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South African National Defence Force

altSouth African National Defence Force


1. Order of battle
2. Defence economics
3. State of military forces
4. Country threat report
5. External deployments

1. South African National Defence Force (SANDF) Order of Battle
Total force strength
Army: 40 121*
Air Force: 10 815*
Navy: 7 702*
Military Health Service: 8 380*
Logistic Division: 3 095*
Total: 78 707*
Human Resource Division:
1 466*
Military Police Division:
3 095*
* Actual strength as of March 31, 2014
South African Army:

191: 177 Olifant 1A/B (Of which 133 in storage) and 26 Olifant Mk 2 (for training)
178: Rooikat 76 (Of which 94 in storage)
1200: Ratel 20/60/90 Mk3 (Of which 666 in storage)
370: Casspir
440: Mamba
238: Badger (on order)
Self-propelled artillery
43: G6 155 mm (41 in storage)
Towed artillery
72: G5 155 mm (66 in storage)
75: G2 140 mm (all in storage)
Multiple rocket launcher
26: Valkiri Mk 1 127mm MRL (all in storage)
25: Bateleur Mk 2 127 mm MRL (4 in storage)
1190: 81 mm
36: 120 mm
52: ZT-3 (Of which 36 in storage)
43: Milan ER ATM
Recoilless rifle
171: 106 mm M40A1
Rocket launcher
92 mm FT-5 (in reserve from 2007)
Air defence gun
36: 23 mm Zumlac (self-propelled)
40: 35 mm GDF-002 (towed)
Air defence missile
8: Starstreak launchers (as part of GBADS – Ground Based Air Defence System)
Army Office:

2 Brigade HQs: 43 SA Brigade, 46 SA Brigade

SA Army Infantry Formation HQ: 20 Group HQs (to be phased out); two mechanised infantry battalions; three motorized infantry battalions; one specialized infantry battalion (to be phased out); School of Infantry; 10 Light Infantry Battalion

SA Army Artillery Formation HQ: School of Artillery; 4 Artillery Regiment; 1 Artillery Mobilisation Centre

SA Army Air Defence Artillery Formation HQ: School of Air Defence Artillery; 10 AA Regiment

SA Army Armour Formation HQ: School of Armour; I SSB; I Tank Regiment

SA Army Engineer Formation HQ: School of Engineers; 2 Field Engineer Regiment; 1 Construction Regiment; 35 Engineer Support Regiment; 4 Survey and Mapping Regiment; 1 Military Printing Regiment

SA Army Intelligence Formation HQ: School of Tactical Intelligence; 1 Tactical Intelligence Regiment.

SA Army Training Formation HQ: 14 General Support Bases; 101 Field Workshop; 16 Maintenance Unit; National Ceremonial Guard; 102 Field Workshop; 17 Maintenance Unit.
Forces by role
Armoured 1 division
Mechanised infantry
1 division; 1 independent brigade
6 divisions; 7 independent brigades
1 independent brigade
Special forces*
5 coy * Special Forces fall under Joint Operations
1 division
3 independent brigades
1 division
Border Guards
1 brigade
South African Air Force (SAAF)

Combat aircraft
9: Gripen D (Two seat)
17: Gripen C (Single seat)
24: Hawk 120 (Trainer/light support)
Trainer aircraft
53: PC-7 Mk 2 Astra (60 delivered; 35 being upgraded; 20 offered for sale. Upgraded aircraft known only as PC-7 Mk II)
Transport aircraft
9: C-130BZ Hercules
3: C212
7: C-47TP Turbo Dakota (nine in service until crashes in November and December 2012. Five configured for maritime patrol; two for transport; 1 as transport/photographic platform)
3: Beech 200 King Air
1: Beech 300 King Air
10: Cessna 208 Caravan
1: PC-12
VIP aircraft
1: Boeing 737 BBJ
2: Falcon 50
1: Falcon 900
2: Cessna Citation II
Combat helicopter
11: Rooivalk Mk I
Transport helicopter
39: Oryx
29: AW-109
6: BK-117
Maritime/EW/RECCE helicopter
4: Super Lynx 300 (Navy)
Air defence radar
2: Static radar (Mariepskop and Ellisras)
2: Mobile long range radar
4: Mobile short range radar

