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29 octobre 2015 4 29 /10 /octobre /2015 08:45
Landward force makes up over half of SANDF strength

 

27 October 2015 by defenceWeb

 

The SA Army is by far the largest arm of service in the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), providing more than forty thousand of the force’s total strength of 78,011. This was at the end of the 2014/15 financial year with the two other combat arms of service – the SA Air Force (10,443) and SA Navy (7,575) – between them contributing less than half the landward force’s 40,215.

 

Other large contributors to the March 31, 2015 actual strength of 78,011 are the SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) with 8,145, the Logistics Division with 3,094, Joint Operations Division with 1,966 and the Military Police Division with 1,609.

 

The Department of Defence and the SANDF had 1,455 people employed in its Human Resources Division at the end of the 2014/15 financial year.

 

The Financial Management Division had 832 people keeping a weather eye on defence spend while the Defence Inspectorate Division, charged with ensuring rules and regulations are strictly adhered to, could call on the services of 125 people. Internal Audit had the services of 32 people for its work.

 

The personnel strength at Defence Intelligence was 884.

 

The Defence Policy, Strategy and Planning Division could call on the specialist knowledge of 91 people complemented by the 29 people in Military Policy, Strategy and Planning.

 

Three hundred and ninety people were on the strength of Defence Legal Services and its satellite offices at March 31 this year while 460 people worked in the Corporate Staff Division.

 

Defence and Military Veterans Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, had a staff complement of 73 and Secretary for Defence, Dr Sam Gulube, had 43 people working in his secretariat.

 

The remainder of posts in the DoD/SANDF structure fall into categories including the Chaplain General, (18) Corporate Communication (53), Defence Reserves (27), Defence Foreign Relations (148), The Office of the SANDF Chief (19), Defence International Affairs (17), Command and Management Information Systems Division (140), Defence Materiel Division (83) and the Military Ombudsman (45).

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2 juillet 2015 4 02 /07 /juillet /2015 07:45
Parts sought for Samil trucks

 

01 July 2015 by defenceWeb

 

Vehicle maintenance of particularly the SA Army’s older Samil trucks has been in the hands of Cuban diesel mechanics for at least three months and if Armscor tenders are anything to go by they are making inroads into the backlog.

 

No less than four tenders issued by Armscor this month are for parts to be used on Samils. They are driveline sub-assemblies (ESPV/2015/68), air brake components (ESPV/2015/65), electrical components (ESPV/2015/66) and clutch and pressure plates (ESPV/2015/67). The tenders close on July 14 with the exception of the one for sub-assemblies which closes a day later.

 

Samil trucks were locally manufactured during the arms embargo using Magirus Deutz chassis and engines with the final units built in 1998. They are set to be replaced by new vehicles to be acquired in terms of projects Sepula and Vistula, both of which have been “deferred” according to SA Army Chief, Lieutenant General Vusi Masondo.

 

There are currently just on a hundred Cuban technicians working on the Samil vehicles at bases including Potchefstroom, Pretoria and Bloemfontein. They are in South Africa on a 12 month contract to refurbish vehicles and assist the SANDF in building capacity in this particular skill, Department of Defence head of communications Siphiwe Dlamini, said in March.

 

“The SANDF has had numerous problems with vehicles. They get fixed but two to three weeks down the line they are stuck on the road.

 

“The Cubans are here to assist us fix the vehicles and create capacity in the defence force so we can do the fixing and maintenance ourselves,” he said during a media visit to Potchefstroom in March.

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3 avril 2015 5 03 /04 /avril /2015 07:45
South African continental peacekeeping deployments extended for another year

 

01 April 2015 by Kim Helfrich - defenceWeb

 

President Jacob Zuma wearing his SA National Defence Force (SANDF) commander-in-chief hat has committed South Africa to more than R1,4 billion in expenditure over the next 12 months on three separate out-of-country military deployments.

 

None of the three – to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sudan and in the Mozambique Channel – are new. All three see South African airmen, medics, sailors and soldiers stand alongside uniformed counterparts from Africa and other parts on the world in either peace support or peacekeeping missions (DRC and Sudan) and keeping territorial waters safe from pirates (Mozambique).

 

Zuma yesterday (March 31) informed Parliament of the “extended employment of troops” according to a statement issued by the Presidency.

 

A total of 1,388 SANDF members will find themselves in the DRC between now and March 31 next year serving “in fulfilment of international obligations of the Republic of South Africa towards the United Nations”. The Presidential statement indicates all will be part of the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB), operating under the MONUSCO umbrella in the strife-torn central African country. According to the UN there are currently 1,322 uniformed South Africans in the overall MONUSCO mission.

 

The cost of the DRC deployment is R909,687,562.

 

The SANDF will between now and March 31 next year ensure 850 SANDF members find themselves in Darfur, Sudan, as part of the hybrid AU/UN UNAMID force. This deployment is also “in fulfilment of international obligations” and will cost R369,079,895 for the 12 months.

 

South Africa’s third and final military commitment outside own borders is the Southern African Development community (SADC) counter-piracy tasking Operation Copper.

 

“Two hundred and 20 members of the SANDF were employed to monitor and deter piracy and other related illegal maritime activities along the Southern African coast of the Indian Ocean. They were employed for the period for the period April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015 and the employment has now been extended to March 31, 2016,” the statement said.

 

South Africa is the lead country in this deployment supplying a naval platform as well as aerial support and the associated manpower. The next 12 months of Operation Copper cost R 127,027,773.

 

The UN mission in the DRC – MONUSCO - is the largest of its 16 peacekeeping missions internationally with troop, police and military expert contributions coming from 55 countries. There are currently 21,067 of these in the DRC at present according to the latest UN statistics. Countries are literally an A (Algeria) to Z (Zambia).

 

In Sudan, South Africans find themselves alongside soldiers, police and military experts from 43 other countries in a total combined AU/UN force of 15,863. UN statistics indicate there are currently 783 South African soldiers in the country.

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26 mars 2015 4 26 /03 /mars /2015 21:45
A SAAF Oryx at the Rand Show 2012

A SAAF Oryx at the Rand Show 2012

 

26 March 2015 by defenceWeb

 

The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) will be part and parcel of the Rand Show right from the official opening Friday after next along with arena and static displays for the duration of the event at the Johannesburg Expo Centre.

 

Of the more than 10 000 square metres of display space that will be taken up by the military, a major portion will be dedicated to careers in the SANDF. To be housed in Hall 10A, the career expo will, in addition to having representatives from all four arms of service on hand to answer questions, also have Army Young Lions and Air Force Young Falcons present. They will tell, in their own words, what these two arms of service are like, having done camps and been involved in some of the musterings, ranging from pilots, navigators and flight engineers through to artillery and mortar men as well as Sappers, the military name for an engineer whose work ranges from blowing up bridges and roads to building them and providing clean water.

 

Another part of the indoor exhibition will be a display showing a typical day in the life of a soldier. Also of interest to those thinking of joining the SANDF, more specifically the Signals Formation, will be a display pitting first generation communication methods such as Morse Code against modern signalling equipment and technology.

 

Rand Show visitors will also be able to show their support for soldiers on peace support and peacekeeping missions in the DRC and Sudan. 11 Field Postal Unit, an active Reserve Force unit staffed by Post Office employees, will be open for the duration of the show and have goodwill postcards waiting for messages.

 

The outdoor exhibition will feature, among others, the Ratel ZT3, Gecko rapid deployment vehicle, Badger infantry combat vehicle, Rooikat armoured vehicle, radar systems, a tactical intelligence post with working cameras, the Rooivalk combat support helicopter, Umlindi radar, a flight simulator, a dive tank and compression chamber as well as elements of a field hospital and emergency medical, disaster and search and rescue equipment.

 

The military will this year also be hands-on with visitors to the SANDF exhibition able to try their skills on driving, shooting and missile simulators.

 

The SAAF Silver Falcons aerobatic team, headquartered at AFB Langebaanweg, will perform displays as will Hawk Mk120 Lead-In Fighter Trainers from 85 Combat Flying School at AFB Makhado. Their displays will coincide with SANDF arena displays including fast-roping of specialist infantry from an Oryx helicopter, an artillery gun run, precision drill and parachute jumps (weather permitting).

