The South African Navy christened the fourth MEKO A-200 SAN corvette, named
MENDI, and the first of three U209 class submarines, named S101, at
Howaldtswerke shipyards in Kiel, Germany.
The Mendi corvette is the last of four ships ordered by South Africa. The
construction of this corvette started in 2001 and is expected to enter service
in 2005. Blohm & Voss in Hamburg and Howaldtswerke in Kiel have built two
corvettes each for the MEKO 200-A SAN program. The first corvette built in Kiel
was named ISANDLWANA and entered service in February 2004.
The MEKO A-200 SAN corvettes feature 121 meters long, 16.34 meters wide, 3.4
meters deep, 100-man crew, and approximately 3,500 tons of displacement. The
ships have been fitted with a new propulsion system called CODAG-WARP (COmbined
Diesel And Gas - Waterjet And Refined Propellers) which combines propellers and
waterjet propulsion. They have a maximum speed of 27 knots and a cruise speed of
The weapon system of MEKO A-200 SAN consists of Exocet anti-ship missiles, ESSM
surface-to-air missiles, two naval guns, and two decoy launchers. A flight deck
and hangar have been provided to operate up to two ASW helicopters. In addition,
the ship has enhanced survivability thanks to its stealth characteristics such
as reduced radar and magnetic signatures and lower noise emission levels than
current analogue ships.
The S101 is a U209 class submarine type 1440 ordered along two additional boats.
The diesel-electric powered submarine displaces 1,450 metric tons, is 62 meters
long and operates with a 30-man crew. Its weaponry consists of eight-torpedo
tubes. It has an integrated sonar and can be fitted with air independent fuel
cell or Stirling propulsion systems.
The purchase of three U209 boats by South Africa is worth €700
million ($878 million) and includes investments in South African stainless steel
industry as well as other economic developmental measures as offset.
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