The establishment of the Submarine Branch was an important milestone in the history of our service. Today (2020) the three submarines built in Germany and supported by ORCA and HUB form the SSK SQN and fulfil a vital role in the Defence of the Republic of South Africa.
The 18 March 1969 was in fact the date of the launching of the first of three Daphne Class submarines in France by Mrs Elize Botha the wife of then Minister of Defence, the Hon. P W Botha, at Nantes S97 SAS Maria van Riebeeck (Cdr J A Weideman). The fact that SAS Duiker (Cdr C J Botha), the project base in Toulon, France was also established on the same day effectively made this day the birthday of the Submarine Branch in the South African Navy.
As a result the submarine squadron (SSK SQN) turned 50 on 18 March 2019.
In the past 51 years the Submarine Squadron has qualified and issued submarine badges to 1165 top line submariners many of whom have left the service and are now leaders in the private sector. We are rightly proud of our operational and safety record as well as our reputation for being equal to, if not better than, the best in the world. We are immensely proud of being submariners in the South African Navy.
Being a submariner is a demanding task and each man or woman is a vital link in the crew. Therefore, thorough training is given to each submariner who, once qualified, can proudly wear his submariner’s badge and receive the appropriate allowances.