Army of South Africa: composition, weapons. South African National Defense Force

Army of South Africa: composition, weapons. South African National Defense Force
Army of South Africa: composition, weapons. South African National Defense Force

Before the apartheid regime fell, South Africa was, in a sense, "African Europe". This country even had nuclear weapons (probably created with the help of Israel). In general, the military industry was quite developed, and the produced equipment not only covered the needs of the country, but was also exported.

When the black majority came to power, the country declared its renunciation of nuclear weapons. Representatives of the white minority, especially officers and workers of the military-industrial complex, having found no use for their abilities after the regime change, left the country. Part of the weapons and military equipment was hastily sold abroad, sent for storage or disposed of.

The South African army entered the 21st century without combat aircraft, modern tanks and armored vehicles. This was explained not only by the outflow of white officers, but also by the fact that there were no potential opponents in principle, which means that there were no external threats either.

South Africa

If you look at the map, South Africa can be found in the southernmost part of the African continent. The shores of the republic are washed from the west by the Atlanticocean, and from the east - Indian. The area of ​​South Africa is 1,219,912 km². It has land borders with Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Mozambique. Inside the territory of South Africa is the state-enclave of Lesotho, whose territory is about 40 times smaller than the area of ​​South Africa (30,350 km3).


The South African National Defense Force (SDF) was formed in 1994 after the first post-apartheid elections.

South African National Defense Force

There is no conscription in the republic. Units are completed exclusively on a contract basis. The term of service is 2 years, at the request of a soldier, it can be extended. Citizens of both sexes can enter the service, but women are not attracted to participate in armed conflicts. The army is formed by the ground forces, the air and naval forces, and the medical service. It also includes MTR.


The main goal of the South African army is to ensure independence, preserve territorial integrity, protect national interests. According to the law of the republic, military forces can be involved in a number of other tasks:

  • fulfillment of allied obligations;
  • protecting citizens;
  • helping the police to maintain law and order within the country;
  • assistance to government ministries and departments aimed at socio-economic development, improving the welfare of the population;
  • participation in peacekeeping missions as part of the UN contingents, the Union of African countries.
ArmySouth Africa, UN


Supreme Commander of the South African Army - President Jacob Zuma. He exercises leadership of the troops along the administrative line through the Ministry of Defense, as well as the Department of Defense, which is part of it. On the operational line, control is exercised through the command of the national armed forces and the permanent operational headquarters.

The commander of the NSO is General Solly Zacharia Choke. Since 2012, the post of Minister of Defense has been held by a woman - Nosiwive Nolutando Mapi-sa-Nkakula.

South African Ground Forces

The number of ground forces is 30.5 thousand people (of which 5 thousand are civilian personnel).

SV includes 4 types of troops:

  • air defense;
  • infantry;
  • armored forces;
  • artillery.

At present, when a huge part of the equipment according to the documents is "sent for storage", it is difficult to accurately determine the number of combat vehicles in service.

South African National Defense Force

Elephant tanks are the only type of tracked vehicles. They are already obsolete, since they were built in South Africa on the basis of the English "Centurion" model of the 40s of the twentieth century. Currently, 64 units are in service, and about 160 Elephant Mk1A tanks are in storage. There are BRM "Ruikat" (82 pieces, plus about a hundred in storage).

The most numerous class of vehicles is represented by armored vehicles and armored vehicles: "Ratel" (534 in service, 256 in storage), "Mamba" (up to 220 units), "Marauder" (up to 50 units), and also some RG32 machinesNyala and Kasspir.

Artillery of the ground forces of South Africa is represented by 155-mm self-propelled guns G-6, towed guns G-5 (155 mm), mortars. Based on the USSR-made MLRS BM-21 Grad captured in battle, the Valkyrie family of MLRS (caliber - 127 mm) was produced in South Africa.

South African army weapons

The air defense system is armed with self-propelled anti-tank systems ZT-3 based on armored vehicles and man-portable ZT-3 "Ingve" produced in South Africa, as well as French anti-tank systems "Milan". Ground air defense forces use British Starstreak MANPADS, Chinese FN-6 MANPADS and anti-aircraft guns - Zumlak, GDF-002 and 48 GDF-005.

Air Force

The South African Air Force has one reconnaissance, one fighter, 5 helicopter, 4 transport and 4 training squadrons. Swedish fighters of the 4th generation were purchased to replace decommissioned aircraft. There are 26 latest British Hawk Mk-120 aircraft and 12 Ruivok helicopters. The armament also includes patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, transport aircraft, and anti-submarine helicopters.

South African Army, Air Force


If you look at the map of South Africa, you can see that its sea border is longer than its land border. Therefore, the role of the Navy is very large. The naval forces of the Republic of South Africa consist of three flotillas. The main base is located in Simonstad (near Cape Town). Three German-made submarines and four frigates are in service, as well as locally produced boats.

South African Special Forces

Special forcesappeared in the South African army in the 70s of the twentieth century. The experience of SAS was taken as the basis in terms of selection and training.

Currently, only military personnel who already have experience of military service under a contract in other branches of the military can get into service in the SOF troops. The determining factor is not physical form, but a high level of intelligence, flexibility of thinking, non-conflict, the ability to analyze and make decisions. The selection in the structure is harsh. No more than 70% of applicants receive a positive answer.

Army of South Africa, SOF

Military Medical Service

About 7,000 military medics serve in the South African army. This structure, in accordance with the charter, is entrusted with the following tasks:

  • medical support for personnel;
  • maintaining combat readiness of all medical units;
  • performing tasks to deal with the consequences of terrorist attacks, catastrophes, natural disasters;
  • carrying out activities to protect the population from weapons of mass destruction;
  • participation in research activities in the field of military field medicine;
  • South African police medical care (partial).

Participation in military conflicts

The South African National Defense Force, formed in 1994, took part in Operation Boleas in Lesotho. It was they who played a decisive role in suppressing the armed conflict between the authorities and the opposition. Prior to this, the South African army was involved in both world wars, as well as in some local conflicts on the territory of the African continent.

Ohdiscrimination and equality

Today, people with different skin colors serve under contract in the South African army. The command pays attention not only to the psychological and physical training of the fighters, but also to the microclimate in the team. A number of measures are being taken to prevent interracial hostility. Of course, it is too early to declare the complete absence of conflicts between servicemen with different skin colors, but all attacks and quarrels are strictly suppressed. And a person convicted of inciting hatred is at great risk of further military career (for example, the road to the special forces units is closed for aggressors, regardless of race).

Army of South Africa: composition, weapons

The very fact that the Minister of Defense is a woman suggests that gender prejudice is also being fought hard. Significant efforts to prevent discrimination were also made by Nosivive Mapi-sa-Nkakula personally. According to her, in a country that aspires to become a full-fledged player on the world stage, there should be no place for outdated stereotypes. Therefore, female soldiers serve in the South African army along with men.

This or that sexual orientation of a person is not an obstacle to concluding a contract. The only limitation is age. A citizen from 18 to 49 years old, suitable for he alth reasons, can conclude a contract.

The military-political leadership of the country proceeds from the concept of defensive doctrine, which predetermines the absence of any specific enemy and external threats. At present, government fundingmilitary department is limited, but the reorganization of the armed forces will continue.

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