Fact file: Special Forces main equipment


The main weapon of any Special Forces Operator, anywhere, is his mind. His main skills are those of improvisation and teamwork. As a force optimised for long-range covert operations, and as behoves a force of elite light infantry, Operators use that selection of domestic and foreign light arms, uniform and kit most appropriate to their mission.

During Angolan war (1975 to 1989), the average weight carried was between 60 and 80kg. For long-range deployments this could escalate to 100kg. The Special Forces League estimates the heaviest kit carried was 130kg. During that conflict 95% of all Special Forces operations were carried out behind enemy lines – over distances of anything from 10 km to 2000 km.1

For some deployments the Special Forces have used Casspir mine-resistant armoured personnel carriers as well as the “‘Bat’ Rapid Response Vehicle”, a rough-and-ready air-portable 4×4 design manufactured by Denel Mechem to transport a team and its kit. This has now been replaced by the Hornet Rapid Deployment Reconnaissance Vehicles (RDRV). 4 SF Regt also owns a variety of rigid, semi rigid and inflatable boats for waterborne operations.

Known SF armament

The Special Forces displayed an array of weapons and equipment at the Africa Aerospace & Defence show in 2006. Arms on display included the:

  • Accuracy International SK1 sniper rifle
  • Heckler & Koch PSG Sniper Rifle
  • Heckler & Koch G3 battle rifle
  • Heckler & Koch HK33 assault rifle in 5.56mm and 7.62mm calibre.
  • Heckler & Koch MP5 machine pistol (submachine gun)

Other weapons include the:

  • Denel Land Systems NTW-20 anti-materiel rifle

Former Warsaw Pact equipment in use include:

  • RPG-7 (Ruchnoy Protivotankovyy Granatomyot hand-held antitank grenade launcher in Russian, translated as Rocket Propelled Grenade)
  • ZU-23-2 (Zenitnaya Ustanovka 23-2) anti aircraft gun
  • KPV (Krupnokalibernyj Pulemet Vladimirova, Vladimirov large calibre machinegun) 14.5mm heavy machine gun
  • PK and variants (Pulemyot Kalashnikova, Kalashnikov machine gun) 7.62x54R general purpose machine gun.
  • RPD (Ruchnoy Pulemyot Degtyaryova, Degtyaryov light machine gun ) 7.62x39mm light machine gun.
  • AK47 and variants (Avtomat Kalashnikova, Kalashnikov automatic rifle, 1947 model), 7.63x39mm.

Vehicles include:

  • Casspir mine-resistant armoured personnel carriers

Hornet Rapid Deployment Reconnaissance Vehicles (RDRV)

Gecko Rapid Deployment Logistic Vehicles (RDLV)