WATCH: Guns, diesel and dust: SANDF demonstrates its military capability

An Oryx helicopter drops soldiers onto the field during a search and recuse simulation in Bloemfontein on Tuesday. (Alex Mitchley, News24)
An Oryx helicopter drops soldiers onto the field during a search and recuse simulation in Bloemfontein on Tuesday. (Alex Mitchley, News24)
Bloemfontein – The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) trains hard during peacetime so that there will be less blood during wartime.

This is according to SANDF Chief General Solly Shoke, who was speaking during the military's military capability demonstration on Tuesday.

Soldiers manning Olifant Mk1B Battle Tanks and Ratel Infantry Combat Vehicles took to the ground at the De Brug Training Area in Bloemfontein, as Rooivalk attack helicopters and Gripen and Hawk jets took to the sky in a military capability demonstration.

As General Shoke described it, it was bombs, guns, diesel and dust, as the army and the South African Air Force showcased their firepower, which included a mechanised attack with air support.

"We train hard in peacetime so that we can bleed less in [times] of war, and when we train we ensure that we should be ready at all material times, when needed," said General Shoke.

He said that the demonstration was part and parcel of the SANDF's training, but that they had decided to invite members of the public to see the demonstration, as a build-up to Armed Forces Day.

Armed Forces Day is also used to commemorate the sinking of the troopship SS Mendi on February 21, 1917. More than 600 South Africans died.

"We felt that we should also invite the public to see the capabilities that the defence force has and how difficult the training is that they go through to be able to perform exercises of this nature."

He hoped the demonstration would showcase how hard the military worked, and that South Africans could begin to appreciate what their soldiers did.

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