Next month will see all three fighting arms of service of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) involved in exercises designed to test doctrine and readiness as well as overall command and control (C2).
Exercise Ndlovu will run from early July to the final demobilisation date of July 29 with individual arms of service exercises taking place at the SA Army Combat Training Centre (CTC) for the landward forces under the banner of Exercise Young Eagle, the Kimberley area for the SA Air Force’s Exercise Winter Solstice and the Cape west coast for the SA Navy’s Exercise Red Lion. Elements of the SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) will be attached to the three combat arms of service for the exercise.
Lieutenant Colonel Piet Paxton, Staff Officer, Operational Communications at Joint Operations Division HQ, said “around 2 500 SANDF members will take part in Exercise Ndlovu 2016 which is in line with milestone one of the Defence Review to prevent further decline in the SANDF’s capability”.
On the landward side, 43 SA Brigade is the lead with 9 SA Infantry Battalion and 1 Parachute Battalion the major support. The SA Army’s Air Defence Artillery Formation will be based at Vastrap outside Upington for the duration of the exercise while the remainder of the land forces will utilise the CTC.
“Last year the SANDF successfully exercised ACIRC (African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises) and this year Ndlovu is planned as an over-arching command and control exercise,” Paxton said, adding it had been mandated by SANDF Chief, General Solly Shoke, as an exercise not to be conducted in silos.
“It will work on a joint force concept with joint doctrine at its core,” Paxton said.
The last Exercise Ndlovu was staged in November 2011 with Potchefstroom, Kimberley, Lohathla and the seas off the west coast seeing 4 000 airmen, medics, sailors and soldiers from 36 different units participating.