 

The military contribution to the opening on Friday April 3 will be in the form of a massed band comprising the SA Military Health Service band, the SA Army’s Kroonstad band and the SA Navy band.

 

The Rand Show closes on April 12.

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20 mars 2015 5 20 /03 /mars /2015 08:45
C-47TP maritime patrol aircraft

C-47TP maritime patrol aircraft

 

19 March 2015 by Kim Helfrich – defenceWeb

 

The decrease in pirate activity off Africa’s east coast has probably contributed to an SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Joint Operations decision to withdraw air operations from Pemba in support of the anti-piracy Operation Copper.

 

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) counter-piracy tasking is now in its fifth year of operation with South Africa as the major contributor of both personnel and equipment. Mozambique and Tanzania are the other two SADC nations who have committed to the operation in the Mozambique Channel since its inception in 2011.

 

The first Operation Copper deployment was early in 2011 following the hijacking of a Mozambican fishing vessel by Somali pirates in the northern reaches of the Mozambique Channel. Lindiwe Sisulu, at the time Defence and Military Veterans Minister, said South African warships were deployed to northern Mozambique along with a C-47TP maritime patrol aircraft from 35 Squadron and a 22 Squadron Super Lynx maritime helicopter. This hardware was supported by a total of 377 uniformed personnel from the air force, military health services and the navy.

 

Captain (SAN) Jaco Theunissen, Joint Operations spokesman, confirmed this week that Pemba and hence 35 Squadron would no longer be a part of Operation Copper.

 

“Maritime operations will continue from an SA Navy platform,” he said, declining to answer questions on whether the SAAF would still be part of Op Copper.

 

At present the offshore patrol vessel (OPV) SAS Galeshewe is on station in the Mozambique Channel having replaced one of her sister ships, SAS Isaac Dyobha.

 

At various times since the deployment started the Navy has put Valour Class frigates and the supply ship SAS Drakensberg into the seas off the lower east African coast as a piracy deterrent. More recently this task has been the exclusive preserve of the serving OPVs, all converted Warrior Class strikecraft.

 

The normal OPV crew requirement for an Operation Copper deployment is around the 60 mark including a Maritime Reaction Squadron component, divers, an ops medic and two Mozambican sea riders.

 

The only South African platform to have been an active part of a counter-piracy operation was Drakensberg. She acted as southern stopper for the EU Naval Force to prevent a suspected pirate ship from escaping the multi-national task force based off the Horn of Africa.

 

It is not known at present if the term of Operation Copper will be extended. It was last extended for 12 months by President Jacob Zuma, in his capacity as SANDF Commander-in-Chief, until the end of March this year.

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2 mars 2015 1 02 /03 /mars /2015 17:25
Cuban mechanics in SA to help build SANDF capacity

 

02 March 2015 by defenceWeb

 

South African military mechanics are working alongside Cubans in terms of an agreement between the two countries, the Department of Defence (DoD) has confirmed.

 

Reports late last month indicated about 100 Cuban mechanics arrived in South Africa at the same time as a group of engineers who will work on improving and upgrading South Africa’s fast deteriorating water supply and reticulation infrastructure.

 

The Cuban mechanics are in South Africa as part of a technical agreement between the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) and the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces under an existing military to military agreement, said Department of Defence (DoD) head of communications, Siphiwe Dlamini.

 

“A technical advisory team made out (sic) of technicians from the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces is assisting the SANDF to service and maintain the South African military vehicles (Samil) and build internal technical capacity,” he said in a statement.

 

The Cubans have been deployed to various bases across the country. It is believed there are now Cuban military mechanics working in Bloemfontein, Potchefstroom and Wallmansthal, north of Pretoria.

 

The first inkling that Cuban diesel mechanics were in South Africa as part of Operation Caribbean, said to be running at a provisional budget of R200 million, was made public by Afrikaans daily Beeld late last month. The newspaper also disclosed that the mechanics had arrived in South Africa at the same time as the water engineers. They are here under a three year contract which can be extended.

 

According to Dlamini the importing of Cuban expertise on military vehicles and with diesel experience will help “create an internal pool of technical skills in the SANDF. This will enable the defence force to properly service and maintain its vehicles. Since the arrival of the Cuban mechanics there has been a markedly increased manner in the servicing of vehicles (sic)”.

 

He added it was “a known fact” the SANDF has had numerous problems with maintenance of vehicles at “very high cost with little benefit”.

 

“Through this agreement the SANDF will be able to develop its own internal capacity and save on costs whilst bringing up its vehicle serviceability.

 

“More importantly the SANDF will be able to build internal capacity to ensure the serviceability of its vehicles in operational areas where it has been facing serious challenges which had a negative impact on the reimbursement from the United Nations.”

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4 février 2015 3 04 /02 /février /2015 08:45
SAAF at 95 falls short of 1998 Defence Review’s equipment recommendations

 

03 February 2015 by Kim Helfrich - defenceWeb

 

Last Friday the SA Air Force (SAAF) officially marked its 95th anniversary as part of the annual Air Force Day parade with a flypast of mostly Air Force Museum aircraft taking centre stage due to limited funding and aircraft availability.

 

Brigadier General Marthie Visser, Director: Corporate Staff Services, said the use almost exclusively of SAAF Museum aircraft was also a great way to showcase the air force’s history.

 

The issue of funding is a long-running one not only with the air force but also the other arms of service of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF). Taking specifically the airborne arm into account it is pertinent to look at what was recommended by the 1998 Defence Review as far as force design options for the SAAF are concerned.

 

This was part of a presentation made to the Seriti Commission of Inquiry by SAAF Deputy Chief, Major General Gerald Malinga, during the public hearings into allegations of corruption during the 1998 Arms Deal.

 

That Review, not to be confused with the current one on which Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Defence and Military Veterans is seeking public input, recommended 32 medium jet fighters and 16 light fighters for the SAAF.

 

Instead the SAAF, as part of the Strategic Defence Procurement Packages (SDPP), acquired 26 Gripen jet fighters and 24 Hawk Mk 120 Lead-In Fighter Trainers.

 

The proposed figure for reconnaissance aircraft in the 1998 Review was 32 made up of 16 light reconnaissance aircraft, six long range maritime patrol aircraft and 10 short range maritime patrol aircraft. Another proposed addition was for a squadron of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

 

At present the only true reconnaissance aircraft available to the SAAF are the handful of ageing C-47TPs operated by 35 Squadron. 41 Squadron’s 208 Caravans, King Airs and PC-12s can also be used for this tasking but are utilised more in the transport role for both cargo and people.

 

The 1998 Review said a total of 44 transport aircraft would meet SAAF needs. This presumably included the medium airlift capacity of 28 Squadron’s more than 50 year-old C-130BZs as well as 41 Squadron and 44 Squadron (C-212 Aviocar). At the moment the SAAF has nine C-130BZs, three C212s, 7 C-47TPs, four King Airs, ten Caravans and one PC-12 in its inventory for a total of 34 transport aircraft.

 

The 1998 Review recommendation of 12 combat support helicopters is currently in service minus one Rooivalk, written off following an accident.

 

As far as maritime helicopters are concerned, according to the Review Malinga quoted in his presentation to the Seriti Commission called for five aircraft. Currently the SAAF operates four Super Lynx maritime helicopters from AFB Ysterplaat-based 22 Squadron.

 

The 1998 Review wanted the air force to have 96 transport helicopters. Exact figures are not available but 15, 17, 19 and 22 Squadrons as well as 87 Helicopter Flying School at AFB Bloemspruit operate either Oryx, Agusta A109 and BK-177 or a combination of these types. Approximately 39 Oryx, 29 A109 and six BK-117s are in the inventory for a total of 74 helicopters.

 

In-flight refuelling and electronic warfare would have seen the SAAF operate five specialist aircraft in these roles if the Review was fully accepted. Today it has zero in-flight refuelling capability, with the electronic warfare and refuelling Boeing 707s retired.