Fighter squadrons
2 Squadron (AFB Makhado) with Gripens
Maritime patrol
35 Squadron (AFB Ysterplaat) with C-47TPs and C-47TPMs
28 Squadron (AFB Waterkloof) with C-130BZs; 42 Squadron (AFB Waterkloof) with King Airs, PC-12, C208 Caravans; 44 Squadron (AFB Waterkloof) with C212s; 21 (VIP) Squadron (AFB Waterkloof) with Boeing BBJ, Falcon 900, Falcon 50s, Cessna Citation IIs
17 Squadron (AFB Waterkloof) with Oryx and A109s; 19 Squadron (AFB Hoedspruit) with Oryx and A109s; 22 Squadron (AFB Ysterplaat) with Oryx, Super Lynx and A109; 15 Squadron (AFB Durban) with Oryx, BK 117s and A109s; 16 Squadron (AFB Bloemspruit) with Rooivalks
Central Flying School (CFS Langebaanweg) with PC-7 Mk IIs; 85 Combat Flying School (AFB Makhado) with Hawks; 87 Helicopter Flying School with Oryx, BK 117 and A109 LUH
South African Navy (SAN)
4: Amatola (Valour) class (German Meko A-200 SAN)
Mine layer/hunter
2: River class (German Navors class – one in reserve)
4: City class
3: Manthatisi (Heroine) class (German Type 209)
Patrol/Strike boat (Gun/Missile/OPV/IPV)
3: Warrior class (currently being upgraded to offshore patrol vessels)
1: Sarah Baartman class (OPV) (Former Dept of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries vessel)
3: Lillian Ngoyi class (IPV) (Former Dept of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries vessel)
(Amphibious/Transport/Supply) 1: Drakensberg (fleet oiler/transport/supply)
Scientific (Survey)
1: Protea class (Survey) (UK Hecla)
Harbour patrol
21: Namacurra class
ASA Navy Office in Pretoria; Fleet Command in Simon’s Town; Naval Station in Durban; Maritime Reaction Squadron (commissioned in 2008 and tasked with peacekeeping operations, boarding at sea, humanitarian assistance and anti-terrorism)
South African Military Health Service (SAMHS)

Surgeon General and Staff (Pretoria): Office of the Surgeon General; Chief Director Force Preparation; Chief Director Support

Tertiary Military Health Formation: 1 Military Hospital (Pretoria); 2 Military Hospital (Cape Town); 3 Military Hospital (Bloemfontein); Institute for Aviation Medicine (Pretoria); Institute for Maritime Medicine (Simon’s Town); Military Psychological Institute (Pretoria); Military Vetinary Institute (Potchefstroom)

Military Health Support Formation: Military Health Base Depot (Pretoria); Military Health Procurement Unit (Pretoria)
Area Military Health Formation

Area Health Units: Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu Natal, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North West Province

Military Health Training formation: School for Military Health Training; School for Military Training; Physical Training, Sport and Recreation School; Nursing College; SAHMS Band

Mobile Formation: 7 Med Bm Gp; 8 Med Bn Gp; 1, 3 and 6 Med Bn Gps

SANDF overview

Minister of Defence: Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula

Chief of National Defence Force:
Lieutenant General Solly Shoke


Structure: The President is Commander-in-Chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and appoints the Chief of the SANDF. The Department of Defence falls under the Ministry of Defence with its Minister and Deputy Minister of Defence. The Chief of the SANDF is the commander of the SANDF, which comprises of four services: South African Army, Navy, Air Force and Military Health Services. The Joint Operations Division (J Ops) is responsible for the deployment of the SANDF on operations.

2. South African defence economics

Defence budget:
FY 2012/13: R38.4 billion
FY 2013/14: R39.9 billion (projected)
FY 2014/15: R42.3 billion (projected)

Defence budget percentage per GDP (2000-2010)


Defence budget per US$ Mil (2000-2011)



Defence budget percentage growth (2000-2011)



3. State of military forces

South Africa’s military operational effectiveness is hampered by insufficient funding. A significant amount of the defence budget is going to salaries alone. The SANDF does not have the funds needed to adequately train its personnel, replace old equipment and maintain existing equipment. While the 1998 Strategic Defence Procurement packages saw the acquisition of new fighter jets, helicopters, frigates and submarines, most other equipment is ageing rapidly and due for replacement. The South African Air Force has been particularly hard hit by budget constraints that are limiting flying hours and 12 Gripens have been placed in storage.

Maritime security operations in the Indian Ocean have also drained the South African Navy’s operational budget. According to Admiral Green the Navy requested R126 million for these operations but only received R63 million from South Africa’s national treasury. Permanent deployment of a vessel to the Mozambique Channel on anti-piracy operations has resulted in heavy wear and tear on the four frigates, while the ageing of the other vessels in the Navy fleet remains a problem.

The SANDF has a number of projects underway for the replacement of existing equipment (such as Biro: offshore and inshore patrol vessels; Saucepan: maritime patrol aircraft; Hoefyster: Badger infantry combat vehicles; Sepula: armoured vehicles and Vistula: trucks). However, funding is hampering the acquisition process and resulting in large delays.

An important development for the SANDF is the drafting of the 2012/4 Defence Review, which looks at defence spending, threats, procurement, strategy, industry and defence force structure. This far-reaching document is still working its way through Parliament as of late 2014.

4. Country threat report

South Africa is currently facing no external military threats. The biggest security threats relate to internal security with high crime rates threatening foreign investment. Public disorder bought on by poor government service delivery has also become an issue in the last decade.

The country is also suffering from crime ridden national borders. However following a government decision in 2009 the South African military was redeployed back to the country’s borders and has achieved some success in this regard.

Maritime piracy has also become an issue following several pirate attacks in the Mozambique Channel in late 2010. The South African military has since launched Operation Copper within this area, with a ship and aircraft on patrol, to counter the threat and no piracy attacks have been recorded since.

5. External deployments

1 200
Peacekeeping Sudan (Darfur)
Peacekeeping CAR
Stabilization (Anti-Piracy)
1 x Combat vessel + air assets

SANDF Address

Private Bag X161
0001 Pretoria
South AfricaTel: (+27 12) 355 63 21
Fax: (+27 12) 355 63 98
e-mail: [email protected]

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