During the Apartheid era South Africa was subjected to various economic and military sanctions by the international community.
These sanctions were one of the most significant factors that led to the end of Apartheid as the South African economy became unstable and began the slide towards collapse. The threat of this resulted in the De Klerk Government undertaking reforms such as the legalisation of the ANC and release of Nelson Mandela and the ultimate end of Apartheid.

One of the most significant individual sanctions came in 1977 in the form of UNSC Resolution 418 which imposed a compulsory arms embargo against South Africa.

This resolution had a serious impact on the South African Defence Force (SADF) who not only found a number of ships and submarines under construction abroad for the South African Navy being cancelled at the last possible moment but also found themselves locked out of international arms markets and unable to purchase modern equipment from abroad.
In particular as time went on the South African Air Force began to feel the painful effects as it was unable to procure modern fighter aircraft capable of taking on Cuban Mig's over Angola and thus was not able to guarantee air superiority over the battlefield with all its resulting consequences
To counter the effects of this the South Africans resorted to a number of alternatives. The most significant of these was the huge growth of South Africa's domestic arms industry and the development of locally designed and produced hardware such as the Atlas Cheetah fighter aircraft, Denel Rookivalk attack helicopter and a whole host of other domestically developed small arms, vehicles, aircraft, artillery and even a successful nuclear weapons programme.

What if for reasons best known to themselves while still condemning Apartheid and applying economic sanctions the international community never apply UNSC Resolution 418 or any other form of arms embargo?

How would this affect SADF in terms of how it would what equipment it would procure and the forces resulting capabilities?

Would this change SADF's performance in and the outcome of the Border War?

Despite the lack of an embargo which if any nations would actually be willing to sell to Apartheid South Africa?

Without sanctions might South Africa actually be able to achieve a viable delivery method for its nuclear weapons and what would the global effects be of a much more capable South African Nuclear deterrent?
 
I don't know about 1977 , but in late 1964 the incoming British Labour Government blocked the sale of weapons to South Africa, this included a batch of 16 Buccaneers and I believe Bloodhound SAMs. The extra 16 Buccaneers would have been a useful addition to the SAAF strength in the 60s and 70s.
 
Without sanctions might South Africa actually be able to achieve a viable delivery method for its nuclear weapons and what would the global effects be of a much more capable South African Nuclear deterrent?
Not going to comment on the rest, but IOTL South Africa did have a viable delivery method. Gravity bombs slung under Mirage F1s might not be sexy, but they can still kill you as dead as you're going to get. The Buccaneers could probably carry them too. If the South Africans really wanted to nuke Luanda or something, I don't think there was any doubt they could get a strike package through, and their capabilities increased as time went by. By 1989, they had successfully tested an IRBM design (similar to the Israeli Jericho-2).

As for the global effects, that's more difficult to answer. The threats South Africa faced were not of the type which could be deterred (or indeed destroyed) by a nuclear threat, and their foreign policy goals were correctly focused on those threats. I'm not sure the global effects would actually be much different to OTL.
 
If South Africa isn't locked out of the international arms market this probably butterflies away some indigenous development projects such as the Atlas Cheetah.
When the SAAF realises that they need a more capable aircraft to take on the Cuban MIG's what might they decide to procure?

Would the Denel Rooivalk still happen or would the SAAF decide to go with a foreign attack helicopter?

Arguably the service most impacted by sanctions was the South African Navy which was unable to take delivery of a number of large ships and submarines and unable to build them domestically. Without the arms embargo different would the SAN look and would it still be a blue watch fleet?
 
Tactically, the ideal would be F/A-18C Hornets or Block 30 F-16s, which can outmatch Cuban Floggers while also providing ground attack capability. Politically, even without the embargo I have my doubts the South Africans would be able, or even willing, to buy from Uncle Sam and incur the resulting controls.

Which leaves France and Israel, who could offer the Mirage 2000 and Super Phantom, respectively. Both have their pros and cons: the Super Phantoms are cheaper up front, don’t require a separate variant for ground attack, and are arguably more capable, but the Mirages are likely cheaper to operate and being French come with no strings attached, compared to the Israeli planes and their considerable American components.

