South African Air Force

South African Air Force

Overview
The South African Air Force (SAAF) is the air force
Air force
An air force, also known in some countries as an air army, is in the broadest sense, the national military organization that primarily conducts aerial warfare. More specifically, it is the branch of a nation's armed services that is responsible for aerial warfare as distinct from an army, navy or...

 of South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, with headquarters in Pretoria
Pretoria
Pretoria is a city located in the northern part of Gauteng Province, South Africa. It is one of the country's three capital cities, serving as the executive and de facto national capital; the others are Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Bloemfontein, the judicial capital.Pretoria is...

. It is the world's second oldest independent air force, and its motto is Per Aspera Ad Astra
Per Aspera Ad Astra
Per aspera ad astra is a Latin phrase meaning "through hardships to the stars" and is the motto of many organizations. It may also refer to:* Per Aspera Ad Astra , a 1981 Soviet science fiction film...

(Through Adversity to the Stars). An official slogan, Through Diversity To Airpower Excellence, is also used.

The origin of the South African Air Force can be traced back to 1912, when the Union Defence Force (UDF) was formed.
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Encyclopedia
The South African Air Force (SAAF) is the air force
Air force
An air force, also known in some countries as an air army, is in the broadest sense, the national military organization that primarily conducts aerial warfare. More specifically, it is the branch of a nation's armed services that is responsible for aerial warfare as distinct from an army, navy or...

 of South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, with headquarters in Pretoria
Pretoria
Pretoria is a city located in the northern part of Gauteng Province, South Africa. It is one of the country's three capital cities, serving as the executive and de facto national capital; the others are Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Bloemfontein, the judicial capital.Pretoria is...

. It is the world's second oldest independent air force, and its motto is Per Aspera Ad Astra
Per Aspera Ad Astra
Per aspera ad astra is a Latin phrase meaning "through hardships to the stars" and is the motto of many organizations. It may also refer to:* Per Aspera Ad Astra , a 1981 Soviet science fiction film...

(Through Adversity to the Stars). An official slogan, Through Diversity To Airpower Excellence, is also used.

History


The origin of the South African Air Force can be traced back to 1912, when the Union Defence Force (UDF) was formed. The first flying school in South Africa was started that year in Kimberley
Kimberley, Northern Cape
Kimberley is a city in South Africa, and the capital of the Northern Cape. It is located near the confluence of the Vaal and Orange Rivers. The town has considerable historical significance due its diamond mining past and siege during the Second Boer War...

 using a Compton-Paterson biplane
Biplane
A biplane is a fixed-wing aircraft with two superimposed main wings. The Wright brothers' Wright Flyer used a biplane design, as did most aircraft in the early years of aviation. While a biplane wing structure has a structural advantage, it produces more drag than a similar monoplane wing...

. This formation included the South African Aviation Corps (SAAC), which was formed as part of the Active Citizen Force (ACF).

World War I



In April 1914 six pupils (with the probationary ranks of lieutenant in the ACF) were sent to England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 to undergo further training. Five of them eventually qualified.

When World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 broke out in August 1914, these pilots were granted permission to join the newly formed Royal Flying Corps
Royal Flying Corps
The Royal Flying Corps was the over-land air arm of the British military during most of the First World War. During the early part of the war, the RFC's responsibilities were centred on support of the British Army, via artillery co-operation and photographic reconnaissance...

 (RFC). The number of South Africans in the RFC eventually reached approximately 3,000, with 260 active-duty fatalities. They took part in aerial reconnaissance and artillery spotting missions over France
Western Front (World War I)
Following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by first invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. The tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne...

 during the war. No fewer than 46 of them became fighter ace
Flying ace
A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down several enemy aircraft during aerial combat. The actual number of aerial victories required to officially qualify as an "ace" has varied, but is usually considered to be five or more...

s shooting down five or more enemy aircraft, with the most successful, Andrew Beauchamp-Proctor
Andrew Beauchamp-Proctor
Captain Andrew Frederick Weatherby Beauchamp-Proctor, VC, DSO, MC and bar, DFC was a South African recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces...

 being the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

's fourth most successful ace with 54 victories.

