SANDF gearing up for five exercises


The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is gearing up for the Atlasur XI naval exercise in August/September, but there are four other exercises the military will be taking part in over the rest of the year.

The next exercise is scheduled to be Exercise Utilivu IV, a command post exercise for the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC) force, which will be held in Uganda between 23 August and 11 September and involve ACIRC volunteering nations, including South Africa.

One of the biggest exercises South Africa will take part in this year is Atlasur XI, between Brazil, Uruguay and South Africa. It will take place in Simon’s Town from 31 August to 21 September and hosted by South Africa. The sea phase will run from 6-9 September in the False Bay Area and until 14 September move to the west coast area before returning to Simon’s Town. The theme is “Combined we are combating illegal trade (human, drug and arms).” Argentina usually takes part but will not participate in this year’s exercise.

For Atlasur, South Africa will be contributing the frigate SAS Amatola, hydrographic vessel SAS Protea, and submarine SAS Manthatisi as well as a maritime surveillance aircraft, Lynx helicopter, Oryx transport helicopter and two fighters. Brazil will contribute the frigate BNS Borosso, and a Super Lynx while Uruguay will contribute the replenishment vessel ROU General Artigas.

After Atlasur, South Africa will host Exercise Ibsamar, a multinational joint naval exercise between Brazil, India and South Africa. This will be hosted by South Africa and take place between 1 and 14 October. The previous edition of Ibsamar took place in India in 2016 and involved ships, aircraft and special forces from all three participating countries, with South Africa sending the SAS Spioenkop. Ibsamar is held every two years.

Also starting in October will be Exercise Ndlovu 2018, a joint interdepartmental force preparation exercise focussing on the 2019 national elections. This is due to begin on 29 October and conclude on 9 November. Last year’s edition of Ndlovu was held in KwaZulu-Natal and focussed on border protection, with 1 400 personnel, ships and aircraft taking part. Other iterations have covered conventional warfare, peacekeeping and peace support operations.

The other exercise that South Africa is expected to take part in during 2018 is Exercise Umodzi, a Southern African Development Community (SADC) Standby Force command post exercise, which will be hosted by Malawi, at the Malawi Armed Forces College in Selima, from 1-18 October. The SADC goes on standby on 1 January 2019 for six months and Umodzi is preparation for that. It will test the capability of the Standby Force to plan and deploy a tactical headquarters.