Ex Ndlovu 2017 fine-tunes border protection
Exercise Ndlovu, the SA National Defence Force’s (SANDF) annual force preparation exercise which finishes today (Friday) this year concentrated on border protection. Previous Ndlovus have focussed on conventional warfare, peacekeeping and peace support operations. With Exercise Shared Accord, concentrating on the various aspects of peacekeeping including civil/military co-operation, recently finished at the SA Army Combat Training Centre (CTC) in Northern Cape, it appears the senior command of the country’s military saw it fit to make this year’s Exercise Ndlovu a purely border protection one. Border protection and peace support operations have been and look set to continue as the major functions of the SANDF. This year’s Ex Ndlovu was staged in KwaZulu-Natal, centred on the Richards Bay/Manguzi axis, and saw all four service arms take part under the overall command and control of 46 SA Brigade. Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi, director: corporate communication, confirmed Ex Ndlovu 2017 was the first full SANDF border safeguarding exercise. It was commanded from both national and provincial level supported by a joint task force headquarters stationed at Naval Base Durban. Evaluation of the exercise was performed by Exercise Control, based at The Bluff, also in the east coast province’s major harbour city.
A total of 1 400 personnel from the SA Air Force (SAAF) , SA Army, SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) and SA Navy (SAN) took part in the 14 day exercise. Feet on the ground came from the 21 SA Infantry Battalion with support from tactical intelligence and signals elements as well as 101 Workshop. Airborne assets deployed for Ndlovu, under the SAAF operation Exercise Winter Solstice, included 2 Squadron Gripens for intercept missions, Oryx helicopters for transport, A109 light utility helicopters for command and control, C-47TP and C-130 for airlift and cargo movement as well as a PC12 for VIP transport. Valour Class frigate, SAS Spioenkop, and the offshore patrol vessel, SAS Galeshewe, were at sea for the duration of the exercise. Taskings included interdiction, board and search missions as well as providing support to airborne and land-based assets. SAHMS deployed a staffed level 1 hospital as well as a sickbay supported by pharmacists and operational emergency care practitioners who attended all evolutions in the various deployment areas.