 

VIP and VVIP transport should by now, in the 1998 Review, have been the responsibility of nine aircraft. 21 Squadron today operates the Boeing BBJ, a pair of ageing Falcons and a Cessna Citation.

 

Addressing the Air Force Day parade, SAAF Chief, Lieutenant General Zakes Msimang, did not specifically mention acquisitions except when he referred to “capacity building and the enhancement of the air force’s capabilities”.

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2 septembre 2014 2 02 /09 /septembre /2014 16:45
South African soldiers training photo Guy Martin

South African soldiers training photo Guy Martin

 

02 September 2014 by Dean Wingrin - defenceWeb

 

The locally developed Impi tactical modem is fast gaining acceptance within the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) as a cost-effective blue-force tracker, already in use by members of the Special Forces and the South African Air Force (SAAF).

 

Launched in 2011 by Saab Systems South Africa, the 0.6 kg device can either be fitted onto vehicles, aircraft or naval vessels as well as be carried by soldiers. The Impi incorporates a GSM modem, allowing a cell phone network to transmit the tracks. Where no cellphone coverage is available, an embedded Iridium satellite modem is used. It also has a mil-standard data connection, allowing the utilisation of HF, VHF and UHF radios to transmit the tracks.

 

The communications data carrier for the position relay is determined via a “least-cost” mechanism, meaning that the GPRS data channel of the GSM network will automatically be selected if available. Should no GSM network coverage be available, the Impi positional update will automatically be routed via the Iridium satellite network. This means that Impi provides positional updates from any geographic position on Earth, to any designated control system. Data security is ensured by encryption.

 

Impi has been integrated into the Chaka tactical C2 (Command & Control) support software which, according to Cobus Valentine, the Command & Control specialist at Saab Grintek Defence, is the only tool currently used by the SANDF to provide ‘jointness.’

 

“It is capable of two-way data communication. If all other means of communication fails, you can connect the computer to this with Chaka,” Valentine explains. “You can still send and receive messages.”

 

Together with an onboard battery, a panic button is also incorporated into the unit. When pressed, a message will flash on Chaka, giving position, call sign as well as the direction of travel of the person in duress.

 

However, when used for blue force tracking, Chaka is not required as the data can be sent via a Link-ZA IL6 message.

 

Designed from the outset to tough mil-spec criteria, the system was deployed during the multinational Exercise Oxide off the Mozambican coast in September last year as part of a technology demonstration.

 

Valentine told defenceWeb that during the exercise, there was a case where an incident was simulated that involved a submarine.

 

“A Parachute Action Group was flown from Waterkloof onboard a SAAF C-130. The aircraft was tracked as well as the Special Forces members aboard the aircraft. They then jumped over the submarine and while they jumped, the parachutists were tracked. Only when they went under the water did we lose the track, but as soon as they popped up from the water, the track was transmitting again,” Valentine recalled.

 

A further trial was conducted during a combat search and rescue exercise with the Special Forces, first without and then utilising the Impi. Valentine says the difference was astronomical in getting to the person on the ground quickly.

 

Besides the Impi recording tracks which are then available for replay, everything that goes into the system and comes out of it is automatically recorded in a War Diary which is date/time stamped.

 

Special Forces have used the unit operationally on outside deployments for the past two years. The system has been flight certified by the Air Force, with the installation on the Rooivalk conducted under the auspices of Denel. The entire Rooivalk fleet have been installed with the blue force tracking devices, the same as with the C-130 fleet. The Oryx is also having the Impi permanently fitted into the helicopter, connected to the aircraft’s power supply.

 

The SAAF is currently using the commercial Spidertrack aircraft tracking system, which utilises an overseas-based server and the internet to communicate.

 

The Impi software is installed on a server housed at a SAAF facility, meaning only Air Force personnel can access the server and the data that emanates from the blue force tracking devices, greatly increasing operational security.

 

Considering the loss of Malaysia Airlines’ flight MH370 earlier this year, Saab are in discussions with the Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) to certify a tracker, based on Impi, for commercial installations.

 

Saab is hoping to shortly certify the tracking device on Airbus and Boeing airliners in order for airlines to track their aircraft in real time.

 

In June it was announced that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) confirmed that the Aircraft Tracking Task Force (ATTF) was expected to be in a position to deliver draft options for enhanced global aircraft tracking to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in September, leading to presentation to the industry before year-end.

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7 août 2014 4 07 /08 /août /2014 07:45
Challenges ahead if SA wants to be Africa's military superpower

 

 

06 August 2014 by Helmoed Römer Heitman, Independent Military and Defence Analyst – ISS Africa

 

South Africa has big plans to expand its involvement in Africa. To implement these, defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has a vision and a 400-page Defence Review to guide her developing the capabilities of the SANDF to match national, regional and continental roles envisaged by cabinet and the Presidency.

 

Yet she will need support and additional funds: quite a lot of it too, judging by the recommendations in the review.

 

The border security mission presents challenges in terms of present force levels, equipment and funding – up to R1 billion extra will be required to fully equip, deploy and sustain a further 11 companies for deployment to the border, as the minister intends.

 

Indications are that if all goes according to plan, the SANDF could be up to speed to fulfil its commitments at its borders and in the region by 2023. Only then will the real work of renewing the force capabilities start in earnest.

 

In her budget speech on 23 July, Mapisa-Nqakula said: ‘It is also going to be important that the implementation of the Defence Review takes into consideration the tasks and commitments for defence arising from the New National Security Strategy.’ This crucial document, which has been many years in the making, should be the central document to shape policy regarding South Africa’s political, military and diplomatic roles and engagement. Approved by government earlier this year, it has still not been made public – which hinders its role as a policy tool.

 

Government has, meanwhile, tasked the Army with forming a combat group for employment as part of the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC), which will in time become the intervention capability envisaged in the Defence Review.

 

In her speech, the minister reiterated the main responsibilities of the SANDF, which include, among others, defending and protecting South Africa, safeguarding its borders and infrastructure and promoting peace and security in Africa. South Africa’s regional role thus remains central to policy, the only question being to which level this is to be pursued.

 

In this regard, the Defence Review’s baseline of three long-term battalion or combat group peace support operations is derived from an assessment of government’s intent and on past experience. For several years, South Africa had battalions in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Darfur simultaneously, plus a brief battalion-strength deployment in the Comoros.

 

The minister also referred to the five milestones proposed in the Defence Review as the basis for planning. These are to arrest the decline of the SANDF; to rebalance the force by reprioritising; to ensure capacity meets current needs; to develop capacity to meet future challenges and to build the strength to deal with a limited war. The fifth only becomes relevant in the event of a major strategic shift, but the first two fall within the current five-year medium-term strategic framework.

 

However, the current defence budget – and the budgets forecast for the next two years – will not provide sufficient funding to do that. But, as the minister remarked, ‘many aspects … can be pursued in the short term without additional funding.’ These include various measures to lay the groundwork for the future development of the defence force. In reality, some of these have already been initiated – such as planning for restructuring within the Army. However, it is never without cost, and is more about reprioritising expenditure.

 

The current, short-term programme focuses on succession planning and renewal within the SANDF, and will, in fact, not require much funding in addition to what is needed for proper training and maintenance. Once these aspects have been addressed – and this should be done promptly – funding will have to increase to start the rebuilding. An immediate challenge is, however, the current shortfall in the present defence budget, due to both legacy issues and new operational activities, such as unfunded ACIRC preparations, sustainment of current missions and staff structure.

 

Considering the intent expressed in the budget speech along with what the Defence Review envisages for the first two milestones, relatively limited growth in defence funding should suffice during the current medium-term strategic framework. Real growth will, however, be needed in the second part of the period.

 

The targets set in the Defence Review for Milestone 1 (by 2015/16) that are relevant to the regional peace support role include enhanced strategic awareness capability, which includes expanding and enhancing the Special Forces capability; establishing a permanent forward base in Africa; re-establishing or enhancing a tactical airfield unit capability and a naval port-operating capability; and ensuring that troop contribution obligations are maintained at the standard whereby reimbursement from the United Nations is guaranteed.