As far as the navy, acquisitions cancelled were two French corvettes, and a pair of submarines. That doesn’t move the needle overmuch when they already have three frigates and three submarines. The bigger benefit will likely be earlier replacement of those frigates, as it seems they aged out during the 1980s, helped along by a lack of maintenance.
 
As for the global effects, that's more difficult to answer. The threats South Africa faced were not of the type which could be deterred (or indeed destroyed) by a nuclear threat, and their foreign policy goals were correctly focused on those threats. I'm not sure the global effects would actually be much different to OTL.
For that matter, if they weren't already isolated I'm not sure they would have bothered with developing a nuclear deterrent, since as you point out it would have little military value and (in this hypothetical alternate timeline) it could very well weaken their defense capabilities by leading sanctions to be placed on them when they have been avoiding them so far. They may instead focus on developing a "breakout" capability so that they can easily develop nuclear weapons if they want and see a need to do so, but without actually building nuclear weapons.
 
Tactically, the ideal would be F/A-18C Hornets or Block 30 F-16s, which can outmatch Cuban Floggers while also providing ground attack capability. Politically, even without the embargo I have my doubts the South Africans would be able, or even willing, to buy from Uncle Sam and incur the resulting controls.

Which leaves France and Israel, who could offer the Mirage 2000 and Super Phantom, respectively. Both have their pros and cons: the Super Phantoms are cheaper up front, don’t require a separate variant for ground attack, and are arguably more capable, but the Mirages are likely cheaper to operate and being French come with no strings attached, compared to the Israeli planes and their considerable American components.

As far as the navy, acquisitions cancelled were two French corvettes, and a pair of submarines. That doesn’t move the needle overmuch when they already have three frigates and three submarines. The bigger benefit will likely be earlier replacement of those frigates, as it seems they aged out during the 1980s, helped along by a lack of maintenance.
Taiwan could play a large role as well, If Verwoerd has sense, he will undertake Botha style reforms earlier, and grant Asians a stake in the government, of the republic.
 
Taiwan could play a large role as well, If Verwoerd has sense, he will undertake Botha style reforms earlier, and grant Asians a stake in the government, of the republic.
At this point would Taiwan have anything that Pretoria would be interested in?

Also would South Africa have any equipment that could potentially be an export success?
 
Probably even more cooperation with German companies, French Mirage 2000s and Super 530F missiles and more F1 deliveries.
Setting up the post-1975 Centurion force would be much faster since they can now buy tanks with turrets and guns and will have greater access to components from outside. Other than that, similar to OTL.
 
At this point would Taiwan have anything that Pretoria would be interested in?

Also would South Africa have any equipment that could potentially be an export success?
They had a very strong air force, brilliant psych warfare experts, i have written a podcast on, experience in gurrliea warfare, and anti communism by the galleon. There was a partnership IOTL, if the Asians were coopted their could be a US UK style special relationship, between the RSA And ROC.
 
They had a very strong air force, brilliant psych warfare experts, i have written a podcast on, experience in gurrliea warfare, and anti communism by the galleon. There was a partnership IOTL, if the Asians were coopted their could be a US UK style special relationship, between the RSA And ROC.
Can you share a link to the podcast?
 
With the links to the RAF I am surprised the Jaguar was not one of their early purchases however the blocking of the Buccaneer likely blocked it as well. The French would happily sell the Mirage 2000 if able and with no restrictions the Tornado would be a good bet for being purchased especially as a purchase of 24 GR-1 and 24 ADV would give an excellent return for investment and commonality. The other option in the time period has to be as others have said the F/A-18 however it's lacking in range so would have difficulty carrying out all the operations they did.
 
