The national defence force is signed on again as a presenting partner for this year’s Rand Show at the Johannesburg Expo Centre and will, according to the organisers, present “Africa’s best live military display”.
The line-up includes “supersonic jets and attack helicopters” which are expected to do a number of flypasts over the main arena where the military display will unfold. Rand Show organisers are expecting “synchronised formation aerial displays” which will in all likelihood see the AFB Langebaanweg-based Silver Falcons in action in Pilatus PC-7 Mk II aircraft.
On the ground soldiers from the Infantry Formation will demonstrate the skills needed to overcome terrorist attacks. Soldiers will work in tandem with trained medics and helicopter casualty evacuation teams showing just how quickly and efficiently wounded soldiers are moved to the safety of field hospitals in simulated rescue missions.
Static displays will feature Olifant main battle tanks, Ratel and Rooikat armoured vehicles with knowledgeable personnel from the Armour Formation on hand to answer questions.
Similarly weapons in use by the national defence force from the R4/R5 through to the G6 self-propelled gun are expected to form an integral part of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) exhibition.
This year’s Rand Show opens to the public on Good Friday (19 April) with Sunday 28 April the last day of the event which this year marks its 125th anniversary.
There has, as yet, been no announcement of who will perform the official opening of the Rand Show. It has previously been done by either Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula or Secretary for Defence Dr Sam Gulube.
The South African National Defence Force will perform capability demonstrations on the first four days of the show. This will have the theme of the deployment of reaction forces to support a convoy ambushed during peace support operations in a foreign country.
Its demonstrations in the Nasrec arena between 19 and 22 April run from 11:00 to 13:00 and include parachuting into the arena, precision drills, bridge laying, Land Rover demonstration, sword drill, martial arts, gun run, motorcycle stunts, canine agility demonstration and flypast by the Silver Falcons, among others.
Last year Siphiwe Dlamini, Department of Defence (DoD) head of communication, said the SANDF partnered with the Rand Show and Johannesburg Expo Centre for the next three years. “We view the Rand Show as the perfect platform to inform the public of the capabilities of the SANDF and to demonstrate to South Africans the SANDF does not only engage in combat missions during wartime but plays an important role serving communities during peacetime,” he said.
Apart from showcasing what the SANDF is to visitors, the force will also use the Rand Show to highlight the many and varied careers on offer in South Africa’s military.