The South African Navy has decommissioned SAS Galeshewe (P1567), a Warrior class strike craft to make room for a new class of multi-mission patrol vessels.
Based on the Israeli SAAR IV (renamed RESHEF) fast attack craft, SAS Galeshewe started life as part of a nine-ship Minister class strike craft delivered between 1977 and 1985.
The first three boats (P1561-P1563) were built in Israel, the others were all built locally by Sandock Austral in Durban. P1567 was launched on 26 March 1982 and initially named SAS Hendrik Mentz by Mrs Amy Edwards, wife of Vice Admiral Edwards, then SAN Chief, it was commissioned into the SAN on 11 February 1983.
On 1 April 1997, following political changes in South Africa, the class were re-designated as Warrior Class strikecraft and Hendrik Mentz re-commissioned as Galeshewe in time for Navy 75 celebrations and the Presidential Fleet Review.
Though considered small at just 450 tons are heavily armed with two 76mm guns and up to 8 fixed launchers for the Skerpioen SSM, and could attain a speed of over 30 knots. For thirty years, they were the backbone of South Africa’s fast attack and patrol fleet.
During its career in the SAN, Galeshewe was part of include various Red Lion exercises, Operation Desert Dune in 2001, Atlasur V and Oxide 2 in 2002, Ndlovu in 2005, Divex 06 and Good Hope II in 2006, Ibsamar I and Good Hope III in 2008, Golfino in 2009, Good Hope IV, Interop East and Operation Kgwele in 2010 as well as Good Hope VI in 2014.
Ultimately, the remaining Warrior class Offshore Patrol Vessels will be replaced by the new Project BIRO Multi Mission Inshore Patrol Vessels (MMIPV). The first of three vessels is due to be delivered in June 202.