The SA Navy is set to buy new torpedoes for its submarines, despite it battling to keep its standard fleet operational.
According to a report in the Sunday Times, Armscor has confirmed plans to buy a new torpedo system for Heroine-class submarines.
The new torpedoes are said to cost up to R60 million each, and will be purchased at a time when there is a “military budget crisis” and the navy is “unable to afford vital offshore patrol vessels”.
The government has also delayed a naval shipbuilding programme, stated the report.
Industry experts told the Sunday Times that South Africa does not need new torpedoes.
Worldwide, there have been only three torpedo engagements since World War 2.
This is in comparison to patrol vessels, which the report stated are “widely considered an essential item”.
The planned purchase also comes at a time when:
- A R5-billion budget cut across the SA army, air force, and navy was implemented.
- There are 2,000 staff vacancies in the defence force which cannot be filled.
- 600 more jobs may need to be cut.
The SANDF did not respond to question, stated the report.
The report follows news earlier this year that a plan to buy President Jacob Zuma a new private plane was back on track.
The R1.3-billion jet can seat 18 people, and will feature secure holds for foreign currency and weapons.