Inter-war period


On February 1, 1920 the South African Air Force was established with Col. Pierre van Ryneveld
Pierre van Ryneveld
General Sir Hesperus Andrias van Ryneveld, KBE, CB, DSO, MC was a South African military commander.He began his military career in World War I, in which he served in the Royal Flying Corps , where he distinguished himself as a fighter ace.After the war, van Ryneveld was called back to South Africa...

 as the Director Air Services.
The establishment of the SAAF was greatly facilitated by the generous decision by the British Government in 1919 to allocate to the Union some 100 aeroplanes from its war stocks, complete with spares and associated equipment. These were joined by a further 13 aircraft from other sources making a total of 113 aircraft. Similar gifts were made to Australia and New Zealand at the time. In April 1921 a site at Swartkop
AFB Swartkop
AFB Swartkop is an air force base in South Africa. It is managed as part of AFB Waterkloof and houses one of the three branches of the South African Air Force Museum...

, three kilometres east of what was then Roberts Heights
Thaba Tshwane
Thaba Tshwane is a military base , in Pretoria, South Africa. Founded around 1905 by the British Army, and called Roberts Heights after Lord Roberts...

 was selected and taken over as the site for the first aerodrome.

The SAAF's first operation was in 1922, when it helped to crush the Rand Revolt, an armed uprising by white mineworkers. The SAAF bombed targets around Johannesburg
Johannesburg
Johannesburg also known as Jozi, Jo'burg or Egoli, is the largest city in South Africa, by population. Johannesburg is the provincial capital of Gauteng, the wealthiest province in South Africa, having the largest economy of any metropolitan region in Sub-Saharan Africa...

, and lost some aircraft to ground fire. Col. Sir Pierre van Ryneveld himself was shot down, but survived.

In 1934 a significant increase in the defence budget was approved and in 1935 the Minister of Defence announced that the UDF was to be expanded.

World War II


Despite the expansions, the start of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 in 1939 caught the SAAF unprepared. This caused the establishment of the Joint Air Training Scheme
British Commonwealth Air Training Plan
The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan , known in some countries as the Empire Air Training Scheme , was a massive, joint military aircrew training program created by the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, during the Second World War...

 (JATS) in order to train Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 (RAF), SAAF and other allied air and ground crews at 38 South African-based air schools. This expanded the number of military aircraft in the SAAF to 1,709 by September 1941, with a personnel strength of 31,204 (956 pilots).
  • Home defence (1939–45): Patrols of South African waters by SAAF Coastal Command (6
    6 Squadron SAAF
    6 Squadron was a South African Air Force squadron as from World War II. It was disbanded and re-created a number of times, until finally disbanded in October 1990.The Squadron was formed in Cape Town in April 1939 and was equipped with Westland Wapiti IIIs...

    , 10, 22, 23, 25, 27 and 29 Squadron
    29 Squadron SAAF
    29 Squadron was one of the Coastal Command squadronsCoastal Command consisted of 27 Sqn at Walvis Bay and Rooikop and a detachment at Aus; 6 Sqn at Eerste River; 23 Sqn at Darling; 25 Sqn at Port Elizabeth and East London; 22 Sqn at Lombazi and Matubatuba; 29 Sqn also at Lombazi and 10 Sqn at...

    s), where German U-boat
    U-boat
    U-boat is the anglicized version of the German word U-Boot , itself an abbreviation of Unterseeboot , and refers to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in World War I and World War II...

    s and Imperial Japanese Navy
    Imperial Japanese Navy
    The Imperial Japanese Navy was the navy of the Empire of Japan from 1869 until 1947, when it was dissolved following Japan's constitutional renunciation of the use of force as a means of settling international disputes...

     submarines were active.
  • East Africa
    East Africa
    East Africa or Eastern Africa is the easterly region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. In the UN scheme of geographic regions, 19 territories constitute Eastern Africa:...

     (1940–41): 2 Wing fought in British-led operations against Italian Somaliland and Italian-occupied Ethiopia
    Italian East Africa
    Italian East Africa was an Italian colonial administrative subdivision established in 1936, resulting from the merger of the Ethiopian Empire with the old colonies of Italian Somaliland and Italian Eritrea. In August 1940, British Somaliland was conquered and annexed to Italian East Africa...

    .
  • North Africa
    North Africa
    North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

     (1941–43): 3 and 7 Wings fought as part of the Desert Air Force
    Desert Air Force
    The Desert Air Force , also known chronologically as Air Headquarters Western Desert, Air Headquarters Libya, AHQ Western Desert, the Western Desert Air Force, Desert Air Force, and the First Tactical Air Force , was an Allied tactical air force initially created from No...

