The extension of basic military training (BMT) in the SA Army from the current 14 weeks to 22 will delay the landward arm’s annual force preparation exercises by several months.
Chief of Army Force Preparation, Maj Gen Vuzi Masondo says the Army light forces exercise Young Eagle, up to now held in November, will now take place in February, starting in 2010.
The Army conventional forces exercise Seboka that takes place in September and October will be similarly delayed.
Masondo says BMT has been extended to endure soldiers have mastered the basic skills required of them.
“We have some challenges with BMT and a decision was taken that this be extended to 22 weeks to ensure they are competent enough to be able to carry out their tasks as required. This also translates into a delay of the integration exercises such as Young Eagle.”
The SA Army`s Master Paratrooper, Brig Gen McGill Alexander, adds that February also offers better weather for daytime parachute jumps as there is “less chance of wind and more of a successful demonstration from a spectator point of view.”
He adds that operational jumps normally take place at night or before dawn.