Namibian Defence Force Army
Development of Namibia’s army was fastest of the three arms of Service. The first units of the Army were deployed as early as 1990.The Army was formed when two enemies South West African Territorial Force and the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia where inducted after Namibia’s independence into the newly created Namibian Defence Force.
The Ministry of Defence has outlined the Army policy as follows
“The Army’s principal roles will continue to be as already outlined in the defence policy. The Army will strive to maximise its operational effectiveness through the recruitment of the best young men and women who wish to pursue a military career, their effective training and employment. The Army’s equipment priorities are improved troop-lift capacity (road and air); engineer, artillery, anti-tank and air defence and communication systems: the aim being to create a secure, integrated, efficient and cost-effective systems.” “The Army will remain a well-disciplined and accountable, professional (all volunteer) force; it will include development of a Reserve; it will continue to train along the lines of other Commonwealth armies; it will train with other Namibian forces (such as the police) to rehearse plans for aid to the civil authorities, civil ministries and civil community; and it will promote a good public image and contribute to the communities in which it is based.”
The Army is a hierarchical organisation with the Army commander exercising overall command. The Army headquarters are located at Grootfontein military base,a former SADF logistics base. The Army has several thousand members.
The Namibian Army had a convoy service on Namibia’s Trans Caprivi Highway which runs from Otavi, Grootfontein, Rundu, Katima Mulilo until Ngoma border post on the Namibia and Botswana border. The convoy system ran twice daily between Bagani and Kongola in the then Caprivi region. The convoy system was run from the year 2000 till 2002
The Namibian Army also deployed troops to help fight UNITA insurgents active in and around the Kavango region. The operation codenamed Mandume ya Ndemufayo was a response to UNITA attacks on Namibian citizens. The Namibian cross border pursuit operations were carried out with consent of the Angolan government. Alteast two soldiers were killed in operation Mandume ya Ndemufayo. In an operation between 30 January 2001 to 14 February 2001 an estimated 19 UNITA rebels were killed while various weaponry such as Anti Tank and Anti personnel landmines assault rifle ranging from AK47 and R-1 rifles were recovered. In a joint operation with the Angolan Armed Forces, the Namibian Defence Force in May 2001 helped dislodge UNITA from Mavinga in May 2001.
The Namibian Army deployed a reinforced battalion during the Second Congo War that numbered about 2000 troops and support personnel, about 30 Namibian Serviceman died in the DRC operations. The SADC coalition force commander was always a Zimbabwean and deputy force commander a Namibian while the Chief of Staff was an Angolan. 11 Namibian soldiers were held as prisoners of war in Rwanda, they were released in June 2000. The soldiers were captured in April 1999 in the Lusambo area which is about 120 kilometers east of Mbuji-Mayi. In January 2001 after Laurent-Désiré Kabila’s death the Namibian army contingent was reinforced to not only provide security to Heads of States at the funeral but also to reinforce the SADC contingents in Kinshasa and Lubumbashi. Namibia was also the first foreign country to withdraw its troops and by September 2001 all Namibian soldiers had been withdrawn. Seven Soldiers who have been missing in action have since been declared dead. The seven have gone missing around the Deya River close to Kabalo, Deya-Katutu and Lusambo areas.
The army deployed a Battalion sized unit to UNAMIC.
For the peacekeeping operation in Liberia the Namibian Army contribution was known as Namibian Battalion (NAMBATT) and about 800 infantry troops per NAMBATT contingent were mustered to form a battalion for this operation. Troops were rotated and rotations numbered up to NAMBATT V. A NAMBATT contingent Commanding Officer stated his Unit to comprise “two Mot Inf Coys, two rifle companies, headquarters company and fire support company while the battalion is equipped with 10 Wolf APC’s, 12 Casspir APC’s and 11 WER Wolf APC’s”
The standard operational units are structured according to the British commonwealth system:
|Type of Unit||Division||Brigade||Battalion / Regiment||Company / Squadron||Platoon / Troop||Section||Fire Team|
|Contains||2–3 Brigades||3–5 Battalions||5–7 Companies||3 Platoons||3 Sections||2 Fire Teams||4 Individuals|
|Commanded by||Maj-Gen||Brig-Gen||Lt Col||Maj||Capt, Lt or 2nd Lt||Cpl||LCpl|
Air Defence Units
- Air Defence Brigade
- 4 Artillery Brigade
Based in Otjiwarongo
- 12 Artillery Regiment
- 44 Artillery Regiment
- 46 Artillery Regiment
- 21 Artillery Regiment
- 21 Brigade
Based in Windhoek the brigade is responsible for the protection of the Capital City and providing ceremonial duties. It is the brigade to which 211, 212 and 213 Mechanized Infantry Battalions are likely attached to. The Brigade General Officer Commanding is Brig Gen Erastus Nomongula Kashopola. He succeeded Brig Gen Philipus Shikuma Kamati.
