commitments, with an expectation that the country will now play a leading role in regional peace-support/peace-keeping, and potentially peace-enforcement, operations.

Given the range of commitments, the existing force was clearly inadequate. In September 1999 a decision to acquire three German Type 209/3 1500 diesel-electric submarines was taken. South Africa is currently, and for the foreseeable future, the only submarine operator in sub-Saharan Africa, the Type 209 purchase, to be delivered in 2005, will confirm the SAN`s position as the most powerful and advanced navy in the region.

Image Country Year Description
South Africa 1982 Simonstown naval base 25th anni` (miniature sheet)
South Africa 1982 Submarine Daphne class
South Africa 1982 Simonstown naval base 25th anni', 4 April 1982
South Africa 1997 Submarine S-98 Emily Hobhouse (Daphne class)
South Africa 1997 75th anni' of the South African Navy, 1st April 1997
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