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 2 Squadron participation in exercise Good Hope II

A formation of Tornados and Cheetahs ingress at 150 ft above sea level to carry out simulated air-to-sea missile strikes against the German Naval Task Group while more Cheetahs fly in a Combat Air Patrol overhead the threat axis to provide air defence to the Naval Task Group. Another formation of Cheetahs and Tornados fly fighter sweeps. Displaced some sixty miles from the Naval Task Group, the combat air patrol (CAP) has detected and positively identified the inbound strike package of Tornados carrying Kormoran anti-shipping sea skimming missiles. SAAF fighter controllers monitoring the situation on radar, give the order for the CAP to commit to the inbound aggressors and the chase is on. Will the aggressors reach the Naval Task Group to launch their deadly sea-skimming Kormoran missiles, or will 2 Squadron’s combat air patrol manage to intercept the intruders and remove them from the fight before they can launch their missiles?
Radars lock-on to the aggressors, then visual contact as the Cheetahs close in and proceed to engage the aggressors. A dogfight ensues. Some ‘Fox 2’ kills are claimed but remnants of the aggressor package still make it through to the ships. The missiles are launched by the aggressors, but the Naval Task Group, having detected the inbound strike package, begin countering the attack through defensive manoeuvres, electronic warfare and using anti-air weapons. More kills are claimed by both sides. Raid assessments are done by the Warfare Officers and at the debriefing, the conclusion is reached that virtual Berlin was successfully defended as the combined forces reached a standard of cooperation not expected at the planning stages of the exercise.
This is mission training at its best; the closest a fighter pilot can get to the real thing during peacetime. This was Exercise Good Hope II that took place around the Cape of Good Hope from 20 February 20 to 17 March 2006. Involving about 1 300 sailors and airmen as the navies and air forces of the two countries conducted operations using ‘live’ firepower, weapons systems and electronic warfare in the largest exercise conducted ever by the German Federal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) outside NATO. The objective of this exercise was to further extend the existing co-operation between the SANDF Force and the Bundeswehr and at the same time, improve and build up its peace keeping capability.
The German Naval Task Group, consisting of four ships, represented some of the most modern units of the German Navy and was reinforced by a German Air Force detachment of six Tornado aircraft of Reconnaissance Squadron 51 “Immelman”. The exercise was not a friend-or-foe operation, but rather one that sought to enhance military interoperability. As such, two of the world’s most advanced warships, South Africa’s SAS Amatola and Germany’s FGS Hamburg, together with the fighter aircraft, protected a virtual Berlin from attack.
2 Squadron deployed with eight aircraft and operated from AFB Overberg for the duration of the Joint and Combined exercises.
The exercises also included flying tactical exercises, air combat and flight refuelling with the Squadron 51. The German forces also had excellent exposure, particularly to the ocean conditions experienced around the Cape coast which are unlike those in the North Sea and Baltic Sea. An additional spin-off from the exercises was that the Germans were also able to test their Kormoran air-to-sea missile at the Overberg Test Range, one of the few sites in the world offering open sea and air space for such large exercises.
Although the naval warfare exercise was essentially a surface and air operation, one salient factor to emerge was that South Africa has not developed a maritime role for its air force. "South Africa does not have a dedicated maritime role for the Cheetah, which is an inland squadron focusing on air defence," said Colonel Leon Bath, of the South African Air Force.
An added bonus of co-operation, a combined formation flypast was conducted over the Victoria Wharf on Saturday 4 March as the Bundeswehr celebrated its 60th anniversary. The public was also given the opportunity to visit ships of the host country and of the German Navy that had come up alongside for public viewing.
The month-long Exercise ‘Cape of Good Hope II certainly provided 2 Squadron with a taste of the major tactical challenges it can expect to face in any future combined peace-keeping or conventional warfare.

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