Ex Young Eagle bush phase currently underway
The bush phase of Exercise Young Eagle, the land-based component of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) force preparation exercise, is currently underway at the Combat Training Centre (CTC) in the Northern Cape. The force-wide exercise is being conducted under the Exercise Ndlovu name with the SA Army contribution called Young Eagle, the SA Air Force’s part is Winter Solstice and the SA Navy is running Exercise Red Lion in and around its Simon’s Town fleet headquarters. In common with the other two exercises, Young Eagle has been split into mobilisation, bush (active) and demobilisation phases with 43 SA Brigade taking the headquarters position. Other units from the landward force currently at Lohathla are 9 SA Infantry Battalion and a Parachute Battalion supported by SAAF elements. Ahead of Ndlovu Lieutenant Colonel Piet Paxton, Staff Officer, Operational Communications at Joint Operations Division HQ, said “around 2 500 SANDF members will take part in Exercise Ndlovu 2016 which is in line with milestone one of the Defence Review to prevent further decline in the SANDF’s capability”. A report from Petty Officer Sthembiso Makuleni indicated the bush phase was seeing forces tasked to respond to fictitious scenarios. Exercises will cover the full range of military operations from combat to humanitarian relief and from stabilisation to post conflict reconstruction. This will prepare soldiers for deployments in Africa to face conflict situations as well as the post conflict situations they might encounter. At the same time the maritime arm of the SANDF is continuing with Exercise Red Lion which has seen a live firing phase at sea, sinking a derelict fishing vessel, any number of evolutions aimed at improving the operational efficiency of watch and warfare officers as well as a disaster and humanitarian exercise conducted in the Simon’s Town military area. All three components of Exercise Ndlovu are set to end with their respective demobilisation and debrief phases on July 29.