A joint naval exercise between the US and South Africa, codenamed Exercise Flower III, is set to begin west of Hout Bay, Cape Town, in international waters 50nm off the coast.

The US Navy’s Los Angeles Class nuclear-powered attack submarine USS San Juan will take part in Exercise Flower III alongside the South African Navy’s (SAN) Heroine Class submarine SAS Queen Modjadji.

Exercise Flower III, one of a series of joint South African-US naval exercises, was designed to practise submarine exercises and at-sea engagements using both nations’ submarines.

During the three-day exercise the SAN will practise the interoperability of surface and subsea communications, operational testing and evaluation, operator skills and benchmarking the Heroine Class submarine.

The 110m-long, 10m-wide USS San Juan carries a crew of 140 that will participate in training and drills with SAN personnel.

USS San Juan is equipped with advanced BSY-1 sonar suite combat system, vertical-launch tubes for Tomahawk cruise missiles, mk48 torpedoes in four torpedo tubes and Harpoon missiles.