Next Wednesday sees the official roll-out of specially modified 4X4 vehicles for border protection at the Louisvale military base outside Upington in the Northern Cape.
This brings to five the number of roll-outs of the mobility packages as the Toyota Landcruisers have been renamed since the first vehicles were taken into service at Pongola in northern KwaZulu-Natal in November last year.
Since then Operation Corona deployed units in Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Eastern Cape and North West have been allocated mobility packages. The majority of vehicles delivered are in the troop pack configuration with three each in ambulance and command and control configuration.
Speaking from Northern Cape provincial Joint Operations tactical headquarters in Kimberley, Lieutenant Colonel Tania Burger confirmed delivery and taking into service of 21 troop transport units along with three ambulance units.
“We are still waiting for the command and control units,” she said. A defence source said the units were still being fitted with the necessary radio and other communications equipment and would be delivered in the “not too distant future”.
The mobility packages are used for patrol work on the border with Namibia and also do duty as mobile observation posts.
“They have impacted positively on the work rate of the Regiment Botha company currently at Louisvale,” Burger said.
The first mobility packages to be deployed were to a base in the Pongola area. All told there are currently around 130 of the vehicles in use. The first ones were taken into service by 1 SA Tank Regiment, at that time contributing a company to Operation Corona.
The 4X4 vehicles are modified to Joint Operations Division specifications by TFM and Angelo Kater in association with manufacturer Toyota.
The troop pack variant carries a five-man stick with an extra seat for either a ranger or police officer for multi-agency operations, such as counter-poaching or illegal immigration. The logistics unit is fitted to carry water (120 litres) and diesel (180 litres) as well as other necessary items to resupply soldiers on patrol and in forward positions. Additional communication equipment and power sources are part and parcel of the command and control variant with the ambulance variant fitted to carry one horizontal and two seated patients. It is equipped with all necessary basic medical equipment.