SANDF shows its mettle at the Rand Show


The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) clearly demonstrated its position as one of the lead exhibitors at the 2016 Rand Show with an explosive opening ceremony on Friday featuring jets, helicopters and armoured vehicles.

Secretary for Defence, Dr Sam Gulube, officially declared the Rand Show open on Friday morning, saying that in light of the tough economic challenges the country is facing, along with high unemployment, the SANDF is proud to participate in the Rand Show in order to make the public aware of job opportunities within the South African military, such as pilots, doctors and engineers. He added that the show allows the SANDF to raise awareness regarding what it does.
“Through the Rand Show we as the SANDF are able to educate and raise public awareness about our activities in the area of defence. This includes informing the public about careers in the SANDF and showcasing the capabilities of the national defence force,” he said.

Gulube emphasised that the SANDF is not just about war and defending South Africa, but that it also plays an important role in contributing to economic development, assists rural communities through activities such as bridge building and provides search and rescue and humanitarian relief services.

The opening ceremony on 25 March began with a flypast by two AgustaWestland A109 helicopters carrying South African flags. Once the show was officially opened, the SANDF demonstrated how it dealt with an ambush situation on a peace support operation, with a mock firefight being carried out. This included two Ratels firing blanks from their 90 mm guns, a new addition to the show.

The impressive capability demonstration involved elements from the South African Army and Air Force, with Gecko vehicles, mortars and troops being airlifted into the arena while a Rooivalk attack helicopter and a couple of Hawks, supported by an A109 Light Utility Helicopter, provided aerial support. An Oryx helicopter simulated evacuating a wound soldier via winch, while an A109 performed a similar extraction. Vehicles and troops were then airlifted out of the arena once the demonstration had concluded.

Following the capability demonstration, the Artillery Formation fired a round from its G1 gun. This was followed by members of 44 Parachute Regiment parachuting into the gusty arena. The crowd was then entertained by the SA Army’s Kroonstad band, a precision drill by the SA Navy, a special infantry motorcycle display, the SA Military Health Services band, a sword drill by the Navy, a dog capability demonstration, SA Navy band performance, Army Infantry school precision drill, military police anti-hijack demonstration and massed bands formation.

The Silver Falcons aerobatic display team also performed for crowds at the Rand Show grounds at Nasrec over the weekend. The Flying Lions aerobatic team are scheduled to perform on the closing weekend of the show (2 and 3 April).

Apart from its capability demonstrations, the SANDF has prominent static displays and a career expo, with all four arms of service exhibiting a wide variety of equipment. This includes a Ratel ZT3, Gecko rapid deployment vehicle, Badger infantry combat vehicle, radar systems, deployable bridge, Rooivalk combat support helicopter, Hornet special forces vehicle, boats, Olifant main battle tank, Rooikat armoured vehicle, G5 and G6 artillery, missiles, torpedoes, small arms, elements of a field hospital and emergency medical, disaster and search and rescue equipment.

This massive exhibition area takes up 10 000 square metres of space. “The SANDF used 10 hectares of space at the Johannesburg Expo Centre efficiently with edutainment exhibition stalls and capability demonstrations by all four arms of service,” according to Rendani Khashane of the Defence Reserves Division.

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