Twenty year-long project ends with new earthmoving equipment for Sappers


The Engineer Formation of the SA Army has taken new earthmoving and civil construction equipment into service along with tractor-trailers to transport it as well as simulators for training to ensure best possible utilisation.

The 3 November handover ends an acquisition process started 20 years ago as Project Pantile. It would on completion, according to a SA National Defence Force (SANDF) report by Lieutenant Henry Steenkamp, see replacement of the “earthmoving capability (of the Engineer Formation) to ensure effective execution of operational construction missions”.

A critical component of Pantile, the SANDF report has it, is delivery of “a holistic system”. This will see the Sappers receive “product manuals in the military standard” and spares for in-house maintenance.

Pantile also called for the supply of simulators supported by full training packages. These will initially be put into service training Sapper instructors who will then transfer skills to machine operators.

“The project is divided into seven categories according to machine type and aims to equip the Engineer Corps of the SANDF with new generation militarised earthmoving equipment for operational earthmoving and construction tasks in South Africa and across the African continent. Categories 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 were delivered to 35 Engineer Support Regiment over the period November 2015 to January 2017.”

Ahead of the final handover, operational test and evaluation was conducted en route to the SA Army Combat Training Centre (CTC) at Lohathla for Iveco 6×6 truck tractors and Martin lowbed semi-trailers.

The allocation of equipment and product types see Barloworld supply tractor loader backhoes (TLBs), skid-steer excavators, tracked bulldozers, excavators, graders, trailers, wheeled loaders and bulldozer simulators.

Empangeni-based Bell Equipment will see its articulated dump trucks, articulated water and diesel tankers as well as articulated industrial tractors, vibrator, self-propelled, seep foot, towed grid and impact rollers turned out in military colours rather than the normal civil engineering yellow. A Bell simulator for its articulated dump truck is part of the deal.

Telescopic handlers from Dezzo Equipment, Liebherr cranes and Iveco truck tractors and simulators – all three types with simulators – make up the balance of the Sappers’ new equipment which appears to resort in the inventory of 35 Engineer Support Regiment at Dunnottar on the Gauteng East Rand.