The Chief of the South African Army will open the Rand Show on Friday with a spectacular capability demonstration involving jets, helicopters and explosions.
The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is one of the key partners of the Rand Show, and has committed to supporting the event for the next three years.
This sees all four arms of the SANDF taking over 12 000 square metres of space at this year’s show, exhibiting much of the equipment in service, including the Rooivalk attack helicopter, 155 mm cannons, Olifant main battle tanks and multiple rocket launchers.
The most exciting contribution will arguably be the capability demonstrations on the opening weekend. The lineup includes simulated battles followed by a simulated bridge laying, gun run, precision drills, Military Police demo, parachutists and an air display involving types like the Gripen fighter jet.
Visitors will be able to undertake the Heroes Quest, which will send them on a hunt to discover more information about the SANDF.
“We view the Rand Show as the perfect platform at which to inform the public of the capabilities of the SANDF and to demonstrate to South Africans that the SANDF does not only engage in combat missions during wartime but plays an important role serving communities during peacetime,” Siphiwe Dlamini, Head of Communications for the Department of Defence said.
Spokesperson for the SANDF Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi said that apart from the capability demonstrations, the military also has a soft side, such as when it assisted with the mortuary strike last year. One of the displays this year will focus on humanitarian assistance after a simulated flood, with the Army laying bridges and showcasing its search and rescue capabilities.
Huge amounts of equipment in service with the SA Army, Air Force, Navy and Military Health Services will be on display, including patrol boats, naval guns, small arms and armoured vehicles.
The Armour Formation will show Casspir, Rooikat, Ratel ZT3, Olifant Mk 2, Tank Transporter and Zebra platforms while the Artillery Formation will have the 127 mm multiple rocket launcher, GV5 155 mm gun, GV5 gun tractor and 155 mm GV6 gun on display. The Air Defence Artillery Formation will have the Thutlwa radar system, 23 mm Bosvark anti-aircraft gun and 35mm MKV gun on
Matters maritime are covered by a hydrography exhibition as well as displays covering mine countermeasures, the Maritime Reaction Squadron, riverine patrol boats, dive tank and diving equipment. Additionally the SA Navy will display some specialist weapons including the 40/60 Bofors gun, Umkhonto missile, three pounder and 12.7 mm double gun.
The SA Military Health Services will have a mobile field hospital on display while the Defence Works Formation will showcase its capabilities. Mgobozi said it is well known that the SANDF’s buildings are deteriorating and that the Works Formation will show that the SANDF has the capabilities to repair its buildings.
For this interested in joining the SANDF, there were will career exhibitions with information on how to sign up to the military and the basic requirements.
The Rand Show is 124 years old this year and has introduced a few new displays to stay fresh and current, such as a flower and garden show, beach tennis, night market, Experience India feature and ability to get a smart ID card from Home Affairs. One of the most anticipated shows is the House of Horrors, which promises to leave visitors with nightmares. There will also be a midweek fest with sporting and other events to keep people entertained.
The Rand Show will also have all the classics that visitors have come to enjoy, such as the drifting track, car displays, animal shows and the Naked Scientist, amongst many others, such as amusement park rides, live music and stunt shows.
Due to visitor demand, the 2018 edition of the Rand Show will be open until 21:00 at night, compared to 19:00 for previous editions.