- 21st Guard Battalion
- 211 Battalion
- 212 Battalion
- 213 Mechanized Infantry Battalion
Based in Windhoek
- 12 Motorized Infantry Brigade
Based in Keetmanshoop and it is likely the Brigade to which 124, 125 & 126 Motorized Infantry battalions are attached to,The Brigade General Officer Commanding is Brig Gen Peter Nghipunyati Nghilukilwa. He succeeded Brig Gen Bernard Kawa who was posted as Defence Attache to the DRC. The Brigade was formed in 1999.
- 124 Battalion
- 125 Battalion
Based at Walvis Bay
- 126 Battalion
Based in Gobabis.
- 26 Motorized Infantry Brigade.
It is likely the Brigade to which 261, 262 & 263 Motorized Infantry Battalions are likely attached to. The Brigade General Officer Commanding is Brig Gen Ernos Lasarus Kahuna who took over from Brig Gen Peter Shikolalye Brig Gen Peter Shikolalye predecessor is Brig Gen Holden Uulenga.
- 261 Motorized Infantry Battalion
Based in Rundu.The Commanding Officer is Lt Col Liyali Given Numwa who succeeded Lt Col David Diyeve.
- 262 Motorized Infantry Battalion
Based in Katima Mulilo
- 263 Motorized Infantry Battalion
Based at Oshakati
- Engineering Regiment
Based in Otavi
- Logistics Support Battalion
- Military Police Battalion
- Signal Regiment
- Army Battle School (ABS)
Based at the former Oshivelo SADF training base has been transformed into an army battle school. The commandant of the battle school is Colonel Joel Kapala as-off 6 January 2015,Colonel Kapala succeed Colonel Kashindi Eusebi Kashindi.
- Technical Training Centre (TTC)
The Army TTC offers training to army soldiers covering mechanics and electrical configurations of armaments,military weapons and equipment
- School of Artillery
Based at the Oluno Military Base the school is responsible for the training requirement of all soldiers specializing to become Artillery gunner’s. Lt Col Ambrosius Kwedhi is the Commandant of the School.
The position of Army commander is held by a commissioned officer with the rank of Major General. The Army Commander exercises the overall command of the Army. The current Army commander is Major General Tomas Nopoudyuu Hamunyela.
- 1990-2000 Maj-Gen Solomon Huwala
- 2000-2005 Maj-Gen Martin Shalli
- 2005-2011 Maj-Gen Peter Nambundunga
- 2011-2013 Maj-Gen John Mutwa
- 2013-Current Maj-Gen Tomas Hamunyela
As of April 2014 the Deputy Army Commander is Brigadier-General Frederick Siluzungila. Brigadier General Siluzungila succeeded Brigadier General B Shomeya.
- Type 56
- M2 Browning
- Ruger P series
- CZ 75
- 9M133 Kornet
Vehicles of the Namibian Army are made up of a variety of suppliers including from Soviet Union, Russia&South Africa. Some vehicles were donated by SWAPO formerly a liberation movement which later became the ruling party of the country at Independence and SWATF the security of the then South West Africa administration. The army has received WZ523 Infantry Fighting Vehicles from China which serve with mechanized infantry units. These vehicle are supplemented by the Namibian made Wolf series of MRAP’s. South African made Casspir’s are also in service which were inherited from the South-West Africa Territorial Force. To enhance mobility it was announced that the Army will receive the Agrale Marruá which appeared at the 25th Independence celebration parade in 2015 and are primarily used by the Namibian Special Forces