n Journal for Contemporary History - Die Suid-Afrikaanse Vloot se eerste fregat-era, 1944-1985 (1) : die "Loch"-klas en




In November 1998 it was announced that the South African Navy (SAN) would acquire four new "patrol corvettes" (frigates). The high cost involved, as well as allegations concerning problems in the tendering process, plunged the whole armaments acquisition process into controversy. In this, the first of two articles, the purpose and value of frigates to the SAN will be placed in historical perspective by analysing the first frigate era in its history, i.e. from the last few months of World War II, to the mid-1980s. The history of the following ships is briefly discussed: in the first article, the "Loch" class frigates SAS Good Hope, SAS Natal, SAS Transvaal, and SAS Vrystaat (the SAN's first "big" frigate); and in the second article, the "President" class frigates SAS President Kruger, SAS President Steyn and SAS President Pretorius. The ships' operational roles, the part they played in assistance operations and their diplomatic functions, are evaluated. The place and role of frigates in the SAN in general, are evaluated against the background of the political situation in South Africa and the international political context, with special reference to the Cold War.


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