SAS Queen Modjadji

SAS Queen Modjadji is a variant of the Type 209 diesel-electric attack submarine developed by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) of Germany, currently in service with the South African Navy. She was named after the South African Rain Queen on 14 March 2007 by the ships sponsor, Mrs. Rita Ndzanga, at a ceremony in Emden, Germany.[2][3]

South Africa
Name: SAS Queen Modjadji
Namesake: A South African Rain Queen
Builder: Nordsee Werke, Emden[1]
Launched: 18 March 2006
Commissioned: 22 May 2008
Identification: Pennant number S103
Status: in active service
General characteristics
Type: Heroine-class submarine
Displacement: 1,454 t, submerged
Length: 62.0 m (203 ft 5 in)
Beam: 7.6 m (24 ft 11 in)
Draft: 5.8 m (19 ft 0 in)
Propulsion: Diesel-electric, 4 diesels, 1 shaft, 6,100 shp (4,500 kW)
  • 10 knots (19 km/h), surfaced;
  • 21.5 knots (40 km/h), submerged
  • 11,000 nmi (20,000 km; 13,000 mi) at 10 kn (19 km/h) (surfaced,)
  • 8,000 nmi (15,000 km; 9,200 mi) at 10 knots (snorkeling)
  • 400 nmi (740 km; 460 mi) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h) (submerged)
Test depth: 500 m (1,600 ft)
Complement: 30
Sensors and
processing systems:

Sonar: STN Atlas CSU-90; hull mounted and flank arrays Radar: Surface search I-band

Optics: Zeiss non-hull penetrating optronic mast
Electronic warfare
& decoys:

ESM: Grintek Avitronics, intercept + radar warning receiver

ELINT: Saab S/UME-100 tactical electronic support measures


South Africa placed a contract for three Type 209/1400 submarines in July 2000 on Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) and Thyssen Nordseewerke. The Type 209/1400 submarines replace the French-built Daphné-class submarines, SAS Spear, SAS Assegaai and SAS Umkhonto which were decommissioned in 2003. The Heroine class are sometimes considered to be South Africa's first "true" submarines, as they were more suited to being underwater than the Daphné models.[4]


Queen Modjadji arrived in Simonstown on 22 May 2008.[5]

Commander Handsome Thamsanqa Matsane became the first black officer to command a South African submarine when he took command of Queen Modjadji in April 2012.[6] SAS Queen Modjadji was involved in an accident on the 17 July 2012 when the submarine hit the seabed during training. A 1.5-by-1.5-metre (4.9 ft × 4.9 ft) dent was made in the outer protective plating.[7]

The submarine took part in the joint naval exercise Good Hope V between the South African Navy and the German Navy. The exercise also included the South African Air Force and took place in March 2012.[8] The submarine participated in two further naval exercises in 2012; the multinational maritime exercise between the navies of South Africa, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, Atlasur IX between 24 September and 10 October 2012 and Exercise IBSAMAR III, a trilateral naval exercise between Brazil, India and South Africa from 10 to 26 October 2012.


  1. "Fact file: Heroine-class diesel-electric submarine". Archived from the original on 18 February 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  2. SIYAKHULA/070323_Sitrep08/article.htm
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-02-12. Retrieved 2013-04-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. Leon Engelbrecht (2008-02-05). "SA gets third submarine". ITweb. Retrieved 2008-10-23.
  5. "Queen Modjadji 1 arrives in Simon's Town". 27 May 2008. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  6. Davids, Nashia (30 April 2007). "Mariner's Crowning". Times Live. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  7. "SAS Queen Modjaji's hull received 1.5 x 1.5 m dent in accident". 12 September 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  8. Rakoma, Ally (27 March 2012). "Exercise Good Hope Concludes". Department of Defense of South Africa. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
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