Initial Cycle


->Initial Cycle
Advanced Training
Specialist Skills


You have passed Selection. Now you are thrust into a different chapter with new challenges. The training cycle is designed to produce and select soldiers that are adaptive and ready for rapid deployment in adverse conditions. The training cycle in use today is very similar to the initial training of 40 years ago. It is designed to do as follows:

A. Select people that have the mental toughness to excel in adverse conditions.
B. Equip them with skills that allow them to multi task on an array of needs.
C. Train & Train & Train to be a well prepared fighting unit.

To recap: The process of elimination starts with the Special Forces Potential test, done at predetermined locations. Soldiers that have completed at least one year of MSDS training in the SANDF are eligible to do this test. Successful candidates then follow a six-week pre-screening and preparation phase. Many candidates will fail this phase due to the relentless tests and evaluations. Those who do pass are allowed to do Special Forces Selection. In this phase the vast majority of aspiring operators will fail and less than 10% will be allowed on the Initial Cycle.

Now follows 57 weeks of the Initial Cycle training that includes:

  • Parachute course
  • Demolitions
  • Small Boats
  • Survival
  • Minor tactics Rural
  • Minor Tactics Urban
  • Special Forces Orientation
  • Bush craft & Tracking

This is the most grueling course in the SANDF. Historically less than 6% of recruits that start on selection, successfully reaches the end of the Initial Cycle.



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The Military Skills Development System programme is a 2-year voluntary service system to ultimately enhance the SANDF...