 

This is over and above present deployments, which would continue at the same levels. These include the battalion in Darfur, the battalion group and other elements in the DRC, the patrol station in the Mozambique Channel and some smaller elements.

 

The targets set in Milestone 2 (by 2018/19) that pertain to the regional peace support role include developing a joint rapid response intervention capability; simultaneous renewal of the medium and light airlift; in-flight refuelling and air-ambulance capability and enhancing the medium helicopter lift capability. It also includes extended maritime protection capability. Again, this is over and above the present deployments that would continue, and over and above what is set out for Milestone 1.

 

Depending on the detailed force structure and chosen design, and the level of border patrolling to be reached within this period, these interventions and capability targets should be attainable at about 1,4% of the current gross domestic product (GDP), which is about 25% to 30% more than the present funding level.

 

This, however, only creates the basis for an expanded regional peace support operations capability. The actual development of that capability would begin in the second medium-term strategic framework. To evaluate the 2014 budget against South Africa’s regional capability one must also consider this second period, during which the Defence Force would be expected to attain the capabilities of Milestone 3.

 

This would, again depending on the detail and the required border security deployment, take the defence budget to about 1,6% of the current GDP, or 46% higher than the present funding level.

 

By the end of the second medium-term strategic framework – 2023 – the Defence Force would be capable of sustaining three long-term combat group level peace support operations, conducting maritime security patrols in Southern African Development Community (SADC) waters, and conducting a short-term brigade strength intervention operation using air- or sealift. This would be in addition to border safeguarding and patrols of South Africa’s own waters.

 

Only in the period after 2023 would the Defence Force begin with major renewal of conventional force capabilities to be able to respond to a serious challenge in the region. That would see defence funding rising to about 2,4% of the present GDP. While this envisaged defence strategy is desperately needed, and can be seen as a blueprint to transform the defence force into an organisation that will have at least minimum capabilities for its projected role and responsibilities, the big question remains how this will be done.

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24 mars 2014 1 24 /03 /mars /2014 17:45
SANDF troops conducting jungle warfare training in Port St Johns

SANDF troops conducting jungle warfare training in Port St Johns

 

20 March 2014 by Guy Martin - defenceWeb

 

The South African National Defence Force is using Port St Johns as a jungle warfare training facility in preparation for the deployment of 850 troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo in May, when they will join the UN’s Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) tasked with rooting out rebels.

 

5 South African Infantry (SAI) Battalion will replace 6 South African Infantry Battalion at the end of May under Operation Mistral, marking the unit’s first time in the DRC. The deployment will be for a year – most previous UN deployments were for six months but it is more economical and effective to deploy forces for a year, as less time is spent acclimatising with one deployment per year than two.

 

6 SAI deployed in May-June last year, joining a battalion sized element from Tanzania and a battalion sized element from Malawi. Lieutenant Colonel Piet Paxton of the SANDF's Joint Operations Division said that, to his mind, the Tanzanian and Malawians have demonstrated good performance in the DRC.

 

5 SAI started with pre-deployment training and is now busy with mission readiness training. Phase 1 of training was conducted at the Boschoek Training Area between 10 and 22 February and covered shooting, helicopter drills, buddy aid, GPS training and offensive and defensive attacks. Phase 2 started on March 3 in Port St Johns and will end on March 21. It is covering patrols, jungle warfare, water orientation, combat shooting, house clearing and offensive and defensive actions.

 

Port St Johns was chosen as the ideal spot for jungle warfare training as its dense forests are an almost exact replica of what troops will experience in the DRC. The SANDF’s other more established training facilities focus more on grasslands and savannah scenarios.

 

Brigadier Gen Mannetjies de Goede, from the SA Army Infantry Formation, said that experiences in the Central African Republic and DRC made the SANDF realise that the battlespace has changed and that the SANDF needs to adapt with it. Training was occurring in silos, he said. Before 6 SAI deployed to the DRC it trained in Grahamstown which does not have forests – current training areas do not cover tropical training hence a request was made to train in Port St Johns. Training in jungle terrain is part of the SANDF’s initiative to improve combat readiness as soldiers will go straight into battle when they arrive in the DRC, de Goede pointed out.

 

Some combat readiness training was demonstrated to the media on Wednesday, including scenarios with 81 mm mortars, 12.7 mm heavy machineguns and 40 mm grenade launchers. Journalists were taken on a tour of the forest when ‘rebels’ attacked, capturing some and holding them hostage before SANDF troops charged through the foliage and rescued them, firing a good many blank rounds along the way.

 

However, training has not all been simulated. Whilst conducting urban patrol training in Port St Johns, the 5 SAI soldiers responded to a real life event on March 12. Armed men attempted to rob a cash in transit security crew in the town’s business district. The robbers opened fire at the soldiers, who retaliated. During an hour-long standoff, three armed robbers and a security guard were killed and R21 million was recovered. It appears that the security guard was in plain clothes and was carrying a gun when he was shot. No soldiers were injured in the incident but one bystander was injured by a bullet that tore through his shin. Several weapons were confiscated, including an R-4, an AK-47, a .38 Special revolver and 9 mm handgun.

 

In addition to training, 5 SAI also engaged in an outreach programme that assisted a place of safety that takes local boys off the street. SANDF personnel voluntarily donated R4 963 to the Eluxolweni initiative, which was used to buy clothes, food and blankets.

 

5 SAI will be deploying as part of the Force Intervention Brigade, made up of South African, Tanzanian and Malawian troops, and under the direct command of the Monusco Force Commander. The FIB’s offensive mandate is to reduce the threat posed by armed groups to state authority and civilian security in the eastern DRC and to make space for stabilisation activities. Other objectives are to protect civilians, monitor the arms embargo and support the DRC government. They are also charged with protecting United Nations personnel, facilities and equipment.

 

The troops of 5 SAI are expected to be engaged in combat operations as soon as they arrive in the DRC as there are still numerous rebel groups active following the withdrawal of the M23, such as the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda). Paxton said that there was a lot of action in the DRC last year and he didn’t see this changing in 2014.

 

At the moment there are various South African elements in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A special contingent includes aircraft personnel, military police, logisticians, engineers and others. This group is headquartered in Kinshasa and is under command of the UN mission in the DRC (Monusco). The South African aviation unit, which includes Rooivalk combat helicopters and Oryx transport helicopters, is based in Goma. The aviation unit is an operational tool of the Monusco’s force commander, meaning that the helicopters are under UN, not South African, control.

 

As the FIB supports the DRC government’s armed forces (FARDC), South Africa has also provided training to the FARDC under operation Thebe.

 

The DRC rotation, expected to take three weeks to complete, is one of the SANDF’s three external deployments. The other two are Operation Copper ensuring maritime security in the Mozambique Channel and Operation Cordite with Unamid in Sudan.

 

Click here to see the training in action.

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24 mars 2014 1 24 /03 /mars /2014 17:45
Still many unanswered questions around the Battle for Bangui

 

 

24 March 2014 defenceWeb

 

Saturday marked the first anniversary of the involvement of SA National Defence Force (SANDF) elements in the ill-fated Battle for Bangui and while medals for bravery and valour have been awarded questions still remain.

 

One who wants public answers about South Africa’s involvement in the Central African Republic (CAR) at and before the time of the battle is David Maynier, the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party shadow minister of defence and military veterans.

 

In a statement timed to mark the anniversary, he said the firefight in the CAR capital resulted in the death of 15 South African soldiers who “when the fighting began fought well”.

 

“However, South Africa still does not know what really happened because there has been a deliberate and systematic cover-up of what has become known as ‘CARgate’.”

 

According to him the country has been “offered” a heroic battle narrative focused on the Battle for Bangui.

 

“This is, inevitably, only part of the truth. A proper investigation would almost certainly reveal President Jacob Zuma misled Parliament about the SANDF deployment to CAR and never informed Parliament about subsequent deployments in the DRC.”