    , in operations in Egypt
    Military history of Egypt during World War II
    - Introduction :In 1882 Egypt became a de facto British colony. This continued until 1922 when Egypt was granted its independence, but British troops remained in the country and true self rule did not occur until 1952 with the rise to power of Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser.-History of British rule:In...

    , Libya
    Italian Libya
    Italian Libya was a unified colony of Italian North Africa established in 1934 in what represents present-day Libya...

    , and Tunisia.
  • Madagascar
    Madagascar
    The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

     (1942): A detachment took part in the British-led occupation of this French-ruled island.
  • Atlantic (1943–45): Two squadrons patrolled convoy routes off West Africa and Gibraltar. (26 Squadron SAAF
    26 Squadron SAAF
    26 Squadron SAAF is a disbanded squadron of the South African Air Force. The squadron was based at Takoradi, Gold Coast on the West Coast of Africa during World war II. They flew Vickers Wellingtons on anti-submarine and convoy escort patrols over the Atlantic. The squadron was seconded to No. 298...

    , Vickers Wellington
    Vickers Wellington
    The Vickers Wellington was a British twin-engine, long range medium bomber designed in the mid-1930s at Brooklands in Weybridge, Surrey, by Vickers-Armstrongs' Chief Designer, R. K. Pierson. It was widely used as a night bomber in the early years of the Second World War, before being displaced as a...

     XI's, Takoradi, Gold Coast, West Africa)
  • Sicily
    Sicily
    Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

     (1943): 3 and 7 Wings (SAAF) as well as 1, 3, 15, 16, 17, 28, 40 and 60 Squadrons provided fighters, bombers and reconnaissance aircraft during the Allied seizure of the island.



  • Italy (1943–45): 2, 3 and 7 Wings fought in operations to liberate Italy from German occupation.
  • Yugoslavia
    Yugoslavia
    Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

     (1943–44): 7 Wing supported partisan operations against German occupation forces.
  • France (1944): A detachment took part in the Franco-American invasion of southern France.
  • Balkans
    Balkans
    The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

     (1944–45): Some squadrons served with the Balkan Air Force
    Balkan Air Force
    The Balkan Air Force was a late-World War II Allied air formation.-History:The formation was based at Bari in Italy, and activated on 7 June 1944 from AHQ 'G' Force to simplify command arrangements for the air support of Special Operations Executive-operations in the Balkans, i.e. across the...

     in operations over Hungary, Romania
    Romania
    Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

     and Albania
    Albania
    Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

    .
  • Warsaw
    Warsaw
    Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

     (1944): 2 Wing air-supplied Warsaw during Warsaw Uprising.
  • Greece (1944): 2 Wing supported British operations to liberate Greece and suppress the communist coup
    Greek Civil War
    The Greek Civil War was fought from 1946 to 1949 between the Greek governmental army, backed by the United Kingdom and United States, and the Democratic Army of Greece , the military branch of the Greek Communist Party , backed by Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Albania...

    .


In particular, the SAAF played a major role in North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, where its fighter, bomber and reconnaissance squadrons enabled the Allied Desert Air Force
Desert Air Force
The Desert Air Force , also known chronologically as Air Headquarters Western Desert, Air Headquarters Libya, AHQ Western Desert, the Western Desert Air Force, Desert Air Force, and the First Tactical Air Force , was an Allied tactical air force initially created from No...

 to attain air superiority over the Axis
Axis Powers
The Axis powers , also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis, was an alignment of great powers during the mid-20th century that fought World War II against the Allies. It began in 1936 with treaties of friendship between Germany and Italy and between Germany and...

 air forces by the beginning of 1942. Between April 1941 and May 1943 the eleven squadrons of the SAAF flew 33,991 sorties and destroyed 342 enemy aircraft, producing a number of SAAF WWII air aces in the process, including John Frost
John Frost (pilot)
John Everitt "Jack" Frost DFC & Bar was a South African fighter ace during the Second World War. He was the highest-scoring member of a South African Air Force squadron during the war...

, Sailor Malan
Adolph Malan
Adolph Gysbert Malan DSO & Bar DFC & Bar , better known as Sailor Malan, was a famed South African World War II RAF fighter pilot who led No. 74 Squadron RAF during the height of the Battle of Britain. Malan was known for sending German bomber pilots home with dead crews as a warning to other...