With the links to the RAF I am surprised the Jaguar was not one of their early purchases however the blocking of the Buccaneer likely blocked it as well. The French would happily sell the Mirage 2000 if able and with no restrictions the Tornado would be a good bet for being purchased especially as a purchase of 24 GR-1 and 24 ADV would give an excellent return for investment and commonality. The other option in the time period has to be as others have said the F/A-18 however it's lacking in range so would have difficulty carrying out all the operations they did.
If Britain was willing to sell aircraft to South Africa they probably would express interest in the Jaguar but probably wouldn't go as far as to buy any as they probably wouldn't regard it as being capable enough in the air to air role.
I could very easily see the SAAF attempting to purchase surplus Buccaneers to sustain their own fleet.
They would probably almost certainly purchase Hawk trainer's a few years earlier than OTL.
The Mirage 2000 IMHO would be the most likely candidate as the SAAF already operates the Mirage III and F1 so the relationship and much of the technical knowledge is already there. Plus the French tend to be a bit less concerned about who they sell too.
In terms of meeting their requirements purchasing both versions of the Tornado would be an ideal solution and could potentially be seen as an ultimate replacement for the entire fast jet fleet.
However it isn't a cheap aircraft to purchase or operate and may be beyond South Africa's ability to afford.
Plus being a British, German and Italian aircraft Pretoria may feel that there is too much risk of one of those nations getting cold feet in future and blocking any purchase.

Where things get interesting is in the realm of attack helicopters. Even without an arms embargo the only attack helicopters available at the time would have been the AH-1 Super Cobra and AH-64 Apache. Both are American designs and even if Washington was willing to sell to South Africa the aircraft would come with plenty of strings attached. Its possible that the Denel Rooivalk may still happen in some form.
 
I don't know about 1977 , but in late 1964 the incoming British Labour Government blocked the sale of weapons to South Africa, this included a batch of 16 Buccaneers and I believe Bloodhound SAMs. The extra 16 Buccaneers would have been a useful addition to the SAAF strength in the 60s and 70s.
FWIW the First Wilson Government wouldn't even allow Hakwer Siddeley to replace the Buccaneer that crashed on its delivery flight.

Somewhere I have notes I made from the Military Affairs section of a 1970s edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica Book of the Year saying that HMG turned down an offer from the South African Government to buy more Buccaneers plus some Nimrods and if memory serves me correctly (in this case I'm not sure that it does) some frigates. For some reason I think it was 10 Buccaneers and 20 Nimrods, but 20 Buccaneers and 10 Nimrods would be more logical.

I can easily see the SAN buying British Oberon class submarines instead of French Daphnes and Agostas if HMG was willing to sell.

The SAN acquired 3 Rothesay class frigates before the British arms embargo was introduced. Therefore, I can see them buying as many as 5 Leanders or Type 21s or a mix of the two in the 1970s to replace the Type 15 and Type 16 frigates transferred to the SAN in the 1950s. That is if HMG was willing to sell them.

IOTL the SAAF bought 7 C-130B Hercules and then 9 C-160 Tansalls. Presumably they wanted C-130Es or Hs to standardise with the C-130Bs but the State Department blocked the sale (this was pre-1977) and had to buy the C-160 by default because the French were the only people who were prepared to sell.
 
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It would be interesting to see what happened if the Conservatives had gotten those 900 votes they needed to win the '64 election. Certainly they'd sell another batch of Buccaneers to South Africa and likely other stuff too, how about Shorts Belfast?

However that would only last until Labour wins the next election in 1968-69.
 
Can you share a link to the podcast?
AFdZucpB6PSkAA4ROyguBQ8lAcb4oOftEJpcYybWcTRKCw=s40-p

Bill Weaver​

9:56 PM (1 hour ago)
to me





https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7WPOpYdPRypc0AzTuWbneQ
 
Assuming the South Africans make full use of the lack of any arms embargo and procured modern hardware meaning that the SADF was able to procure hardware of quality and quantity unavailable to them IOTL how would this have affected its performance during its operations in South West Africa, Angola and its clandestine support for Rhodesia and theoutcomeof these conflicts?
 
South Africa was wealthy but was literally also the equivalant of a fascist country in it's racial laws and actions. Without sanctions the warfare in Southern Africa would be worse and more bloody. Rhodesia was a war South Africa needed to have win in order to maintain the status quo they falt they needed. The Communist support for South Africa's enemies was such that it is a surprise they never got more support and truly shows how bad the situation was within South Africa.

What has not really been touched on here was the relationship that sanctions created with Israel, that contact made many home grown projects fairly world class. Without sanctions maybe no Israel relationship and thus no nuclear bombs.

The South African Navy was in dire need of improvement and with no sanctions and the use of port facilities by NATO and control of a strategic region the sale of Nimrods and ASW/AAW destroyers such as the Type 42 would be expected
 
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