 

He also points to intelligence failures and capability gaps, including a lack of suitable transport aircraft as other factors contributing to South African fatalities.

 

“That the operation was not all ‘military precision’ is revealed in leaked documents which provide an insight into the chaos at Joint Operations Command in the early hours of March 24, 2013, as it became clear that five registered/approved companies, contracted to provide air transport services, had no transport aircraft available to lift armoured patrol vehicles, a diesel bowser and more soldiers to the conflict zone.

 

“In the end Force Commander, Colonel William Dixon, and his soldiers from 1 Parachute Battalion and 5 Special Forces Regiment appear to have been left dangling in a deadly firefight, without the necessary support, in a country where they should never have been deployed,” Maynier said.

 

Attempts to establish what exactly happened through channels including the Joint Standing Committee on Defence as well as setting up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the SANDF involvement in CAR came to nothing.

 

“We know the SANDF conducted an internal review of the CAR deployment. We also know the SANDF convened three boards of enquiry relating to CARgate, including one to investigate the loss of controlled items, including weapons and vehicles. These documents have never seen the light of day and the findings have never been shared with the Joint Standing Committee on Defence.

 

“It was the greatest military disaster in the history of democratic South Africa. Yet a year later we are still none the wiser about what really happened in CAR,” Maynier said. Thirteen soldiers died in the firefight and anther two succumbed to their wounds.

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11 mars 2014 2 11 /03 /mars /2014 18:45
Defence Review delayed again

 

11 March 2014 by Kim Helfrich - defenceWeb

 

It appears unlikely Roelf Meyer’s Defence Review with be tabled in Parliament before it rises ahead of the May election, even though it is on the agenda for a Defence and Military Veterans Portfolio Committee set down for Friday.

 

This contradicts what SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Commander-in-Chief President Jacob Zuma said when he spoke at this year’s Armed Forces Day parade in Bloemfontein last month.

 

“I am pleased with the overall plan that has emerged to address the various limitations, including on the issues of budgets, currently affecting our ability to take proper care of our soldiers. Much consideration and time has been put in this work as we have now reached the final stages for Cabinet approval.

 

“It is my view these should be finalised, in the context of the current Defence Review, before the end of the term of office of this government,” he said at AFB Bloemspruit on February 21.

 

 

The current session of Parliament, the last of the fourth Parliament of the Republic, is set to end on Friday the day after Zuma is due to answer questions from MPs in the house.

 

That is the day the Portfolio Committee will deliberate for four hours over a single agenda item – “Briefing by the Defence Review Commission on matters relating to their review of defence policy”.

 

Former Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, under whose leadership Roelf Meyer’s committee was established to review the national defence policy as regards the structure and operations of the SANDF, the role of the local defence industry and Armscor, the State’s security acquisition agency, wanted the Review tabled in Parliament in October 2012.

 

Her successor, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, last month said: “The work of the Defence Review Committee is nearing completion. The Review is only awaiting Cabinet approval and if its vision for the defence force is accepted, then this leadership should stand ready for its implementation. The Review will inform the role, shape, design and trajectory of the SANDF for the next 20 to 30 years”.

 

DA shadow defence and military veterans minister, David Maynier, maintains “there is no prospect the Review will be adopted by the fourth democratic Parliament”.

 

“This means the SANDF will be in a holding pattern for a significant period, at least until late 2014/15.

 

“The real problem with the Review is the flawed process. The final document does not contain a fully costed force design with buy-in from all stakeholders, including National Treasury. This I see causing further delays in the adoption process when the fifth democratic Parliament starts work,” he said.

 

One of the proposals in the Review is to do away with Armscor in its present form and establish an acquisition department reporting to the Secretary for Defence.

 

The friction between the Minister and the acquisition agency has now reached the Constitutional Court following Mapisa-Nqakula’s summary dismissal of chairman “Mojo” Motau and his deputy Refiloe Mokoena last year. They were reinstated after taking the matter to the north Gauteng High Court. This, in turn, saw an appeal to the Constitutional Court lodged by the Defence Ministry.

 

The matter was heard on February 17 and judgement has been reserved.

 

The judgement, when it comes, will come under the purview of the new Cabinet expected to be announced within days of the May 7 elections. This, along with the future of the Defence Review, are now effectively on hold for the next three months.

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10 mars 2014 1 10 /03 /mars /2014 19:45
28 Squadron takes NSRI crew aboard for maritime flight training

Maritime flight training for NSRI - Picture Robert Fine, NSRI

 

10 March 2014 defenceWeb

 

28 Squadron is widely recognised as one of the hardest working units in the SA Air Force (SAAF) with its more than 50-year-old C-130BZs routinely providing logistic support across the country and the continent.

 

One of its other missions is search and rescue and training in this aspect of operations with the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) recently took place a long way from the squadron’s home base at AFB Waterkloof.

 

A pair of BZs made AFB Ysterplaat their temporary base for maritime flight operations training. NSRI crew members Robert Fine and Mahboob Ebrahim were invited to join the crew aboard one of the BZs.

 

The mission the NSRI crew joined started early at Ysterplaat and after a flight briefing the aircraft departed for a location just off Saldanha Bay/Langebaan lagoon. Two specially deployed SANDF “casualty” vessels were on the sea in the area for the aircrew to spot and then deploy life rafts as near as possible.

 

“On arrival in the area, the C-130 started a search pattern and once the ‘casualties’ were located, the flight pattern was changed so that multiple smoke markers could be dropped in close proximity. The markers would assist with wind direction and enable the pilot to line up the aircraft on final approach. Once in position a life raft is pushed out of the back of the aircraft with a small parachute deploying to break its fall. It automatically inflates on hitting the water,” said Fine.

 

The C-130BZ has a range of about 2 700 nautical miles and an eight hour endurance. The four-engined aircraft can run search operations up to 1 300 nautical miles offshore with an hour on station depending on weather conditions and other variables. Different size life rafts can be dropped depending on the number of people needing rescue. Additional life rafts are carried aboard in case the initial drop is unsuccessful.

 

28 Squadron, under the command of Colonel Jurgens Prinsloo, has nine C-130BZs on its inventory to fulfil tasks ranging from logistic support for SANDF continental peacekeeping and peace support operations, humanitarian operations, search and rescue, support to the SA Army and general airlift.

 

The squadron is the SAAF’s main medium heavy airlift squadron and last June it marked its 70th anniversary at the same time as the 50th in-service anniversary of the C-130BZ.

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5 février 2014 3 05 /02 /février /2014 18:45
Exports essential for Rheinmetall Denel Munition

 

 

04 February 2014 by Kim Helfrich - defenceWeb

 

More proof, if ever it was needed, that the South African defence industry cannot be viable without a strong export market comes from Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM).

 

Chief executive Norbert Schulze told defenceWeb the company, working from four locations in South Africa, last year exported 70% by value of its products.

 

“Our current order book shows 90% of production will be exported this year. This is in addition to us being the sole supplier to the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) of 105 and 155 [mm] artillery munitions, aircraft bombs, naval ammunition as well as armour and various mortars.”

 

Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH of Germany is the 51% majority shareholder in the South African company with State-owned defence industry conglomerate Denel the other shareholder.

 

Schulze is actively exploring further export opportunities and this saw RDM recently open an office in Russia and work with the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence, the Dutch defence authorities and NATO.

 

The decision to establish a presence in Russia follows South Africa becoming one of the four BRICS member countries and he is confident there is a place for South African made munitions in the Russian defence sector.

 

With the need to keep exports strong, both from the point of view of keeping production facilities going as well as profitability, RDM has been working with the British and Dutch military authorities to obtain approval for a number of its products.

 

“We are confident of gaining the stamp of approval from the MoD by mid-year and this will open the door to another market,” Schulze said.

 

These will be in addition to the 30 countries where RDM is already doing business and Schulze also has plans to make the company a player in the central Asian and South American markets.

 

“We have targeted South America as a priority for 2014,” he said, adding RDM would continue to offer both its products and services to Africa.

 

“Africa is our continent and we want to keep it that way as well as keeping the SANDF as our number one customer.”

