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SA Army Shows its Might while Forging New Ties at Africa Aerospace and Defence 2016, Air Force Base Waterkloof, 14 to 18 September 2016

 
Article by Lieutenant Marumo Machete, SA Army Corporate Communication
 
The Chief of the SA Army, Lieutenant General Lindile Yam embraced the opportunity presented by the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) Airshow and Exhibition 2016 to share ideas on modern military hardware and harness army-to-army relations with his counterparts across Africa and other parts of the world.
 
Lieutenant General Yam interacted with a number of his contemporaries from other armies across the world during this year’s AAD that took place from 14 to 18 September and highlighted the need for like-minded militaries to share best practices on the ideal equipment that the modern landward battlespace demands.
 
As testament to the SA Army’s friendly relations with other armies from across the world, Lieutenant General Yam who received a courtesy visit from representatives of his counterparts from Angola and Pakistan at the SANDF chalet in Waterkloof, reciprocated by inviting them to the SA Army’s AAD evening farewell function at the SA Army College, two days before the culmination of the exhibition.
 
Earlier during the week, Lieutenant General Jorge Goncalves, representing the Chief of the Angolan Army and Lieutenant General Omar Mahmood Hayat, representing the Commander of the Pakistan Land Forces, had paid a courtesy call to Lieutenant General Yam at his SA National Defence Force chalet office at Waterkloof to discuss issues of mutual interest and opportunities that Africa’s premier Defence and Aerospace exhibition presents.
 
The two General Officers accepted Lieutenant General  Yam’s invitation to be guests at the SA Army’s AAD farewell function hosted in Thaba-Tshwane.
 
Speaking at the function, Lieutenant General Yam highlighted his appreciation of the fact that a number of African countries also showcased their capabilities and hardware at this year’s AAD, an occurrence that augurs well for the continent’s push towards the design, manufacture and acquisition of state-of-the-art defence and aerospace technology.
 
“This year’s AAD pools together state-of-the-art technologies from across the globe and it was reassuring to see a number of African states exhibiting their impressive catalogues on defence and aerospace equipment that are designed to mitigate the battle space challenges that our militaries face,” the Chief of the SA Army stated.
 
He thanked his two guests for gracing the SA Army with their presence and indicated that it was a noted gesture of friendship which he does not take for granted.
 
Lieutenant General  Yam said: “I am delighted that amidst the hustle and bustle at the show in Waterkloof, we managed to steal a few quiet moments to plot the way forward as armies and see how best to leverage the showcased technological capabilities towards the fulfillment of the mandates our principals expect from us.”
 
The Chief of the SA Army was upbeat about the wide array of possibilities that Africa’s premier defence and aerospace exhibition presents and said: “As we mingle and converse during AAD, I am filled with a sense of pride and hope for a better world where we create opportunities to trade in military hardware and equipment that are conceptualized, designed and put together specifically for real-time challenges in our operational theatres. “
 
He added that there was a need to “tap into the existing pool of knowledge that abounds on aerospace and defence matters and try to expand further and invent user-friendly hardware that adds value to humanity.”
 
Lt Gen Yam took the time to remind everyone at the farewell function that AAD was “a marketplace of world-class Aerospace and Defence turnkey solutions under one roof” that the African continent should take advantage of.
 
And back at the airshow and exhibition still with two more days before it reaches closure, the highly trained men and women in uniform from the SA Army impressed the thousands of military enthusiasts at Air Force Base Waterkloof with their fieldcraft, tactical maneuvres, paratroopers’ aerobatic acumen and superior weaponry for the duration of the show.
 
SA Army paratroopers descending from SA Air Force platforms from the beautiful African skies were the feature and attraction of the exhibition and their coordinated skill and precision was a marvel to watch for both uniformed participants and visitors.
 
Adding to the impressive paratroopers’ mass jump from the C 130 was the battle prowess of the SA Army Armour assets that included the Olifant Tank and Rooikat at the Mobility Track as well as other elements of the country’s landward forces who executed a mini war to the delight of enthusiasts. The SA Army Artillery, Intelligence and Training Formations also added their capabilities to the static displays at the expansive AFB Waterkloof.
 
This year’s AAD also saw the inaugural African Union Pavilion being a feature which is believed to form part of the exhibition going into the future. Military chiefs, attachés, company executives, members of the diplomatic corps and defence industry experts rubbed shoulders at the event.
 
AAD is a biennial defence industry event that showcases diverse capabilities in military hardware and aerospace technology hosted by South Africa and billed as Africa’s premier aerospace and defence exhibition. It has left a lasting impression on the international defence community regarding the capability of Africans to contribute their expertise in the design, manufacture and upgrade of state- of-the-art military hardware widely used in the defence and security fraternity across the world.
 
The Armaments Corporation of South Africa was the lead partner for this year’s event, supported by the SA Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industries Association (AMD) and the Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa (CAASA), with the Department of Defence and Military Veterans as the lead state department.

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