SANDF bringing out the big guns for the Rand Show


All four arms of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will be out in force at the Rand Show next week.

For four days of the ten day show, from April 18 to April 21, the South African Army, South African Air Force, South African Navy and South African Military Health Service will demonstrate what they do, with capability demonstrations that simulate the manoeuvres used in real battle situations, precision marching drills, and action-filled scenario demonstrations, according to the Show’s organisers.

The SANDF will officially open the Rand Show (April 18-28) next Friday at 11:00 with an opening ceremony, parade and flypast. This will be followed by an air display, infantry capability display, Army precision drill and at 3:00 an SA Navy precision drill. A similar programme will be followed on Saturday the 19th.

The SA Army is bringing a fleet of military vehicles to the Rand Show’s Terrace 1, including a Ratel ZT3 anti-tank variant, a MAN tank transporter with Olifant Mk 2 tank, a Gecko 6×6 vehicle, a Badger infantry combat vehicle, and a Rooikat MK ID armoured car. There will also be a bridge-laying vehicle and mine-detection systems, including the Husky and Meerkat.

Visitors will be able to test their air defence skills with a Starstreak surface-to-air missile simulator, try shooting with one of four Elac simulators, or have a go in a driving simulator.

In the SA Air Force zone, there will be a Buffalo fire truck on display, as well as two Umlindi radars, tech and ops cabins, and a mobile air traffic control (ATC) control tower. There will be various displays of survival kit and armour, and a number of exhibits on aircraft mechanics, including the machine shop and the aircraft structure, welding, plating and painting sections.

The SA Air Force, in addition to an Oryx helicopter used for delivering airborne infantry for the arena display, will put on aerial displays with its Hawk Lead-In Fighter Trainers of 85 Combat Flying School based at AFB Makhado.

The SAAF Museum will put on an exhibit of memorabilia from bygone decades.

In addition to a wide array of equipment and weapons, the SA Army will have a working cooking unit up and running. The 250-man cooking unit will prepare food for public sampling.

The SA Navy is preparing an armament display and a static hydrographic display, and will be bringing a hydrographic survey boat. It will also have a 3 metre diving tank and a two man decompression chamber at the show.

The Military Health Service (SAMHS) will exhibit its emergency medical, disaster, and search-and-rescue equipment, and will have a display of a field hospital and an Mfezi ambulance. The School for Military Health Training will be giving first-aid briefings.

The Department of Defence and the SANDF are organising a number of indoor exhibits across the various capabilities, ranging from an army engineering exhibit to displays on the eye-testing, dental and dietician work done by the SA Military Health Services.

The SA Army Signal exhibition will pit first-generation communication methods like Morse code against the latest signalling equipment.

Visitors can write a goodwill postcard to South African troops participating in peacekeeping operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and other peace-supporting countries, and send it from the Nasrec showgrounds via the 11 Field Postal Unit.

The SA Army Specialised Infantry Capability (SASSIC) is preparing an exhibit on visual tracking and how soldiers can tell from a person’s footprints what they are carrying and if they are trying to throw off trackers by doing things like walking backwards. This capability will also show visitors the survival skills used by members of the armed forces, such as how to accumulate water.

The Rand Show arena will also host precision drill displays by squads from both the Army and Navy and realistic demonstrations of airborne capability and the dogs and motorcycles of the Specialised Infantry Capability will also show their effectiveness in, among others, border protection and control.

Visitors who are interested in seeing what career paths are open for them in the SANDF can chat to representatives at the SA Army, Air Force, Navy and SAMHS recruitment stands. The SA Army’s Young Lions will also be on hand to talk to youth interested in joining the army specifically. The Young Lions are young Joburgers involved in a schools youth programme that aims to prepare them for life after school, cultivating specific qualifications which would serve them in the army.

The Air Force’s young fliers from the Young Falcons youth programme will also be at the Rand Show, to tell visitors more about becoming a pilot, navigator or aircraft engineer.

Finally, there will be a static display celebrating 20 years of freedom.