The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is taking part in Russia’s annual Army Games, and is scheduled to participate in six competitions.
The games’ organising committee recently said that South Africa will be one of the 32 countries to participate in the games and these include the new entrants of Israel, Fiji, Uzbekistan, Uganda, Laos and Syria.
Russia’s Sputnik news agency quoted South Africa’s military attache in Russia George Sibanyoni as saying South Africa’s troops will participate in more than six competitions. He added that South Africa aims to further bolster more than 25 years of diplomatic relations with Russia.
South Africa sent observers to the Army Games competitions in 2016, which also saw several African countries participate: Angola, Egypt, Zimbabwe and Morocco took part. In 2015 South African Air Force Chief Lieutenant General Fabian Zakes Msimang attended the event.
The first edition of the games in 2015 was held in Russia, while Kazakhstan was a joint host for the 2016 edition. This year the games will be held in Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and China, and will see five new competitions along with 28 existing events. This will include the participation of unmanned aerial vehicles, off-road vehicles, military and traffic police.
The games are scheduled to run between 29 July and 12 August. Competitions will involve tanks, artillery, air crews, paratroopers, warships, snipers, engineering corps, mountain units and medics, amongst others. Only Russia and China will take part in this year’s Aviadarts aviation competition, which will be held in China. The Sea Cup tournament will take place on the Caspian Sea with participation from Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Iran.
Russia invited 73 countries to participate in this year’s games, with 32 confirming attendance and 11 more expressing interest. Over 3 000 personnel from around 20 countries took part in the 2016 games.