The might of the South African Navy went on display recently when nine warships, including the navy's last operational Daphne class submarine, took part in a three-week naval exercise along the South African coast.

The exercise, dubbed Operation Red Line, was held between Simon's Town and Richard's Bay. The exercise, which started on June 2 and ended on Monday, included mock attacks, missile and torpedo firings as well as land-based patrols and roadblocks.

It showed the navy can still be reckoned with even before it gets its new submarines and corvettes over the next few years in terms of the government's multi-billion rand arms deal.

And in spite of being one of the oldest commissioned submarines in the world, the SAS Assegaai showed it can still pack a mean punch when it fired a torpedo at a derelict trawler, hitting it midships. The trawler sunk silently beneath the waves within minutes.

Several ship to air missiles were also fired at the two old trawlers and all hit the mark with spectacular explosions.

Ships that took part in the exercise included the SAS Drakensberg, SAS Outeniqua, SAS Umzimkulu, SAS Uhmhloti, SAS Kapa, SAS Makhanda, SAS Adam Kok and SAS Galeshwe.

The South African Air Force also took part using various fighters and helicopters.

A navy spokesman said the objectives of testing the fleet's combat capability, dealing with a multi-threat scenario as well as evaluating the capability to support forces over a distant and sustained deployment were successfully completed.