SAS Spioenkop - the third of four MEKO A-200 corvettes, built by Blohm+Voss (Germany) for the South African Navy (SAN), has recently arrived to her home port Simonstown near Cape Town. The vessel will be equipped with weapons and electronics systems locally. The second corvette is already being fitted out in Simonstown, while the fourth unit is scheduled to be christened and handed over to SAN in June.
The vessel has unique propulsion system configuration, which employs a water jet in addition to two propellers. The diesel engine and gas turbine exhaust lines are designed to pre-cool exhaust gases prior to discharging them. Exhaust outlets are arranged close to the waterline of the ship. As a result, the corvette has substantially reduced infra-red signature which improves its stealth characteristics. Since no funnel is required, it also results in reduced radar signature.
According the builder, the vessels had to be fitted with additional radar reflectors for the duration of sea trials as the corvette disappeared from radar several times during the first trials at sea.
The vessel building program was initiated in December 1999 and the European South African Corvette Consortium (ESACC) was entrusted with the building programme for these four corvettes. The German Frigate Consortium, a member of ESACC, includes Blohm + Voss, Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft, and other companies.