SA Army explores future technology

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The South African Army has held a technology seminar at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria.

The CSIR’s Defence, Peace, Safety and Security (DPSS) unit hosted the conference and an exhibition to the land service to showcase technologies that may be impacting on it in the medium to longer term (five to 20 years).

The two-day event, which ended yesterday, addressed nine key areas: full spectrum protection, firepower and engagement, soldier systems, communications and communications electronics warfare, battle space awareness and sensors, mobility, autonomous and remotely controlled systems, command and control, as well as technologies for force planning and design.

Brigadier General Lawrence Smith, General Officer Commanding 43 South African Brigade, said the conference would prepare the top structure of the SA Army for the future. “It gets them acquainted with the newest developments [in technology worldwide]” and improves their situational awareness in light of the draft consultative Defence Review released last week. “The focus is to provide background to direct short, medium and long-term technology development…”

This document states the “intention of government is to maintain and further develop South Africa’s defence industry as a key national asset, and all national departments will be required to invest in the process and will utilise the industry’s capabilities.”

Elsewhere, it cautions the “rapidly changing strategic environment requires [the military] to constantly adapt to new demands. This requires a balanced military force that can execute its function in pursuit of national security in the most efficient and effective way possible, across the spectrum of the defence mission, strategic tasks and strategic goals. Flexibility thus becomes an imperative.”