Ports and Ships website reports that the first of three navy strike craft, SAS Isaac Dyobha (P1565) has returned to the shipyard from where she emerged 33 years ago and where she is now to undergo a major refit and conversion into a patrol ship.
Nine SA Navy missile boats were built either in Israel or in Durban between the years 1977 and 1986. The strike craft, as they were to be commonly referred to, provided the main surface thrust of the navy throughout the long days of isolation and sanctions.
During the early 2000s it was announced that the strike craft flotilla would be withdrawn as the navy geared up to take delivery of four modern frigates. The three remaining boats 1565, 1567 and 1569 are now in the process of returning to the Southern African Shipyard to be converted into coastal patrol ships, thus solving one of the navy's more immediate challenges.
The first vessel, SAS Isaac Dyobha has already arrived in Durban and her conversion is scheduled to be completed by March 2013. The other two, SAS Galashewe (P1567) and SAS Makhanda (P1569) are due to follow at one month intervals. According to Ports and Ships website, details of the conversion are not yet available.
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