As an official media partner, defenceWeb was present at the Land Forces Africa 2013 Conference, outside Pretoria, where it captured the bullets and the buzzwords of the four-day event, which included a live fire demonstration of guns, vehicles and UAVs.
Some 25 serving members of the military, industry players and defence experts and analysts spoke during the conference, held at the CSIR International Convention Centre last week. Following the Military Communications Workshop on 15 July, the conference proper opened the next day, with talks on military funding, capacity building and peacekeeping. Military co-operation, training and procurement were also discussed by members of the armed forces of several countries, including Angola, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia.
The next day’s line-up included speakers from both industry and the armed forces, who gave talks on topics such as the role of working dogs in the military, border safeguarding, the use of special forces, the importance of airlift, private security companies and the future of warfare on the continent.
During these presentations, the speakers outlined the numerous threats facing Africa, such as piracy, insurgency, terrorism, oil theft, cyber crime, border disputes, smuggling, trafficking and poaching. Compounding these matters is the fact that African countries have small budgets for defence and security and disorganised procurement procedures. Many delegates agreed that African countries needed to work together, pool resources, share intelligence and procure equipment together in order to strengthen African peace and security.
In addition to the speakers, Land Forces Africa 2013 featured 70 exhibition stands, as local and international companies exhibited their wares, from small arms and radios to armoured vehicles. Some of the items on display included unmanned aerial vehicles like Denel’s Seeker II, and armoured vehicles, such as DCD’s Husky mine detection vehicle and Mountain Lion armoured personnel carrier. Feedback from most exhibitors was positive, with the general consensus being that there were more people attending than last year.
The final day of Land Forces Africa 2013 was the most exciting, with live fire demonstrations held at the Paardefontein and Murrayhill ranges outside Pretoria. Here, a wide variety of weapons and equipment was shown off to delegates. Denel Mechem showcased how its expertly trained sniffer dogs could detect explosives, drugs and other contraband, before a radar demonstration from Blighter.
Small arms were then fired at targets on the Paardefontein range, with Denel demonstrating its new GMP9 sub-machine gun acquired through an agreement with Swiss company B&T. Denel also fired its SS77 machine gun and Neopup 20mm personal area weapon. Czech firearms manufacturer CZ gave delegates a run-down of its Scorpion 9mm sub-machine gun, before Rippel Effect fired its six-shot 40mm grenade launchers.
Then it was off to Murrayhill where Saab demonstrated its tactical UAVs, Chaka command and control system and DTES soldier training system. The latter involved a mock fire-fight in which SANDF soldiers were hit by an IED and then fought an enemy for the control of a nearby building.
The final item for the day was a vehicle demonstration at Paardefontein by DCD Protected Mobility, which simulated its Husky vehicle detecting mines in the road and marking them for clearance. DCD brought its Springbuck and Mountain Lion armoured vehicles to the party, and after driving them through ditches, bumps and bushes, delegates were given the chance to take a ride in them.
Coverage of Land Forces Africa 2013 can be found on the pages of defenceWeb, while galleries of the show and the demonstrations can be found here:
Land Forces Africa 2013 gallery
Demonstration day gallery