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Africa - Other | Issues - International | Logistics | Other Corporation | Power Projection | Rumours | Surface Ships - Combat

LHDs for South Africa?

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FNS Tonnerre(click to view full) South of the Sahara desert, there are few successful states in Africa – and even fewer with anything resembling a modern military. Even so, the African Union wants 5 regional rapid deployment forces ready for use in 2010. Whether this can be achieved is questionable; Africa is legendary for its difficulties and fragmentation, and NATO’s recent decision to scale back its own Rapid Reaction Force promises graphically illustrates the need to back up words with budgets, action, and political cohesion. If any success is possible in southern Africa, however, it’s likely that South Africa will be the 6,000-10,000 man force’s anchor state. Whether responding to wars, or to disaster relief scenarios like Mozambique’s floods in 2000, these forces would face two critical challenges. One is interoperable communications. The other is logistics. Given Africa’s poor infrastructure, seabasing options begin to look very attractive. Which may help to explain the FNS Tonnerre’s recent visit to South Africa – and the South African military’s interest in a “strategic support ship” that can land vehicles and support them with helicopters. In other words, an LHD, with a large helicopter deck, roll-off vehicle decks, accommodations for troops, fresh water production, […]

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