 

Apart from keeping up its supply to the South African military machine, Schulze plans to add the SA Police Service to RDM’s client list. He is confident this will see locally produced rubber bullets, flash-bangs and teargas being used by police.

 

Apart from steel forgings cast at its Boksburg facility that are used by Rheinmetall subsidiaries worldwide, RDM also supplies fellow Denel Group company PMP with military grade powder for its range of small calibre ammunition.

 

“Explosives and propellants are another area RDM is looking to grow and we currently have a staff complement of 80 working in our rocket section.”

 

As with other defence industry companies in South Africa, RDM has had to invest in people.

 

“We start identifying the right people while they are still at high school as our scientists and engineers of the future. The RDM Academy has been set up specifically with this in mind and part of its brief is to ‘search for bright youngsters’.”

 

Schulze is aiming at having 10 of the right young people in the Academy a year because it’s “the only way to go. The type of people we need one doesn’t find on the market”.

 

In the last financial year RDM employed 1 630 people. Schulze sees this growing and then settling at around the 1 700 mark with the RDM Academy bringing the right people to the company to keep it on the right side of future financial statements.

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16 janvier 2014 4 16 /01 /janvier /2014 17:45
Still no progress on Defence Review

 

 

15 January 2014 by Kim Helfrich - defenceWeb

 

An indication of the priority rating, or lack of it, attached to the Defence Review comes from Shadow Defence and Military Veterans Minister David Maynier who told defenceWeb that as of today, 11 official Parliamentary questions on the review and associated matters asked by him have not yet been replied to.

 

The more than 400 page Defence Review is seen as the precursor to a new White Paper on defence that will prescribe the form of South Africa’s military for at least the next 20 years. It will also guide equipment procurement and be a valuable planning tool for the local defence industry.

 

Former Defence Minister Roelf Meyer was asked by then Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu in July 2011 to review the current defence policy and present a document setting out the way forward.

 

Meyer and his six member committee, supported by a six-strong resource group, embarked on a national tour to obtain input from not only the defence and military sector but also civil society. Hundreds of meetings and engagements later, they produced the draft Defence Review, beating the deadline set by Sisulu, who said she wanted it to be tabled in Parliament by October 2012.

 

The Parliamentary deadline passed without the Review being seen by the national legislature. This was at the time ascribed to the arrival of Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula in the Defence and Military Veterans Ministry with the outspoken Sisulu moved to Public Service and Administration.

 

Since then Meyer and his co-committee members have done more reworking of their document following meetings with the then new Minister as well one with President Jacob Zuma, Commander-in-Chief of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).

 

That the Defence Review has to make it to Parliament has also been pointed out by Peter Groenewald, FF+ spokesman on defence. He noted that both the Department of Defence’s annual Strategic and Performance Plans make reference to it.

 

“If it is not approved or at least debated initially there will be no progress in creation of an SANDF capable of doing what government wants it to do down the line.”

 

In October defence analyst Helmoed Heitman, who is also a member of the Review committee, told defenceWeb the document has gone “about as far as it can”.

 

The Review’s lack of progress through official channels he said is “a real problem”.

 

“The strategic situation in Africa is changing quickly – and for the worse – while the SANDF is stuck with the old 1998 Defence Review force design and National Treasury intent on enforcing that, despite the obvious requirement to increase force levels and add certain capabilities, no more funding comes to the military.”

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20 décembre 2013 5 20 /12 /décembre /2013 13:45
Feature: the SANDF in 2013

 

 

20 December 2013 by Kim Helfrich - defenceWeb

 

When those in overall command of South Africa’s military, from Commander-in-Chief President Jacob Zuma, his Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Chief General Solly Shoke, review the force’s performance over the past 12 months it should result in more than a certain amount of introspection.

 

There was both good and bad for all four arms of service with the bad, in the form of body bags arriving at AFB Waterkloof, the most extreme.

 

On the good side, sterling performances by South African air- and ground-based elements deployed in the troubled Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) showed the SANDF still has it what it takes.

 

While the men and women in uniform, as well as the civilian component of the SANDF, by and large acquitted themselves reasonably and in certain cases, exceptionally, well of the tasks assigned them, there are areas for concern.

 

The sight of body bags being carried off the cargo ramp of a 28 Squadron C-130BZ at the end of March brought home forcibly just what the cost of South African foreign policy could be. The 13 troops from 44 Parachute Regiment members who died in the Battle for Bangui were later joined on the fatality list by two more Regiment members who succumbed to wounds sustained in the Central African Republic.

 

These 15 deaths served as a timely reminder of the need for proper planning, in terms of logistic support, as well as the importance of good intelligence.

 

Shoke subsequently indicated the lessons learnt in Bangui would be taken to heart and they were when officers involved there assisted with training of the South African contingent that is now part of the UN’s first ever Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) in the DRC.

 

The plus side of the ledger was be bolstered by two specific performances, again both beyond South Africa’s borders.

 

In the DRC a SANDF sniper racked up what is considered by experts to be one of the longest successful kill shots and the home-grown Rooivalk combat support helicopter proved to be too much for the M23 rebel group, which has long been a thorn in the side of FARDC (DRC government forces) and the UN Mission in that country.

 

A single successful sortie by a pair of 16 Squadron Rooivalks is viewed by military observers as the turning point that led to the M23 retreating. It also marked the Rooivalk’s first ever combat since the helicopter entered service with the SA Air Force.

 

While the SANDF has yet to officially comment on the more than two kilometre shot by the South African sniper deployed as part of the FIB, military watchers said it was the sixth longest confirmed successful sniper shot in military history.

 

Equipment-wise, the SA Army will be breathing much easier now that all the paperwork is finally completed and Denel Land Systems can start production of its long-awaited replacement for the Ratel infantry fighting vehicle: the Badger.

 

The first of 238 Badgers will be delivered to the landward arm of service in 2015 with the final vehicle’s delivery date currently set for 2022. Sadly, the delay in finalisation of the production contract has meant a drop of 56 in the number of Badgers to be built.

 

By all accounts the Navy has coped with its problems of manpower, platforms and a shortage of finance. While it did not take part in the year’s major naval event – the Royal Australian Navy International Fleet Review – successful exercises were concluded on both the east and west coast of Africa. The maritime arm of service was also the mainstay of Operation Copper, the Southern African Development Community three nation counter piracy tasking in the Mozambique Channel.

 

Support in this operation was provided by the SA Air Force via a C-47TP and Oryx helicopter.

 

The airborne arm of the SANDF dispelled many of the rumours about its ability to put aircraft on the line – and in the sky – when no less than 10 jets (five Gripens and five Hawks) taking part in the Air Capability Demonstration at the Roodewal Bombing Range in September (no Gripens were airborne during the May edition of the Air Capability Demonstration).

 

This highlight apart, the SAAF saw a large portion of its Agusta A109 light utility helicopter fleet grounded, the cancellation of a maintenance contract with Denel Aviation’s Aero Manpower Group and more latterly a public relations debacle when a long planned aviation and lifestyle show at AFB Ysterplaat was cancelled less than two weeks before the event.

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12 novembre 2013 2 12 /11 /novembre /2013 12:45
A South African Air Force Gripen flies over the Union Buildings

A South African Air Force Gripen flies over the Union Buildings

 

11 November 2013 by Guy Martin – defenceWeb

 

Enhancing the Reserve force, building up the South African Army and strengthening peacekeeping capacity are some of the Department of Defence’s main priorities, according to its annual report.

 

The report, for the 2012/13 financial year, said the enhancement of the South African National Defence Force’s (SANDF’s) Landward Defence Capabilities was “essential” in order for it to carry out all the missions required of it.

 

The report noted that the South African Army received no equipment from the Strategic Defence Procurement Package, like the other arms of service did, and is thus lacking technologically advanced equipment. Enhancement “is considered a priority”, especially if the Army is to operate jointly with the Navy and Air Force.

 

More money was allocated last year to the landward defence programme, due mainly to extra maintenance requirements for the SA Army’s ageing vehicles and the renewal of some equipment. The SA Army will further be enhanced in the coming years with the delivery of Badger armoured vehicles, which are being built by Denel Land Systems.

