The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) will this year again be a major component of the Rand Show with displays that could include Gripen and Hawk fighters, weather and availability permitting, in the sky above the Johannesburg Expo Centre.
This year the SANDF displays and static exhibition will showcase the force’s humanitarian role in disaster management and peace support and the arena programme over the Easter weekend will have the Gripen as the main attraction.
In addition to the fast jets, the airborne arm of the SANDF, the SA Air Force (SAAF), will also put its Rooivalk combat support helicopter through its paces, enabling show visitors to see the home-grown rotary-winged aircraft in action.
Other arena attractions include troops fast-roping from an Agusta A109 light utility helicopter and a Ratel 90 firing blanks.
Immediately following the opening ceremony on March 25 will be a 45 minute SANDF demonstration that will include a simulation of drills followed by a simulated ambush during peace support operations; Casspir and Mamba armoured infantry vehicles; a Ratel 90 infantry fighting vehicle firing blanks; air strikes by Rooivalk and either Gripen or Hawk; fast-roping of airborne forces from a light utility helicopter; extraction of forces by Oryx helicopters and a battlefield explosion simulation.
SANDF Special Forces have also been earmarked to take part in arena displays on March 25, 26 and 28.
SANDF spokesman Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga stressed the capability and other displays were all subject to change at short notice “due to equipment availability and weather conditions”.
In addition to taking part in arena displays, the SANDF will exhibit an extensive part of its equipment range, used across all four arms of service in and outside Hall 10.
“The participation of the Department of Defence and the SANDF in the Rand Show provides a platform for us to interact directly with the general public and international visitors. We aim to educate the public about the role of the SANDF and create awareness of the capabilities, successes and career opportunities in the South African military,” Mabanga said.
The show opens its gates to the public on March 25 and closes on April 3.
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