Bilateral maritime Exercise Oxide 2017 in La Reunion [fr]
This year was the fifth edition of the joint bilateral Franco-South-African OXIDE exercise. It was hosted by France in La Réunion Island between the 24th of November and the 9th of December. The exercise is scenario-based and this year’s theme was “fight against narco-trafficking”.
Exercise Oxide is currently the only joint bilateral exercise that South Africa is involved in. The aim of this exercise, made possible through a defense cooperation agreement of 2004, is to reinforce co-operation and to strengthen the interoperability between the French Armed Forces in the Southern Indian Ocean (FAZSOI) and the Joint Operations Division of the South African National Defense Force (SANDF), in order to respond more effectively to regional security issues.
The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) staff for the exercise was conducted by the brigadier general Gustav Lategan, Director of joint force operation and training at the Joint Operations division. 220 south African soldiers were mobilized on-board the frigate SAS Amatola, carrying the maritime helicopter Super Lynx Mar, as well as on-board the maritime surveillance aircraft C47 Super Dakota and with a field operational team from the Air Force. Regarding the French forces, were engaged 240 military were engaged on-board the multi-mission ship Le Champlain, the patrol vessel Le Malin, the tactical transport aircraft Casa CN 235-300, the naval helicopter Panther and from two platoons of the 2nd naval infantry paratrooper regiment (2e RPIMa). Moreover, some Mozambican officers were present to observe the progress of the exercise.
The VIP Day was held on the 6th December. On this occasion the Ambassador of France to South Africa, HE Christophe Farnaud, accompanied by the French Defence Attaché Colonel Olivier Ducret, watched the final assault of the exercise and had the opportunity to discuss with French and South African soldiers. They were also able to observe the forces from an helicopter and visit the French ship Le Champlain.