 

Enhancing the SANDF’s peacekeeping capability and deployability was another priority, as “the role of the SANDF in promoting peace and security in the region and on the African continent necessitates the enhancement of the SANDF’s peacekeeping capability that will include the SANDF’s Forward Deployment Capability.”

 

The Department of Defence report noted that the revitalisation and transformation of the reserves was an important ongoing task, as the Reserves are needed to fulfil various defence tasks in support of the regulars. “The Reserves were transformed to fulfil their primary role of providing the majority of the conventional landward capability of the SANDF, whilst at the same time supplementing the peace support missions conducted by the Regulars,” the report noted. Thousands of reserve forces personnel were used during the 2012/13 financial year to support everything from border safeguarding to peacekeeping deployments.

 

In its report, the Department of Defence stated that it was important to review the arrangement for the repair and maintenance of defence force facilities, with the aim of establishing an in-house DoD Works Capability. This would allow the SANDF to assume full responsibility in looking after its own facilities, following problems encountered with the National Department of Public Works (NDPW).

 

“The DOD has steadily progressed with the establishment of the Defence Works Formation which is currently functional and executing identified renovation projects for facilities occupied by the DOD in close co-operation with the NDPW,” the report said. “The creation of the Works capability has enabled the DoD to assume selected custodian responsibilities from NDPW and in the process created job opportunities.”

 

Other priorities outlined in the annual report included job creation, the National Youth Service, enhancing maritime security (primarily through the South African Maritime Strategy) and restructuring and supporting the defence industry (through the Defence Review Committee).

 

A number of capacity constraints were identified by the DoD’s accounting officer that impacted on priorities, such as skills losses, which “continued throughout the period under review, resulting in some critical skills needing to be acquired from industry at exorbitant cost. Although new personnel were recruited and trained, it will take time for these members to gain the necessary experience.”

 

The skills shortage affected peace support missions, leading to the to the non-compliance with minimum standards of serviceability of major equipment. Consequently, the Department of Defence was not fully reimbursed by the United Nations for the use of its equipment.

 

As previously mentioned, the state of primary equipment, particularly within the Army, “continued to decline to unacceptable levels. Additional funding provided for maintenance and repair of the operational vehicle fleet has had some effect, but is not sufficient to address this concern adequately. The rejuvenation of these capabilities therefore remains one of the DOD’s top priorities.”

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7 novembre 2013 4 07 /11 /novembre /2013 12:45
An SA Army 120 mm mortar in action

An SA Army 120 mm mortar in action

 

06 November 2013 by Guy Martin - defenceWeb

 

The state of the South African Army’s vehicles and other so-called prime mission equipment (PME) is declining to unacceptable levels while modernisation remains stagnant due to budget constraints and hurdles from entities like Armscor, according to the Department of Defence.

 

In its annual report for the period April 1, 2012, to March 31, 2013, the Department of Defence (DoD) noted that the period “remained a challenging year for the SA Army as a result of ever-increasing costs of the sustainment of PME, facilities, personnel, ammunition for training and operations.”

 

“The state of prime mission equipment, particularly in the Landward Defence programme, continued to decline to unacceptable levels. Additional funding provided for maintenance and repair of the operational vehicle fleet has had some effect, but is not sufficient to address this concern adequately. The rejuvenation of these capabilities therefore remains one of the DoD’s top priorities,” the DoD’s accounting officer said in the annual report.

 

As the Army did not receive any equipment from the Strategic Defence Packages (‘arms deal’), the DoD said it is lacking the required human resources, infrastructure and technologically advanced equipment.

 

Modernising the South African Army and acquiring more equipment “has remained stagnant” and has been hampered by a lack of funding and the delays to the finalisation of the Defence Review “which will inform the required future Landward Defence Capabilities of the SANDF”, the DoD said.

 

The serviceability and repair of equipment and vehicles was highlighted as a challenge to the landward arm of the SANDF due to the long process of acquisition, distribution of spares and shortage of personnel.

 

Although the SA Army said it was fully motivated to support its equipment, it said that support from Armscor and the Central Procurement Service Centre (CPSC) “remained extremely challenging.” Reliance on Armscor and the CPSC “created challenges for the SA Army resulting in the underutilisation of National Treasury funding.”

 

The South African Army actually underspent in the last financial year, something that was attributed to “external spending hurdles” such as the CPSC, Public Works department and Armscor, “which the SA Army is unable to influence.” Indeed, actual expenditure for 2012/13 was R12.367 billion, versus the R12.68 billion budgeted for.

 

The DoD said the defence budget allocation for landward renewal was “adequate” for the short term, but that rejuvenating the Army’s equipment, human resources and infrastructure was “compromised by a variety of institutional challenges central to which is the limited budget”. Indeed, the Strategic Capital Acquisition Master Plan (SCAMP) faces a budget deficit of R3 billion between FY 2017 and FY2020.

 

While the DoD highlighted the poor state of the Army’s vehicle fleet in its report, some relief came this year when Denel Land Systems received a contract for the production of 264 Badger armoured vehicles, to be produced over ten years, with the first delivery in 2015.

 

Apart from budget issues affecting equipment, the DoD said the SA Army’s personnel are insufficiently rejuvenated, directly affecting its ability to provide and sustain operational obligations in the future. A number of units were singled out as being in adequate to sustain operations, notably 16 and 17 Maintenance Units, 101 and 102 Field Workshops, Hospitality Services and VIP Protectors.

 

For the year under review, the DoD said the SA Army, as part of the Landward Defence Programme, made a significant contribution, notably through border protection duties and external deployments in Africa. “The SA Army fulfilled all its Joint Force Employment (JFE) commitments, notwithstanding the fact that it was overstretched, especially in the infantry, engineer, intelligence, signal and support capabilities. Reserve and MSDS [Military Skills Development System] members were utilised for both internal and external deployments to alleviate the pressure on Regular units.”

 

The external deployments included United Nations missions to the Democratic Republic of Congo (Monusco), Darfur (Unamid) and in support of training and protection in the Central African Republic. The SANDF also sent personnel to train DRC military forces. Two SA Army Reserve sub-units supported the Monusco and Unamid operations respectively

 

During the year under review, the SA Army provided 11 combat-ready sub-units for Border Safeguarding Operations as part of internal deployments. Eight SA Army Reserve sub-units were deployed for border safeguarding. A total of 10 784 reserves were called up for 1 647 109 man-days. 65% of the full call-up complement were employed for operational and force preparation duties.

 

The SA Army was also used to support the South African Police Service, particularly during the Marikana unrest, supported the African Cup of Nations and assisted the Mozambican Defence Force with counter-piracy operations in the Mozambique Channel.

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6 septembre 2013 5 06 /09 /septembre /2013 07:45
Navy focuses on advancing simulation training

05 September 2013 by Dean Wing - defenceWeb

 

The South African Navy (SAN) is developing a master plan for the use of simulators, with the SAN Simulation Workgroup hosting a Navy/industry symposium in Simon’s town on Tuesday.

 

Simulation-based training has long been used by the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) to reduce the cost of training and increase user skills and experience. While the S A Army and Air Force already have substantial experience in battlefield and training simulation, the SAN has not been lax either, with submariners leading the way.

 

Opening the symposium, Rear Admiral Hanno Teuteberg, Chief Director Maritime Strategy, noted “the enemy often has better equipment and intelligence than us, but the difference is in our training. We should give our kids the unfair advantage of being excellently trained”.

 

While gaining real-life experience traditionally took 20 to 30 years, Teuteberg expressed the view there is a need to compress training to gain the necessary knowledge and experience in a far shorter time.

 

Captain (SAN) Chris Manig, a member of the SAN Simulation Workgroup, noted the use of simulators was gaining increased importance within the Navy, “where running costs are going up and budgets are going down”.

 

The Workgroup has been tasked with formulating a policy for the use of simulators in the Navy, including the development of a Master Plan. The end result will be the effective use of simulation to achieve and maintain operational capability at the highest level in a reduced time.

 

The Navy realises they have very few experts in the service with experience in simulation architecture and programing, thus the need for industry involvement. In addition to these benefits, Captain (Navy) Andre de Wet observed the Navy cannot make use of commercial maritime simulators as they lacked the capabilities and equipment specific to naval vessels, such as warfare, replenishment at sea, close manoeuvring and weapon specific systems.

 

The submarine flotilla already use of various simulators, such as the Engineering Test Bed (incorporating the Periscope Simulator) provided by Cybicom Atlas Defence; Submarine Control Simulator; the Mobile Combat Information Centre Simulator; the Submarine Escape Training Tower; a Torpedo Counter-Measure Launcher simulator as well as computer based training and scale models.

 

The Warfare School also makes use of the frigate Combat Team Trainer, the Wildcat tactical trainer, the Radsim radar trainer, the Land Based Training System and various firearm, fire fighting and damage control trainers.

 

Demonstrating the value the Navy is deriving from its simulators, de Wet said the Submarine Control Simulator was at the heart of submarine training in the SAN. This simulator was running two shifts a day until 10pm every night.

 

A thorough needs analysis is being conducted, detailing urgent and further needs requirements. Included in the urgent requirement are Ship’s Bridge and Flight Deck simulators, for which Cybicom has also built and demonstrated prototypes.

 

Both local and international speakers spoke of the benefits of simulator training and provided an overview of products and future developments. A common theme among speakers was the need to link and network the various sub-system simulators to provide total platform training.

 

A new development is the incorporation of first-person shooter engines from the gaming industry, allowing for accurate 3D representation of the ship with detailed walk-through and work-flow.

 

Simulators are not only used for training, but also for acquisition support, forecasting, planning, etc.

 

As noted by presenters, the provision of advanced, networked simulators is not dependent on technology, but based on what the organisation requires.

 

While the Navy has clearly identified the need for and the will to acquire advanced simulators, the final implementation will be dependent on budgetary constraints.

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25 juillet 2013 4 25 /07 /juillet /2013 16:45
South Africa : Puma airframe will improve scouts’ training

24 July 2013 by defenceWeb

 

A decommissioned SA Air Force (SAAF) Puma helicopter airframe has been added to the inventory of training aids at 1 Tactical Intelligence Regiment in Potchefstroom.

 

With uniformed intelligence operators, better known as scouts, generally deployed on surveillance taskings via helicopter, the airframe will provide a realistic level of training often not present in the current tight financial situation the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) finds itself in.

 

Acknowledging this, SA Army Intelligence Formation General Officer Commanding Brigadier General Nontobeko Mpaxa said the airframe “will serve as a realistic replacement in the event the SAAF is unable to provide an aircraft for helicopter training”.

 

The airframe will also allow for better and more hands-on training prior to training on a serviceable helicopter. This will also cut down on the time needed for training with rotary-winged aircraft, another cost saving measure.

 

Scouts will use the Puma airframe to properly orient themselves with regard to danger areas, crew positions, entry and exit points and preparation for landing. Helicopter trooping drills, including embussing and debussing, seating arrangements and protection of the aircraft in a landing zone will also now have an added dimension of reality. These drills can be safely practised day and night to fully familiarise scouts with the air transport that will take them to predetermined surveillance positions on deployments including border protection, anti-poaching operations and peacekeeping or peace support.

 

Having an airframe on hand at the Regiment will also see better training when it comes to packing supplies for delivery to scouts deployed at forward surveillance posts. This, Mpaxa said, will be of particular value to those undergoing the surveillance troop sergeant’s course. These are the men and women charged with ensuring scouts have the necessary food, water, ammunition and other specialist equipment to properly execute their tasks.

 

Overall, the one star general is confident the newest training aid will “significantly” improve the standard of training at the Formation’s School of Tactical Intelligence. She also indicated the airframe would be made available to other units in the Potchefstroom area for training purposes.

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24 juin 2013 1 24 /06 /juin /2013 17:45
Rapid redesign makes Gecko a watercraft

20 June 2013 by defenceWeb/CSIR

 

A quick reaction task undertaken by the CSIR for the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), specifically its Special Forces, has added waterborne rescue to the number of tasks the Gecko vehicle can perform.

 

The quick reaction tasks have to be completed within 24 to 72 hours and typically require a customised, solid but cost effective solution to address an urgent force deployment need said Klaus Muller, project leader for the CSIR’s technology for special operations team.

 

Faced with having to rescue flood victims from trees or roofs the SANDF required an easily-deployable means of reaching and transporting people through raging rivers. With the option of re-inventing a new craft not a possibility the CSIR determined ways of turning Gecko vehicles already in use by Special Forces into a waterborne platform.

 

“Quick reaction tasks are time and mission critical and require extreme agility and innovative thinking. We follow a proper engineering process – but it all has to happen very fast. The needs could vary from creating an object by 3-D printing or adapting existing technologies or weapons to deal with specific situations encountered during operations to applications, such as custom maps on mobile phones. We also do maritime work to support anti-piracy efforts.

 

“We receive these calls at any time and must be ready to support the Special Operations teams to perform their duties,” Muller said.

 

Small and agile as its namesake, the Gecko is often used during specialised military operations – including reconnaissance and rescue missions. With a small trailer attached it carries personnel and ammunition or it can be turned into a command and control unit with communications infrastructure.

 

Both Gecko and trailer can be air-dropped for rapid deployment in all terrain types. The Gecko by itself was not sufficiently buoyant or stable in deeper water and stronger currents.

 

Investigations were conducted into various means of getting the Gecko “to swim”.

 

The solution had to be manoeuvrable and strong enough to propel the vehicle and trailer, handle various angles (such as when motoring down a river bank into the water) and be robust enough to carry several people. Numerous computer-aided designs were created and modelled. The final concept comprised a steel frame with several commercial off-the-shelf fenders fitted around the sides of the vehicle. Additional power is provide by an electrical engine fitted on the frame.

 

In field trials, the number of fenders was alternated to find the best solution – and the best load capacity. The final product has sufficient fenders to carry up to ten adults.

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18 avril 2013 4 18 /04 /avril /2013 16:09
SANDF will be part of UN DRC intervention brigade

18 April 2013 by defenceWeb

South African National Defence Force (SANDF) Commander-in-Chief, President Jacob Zuma, has confirmed that South Africa will be part of the recently announced UN intervention brigade that will undertake offensive operations in the DRC.

According to an official Presidency statement, he has authorised until the end of April next year: “The employment of 1 267 SANDF personnel in the DRC for service in fulfilment of international obligations of South Africa towards the United Nations. The members were employed in the DRC for the period April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013, to participate in the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the DRC and will continue in this mission”.

The same statement also informed the country another 11 SANDF members would be based in the DRC until April 2014 to assist with capacity building of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) with a further 67 South African soldiers to be deployed as trainers for the FARDC.

Zuma also approved the deployment of 850 SANDF members to Darfur as part of the hybrid AU/UN operation in that country. This deployment is also effective until the end of April next year.

Zuma did not elaborate on whether the around 1 100 SANDF troops and support personnel currently in the DRC at Goma as part of MONUSCO (the UN operation in the Congo) would all join the intervention brigade but the numbers indicate there will be extra South Africans going to the central African country, probably at month-end.

South Africans will serve alongside soldiers from Malawi and Tanzania in the intervention brigade. No commander has yet been announced for the 3 069-strong brigade by the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission.

Each country will send an infantry battalion of 850 soldiers, amounting to 2 550 men. The remaining troops will come from an artillery company, a special forces company and a reconnaissance company. The brigade will operate under the command of a Tanzanian general, according to MONUSCO.

The intervention brigade, with a mandate to conduct “targeted offensive operations” against eastern DRC rebels, was approved by the UN Security Council on March 28. The landmark brigade has been given a mandate to conduct offensive operations, a first for UN peacekeepers.

defenceWeb earlier this week requested details of the brigade’s rules of engagement (ROE) but had not received any feedback from the Stabilisation Mission spokesman Madnodje Mounoubai at the time of publication.

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