, Gerald Stapleton
Gerald Stapleton
Squadron Leader Basil Gerald "Stapme" Stapleton DFC was a Royal Air Force officer and fighter ace who flew Spitfires and Typhoons during World War II. He preferred the name Gerald and was nicknamed 'Stapme' after a phrase used in his favourite cartoon strip Just Jake published in The Daily Mirror...

 and Marmaduke Pattle
Marmaduke Pattle
Squadron Leader Marmaduke Thomas St. John "Pat" Pattle DFC & Bar was a South African-born Second World War flying ace for the Royal Air Force. Pattle was a fighter ace with a very high score, and is sometimes noted as being the highest-scoring British and Commonwealth pilot of the Second World War...

.

Post-War


Post-war, the SAAF also took part in the Berlin airlift of 1948 with 20 aircrews flying Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 Dakotas.

In the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

, the famous 2 Squadron
2 Squadron SAAF
-Background:2 Squadron is currently the premier squadron in the South African Air Force, and has a long history, having been involved in every single combat action in which the SAAF has taken part...

 ("The Flying Cheetahs") took part as South Africa's contribution. It won many American decorations, including the unusual honour of a United States Presidential Unit Citation
Presidential Unit Citation (US)
The Presidential Unit Citation, originally called the Distinguished Unit Citation, is awarded to units of the Armed Forces of the United States and allies for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy on or after 7 December 1941...

 in 1952:
2 Sqn had a long and distinguished record of service in Korea flying P-51D Mustangs and later F-86F Sabres. Their role was mainly flying ground attack and interdiction missions as one of the squadrons making up the USAF's 18th Fighter Bomber Wing.

During the Korean conflict the squadron flew a grand total of 12 067 sorties for a loss of 34 pilots and two other ranks. Aircraft losses amounted to 74 out of 97 Mustangs and four out of 22 Sabres. Pilots and men of the squadron received a total of 797 medals including 2 Silver Stars - the highest award to non-American nationals - 3 Legions of Merit, 55 Distinguished Flying Crosses and 40 Bronze Stars. 8 pilots became POWs. Casualties: 20 KIA 16 WIA.


When the Union Defence Forces were reorganised into individual services in 1951, the SAAF became an arm of service in its own right, under an Air Chief of Staff (who was renamed "Chief of the Air Force" in 1966). It adopted a blue uniform, to replace the army khaki it had previously worn.

The SAAF was scaled down in the 1950s, and rebuilt in the 1960s, after South Africa had become a republic, but before diplomatic isolation and the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 arms embargo had begun to have an effect.

In 1960 the SAAF had three groups - Inland Group, Maritime Group, and Maintenance Group. (Official Yearbook of the Union of South Africa, 1960)

Border War


From 1966 to 1989, the SAAF was committed to the Border War
South African Border War
The South African Border War, commonly referred to as the Angolan Bush War in South Africa, was a conflict that took place from 1966 to 1989 in South-West Africa and Angola between South Africa and its allied forces on the one side and the Angolan government, South-West Africa People's...

, which was fought in northern South West Africa
South West Africa
South-West Africa was the name that was used for the modern day Republic of Namibia during the earlier eras when the territory was controlled by the German Empire and later by South Africa....

 and surrounding states. At first, it provided limited air support to police operations against the People's Liberation Army of Namibia
People's Liberation Army of Namibia
The People's Liberation Army of Namibia was the active military wing of the South West Africa People's Organization during the Namibian War of Independence. It sought independence for the territory from South African rule. PLAN launched its first attack on the South African military at...

 (the military wing of SWAPO, which was fighting to end South African rule of South West Africa). Operations intensified after the defence force took charge of the war in 1974.

Angola campaign


The SAAF provided air support to the army during the 1975-76 Angola
Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

 campaign, and in the many cross-border operations that were carried out against PLAN bases in Angola and Zambia
Zambia
Zambia , officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west....

 from 1977 onwards.

At least two MIG-21s
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 is a supersonic jet fighter aircraft, designed by the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau in the Soviet Union. It was popularly nicknamed "balalaika", from the aircraft's planform-view resemblance to the Russian stringed musical instrument or ołówek by Polish pilots due to...

 of the Angolan Air Force were shot down by 3 Squadron SAAF
3 Squadron SAAF
3 Squadron SAAF was an air force squadron of the South African Air Force. It was formed in January 1939 at Air Force Base Waterkloof and was equipped with Hawker Hartbees I and Hurricane Mk II aircraft. The squadron was moved to Port Elizabeth in September 1939 after which it was disbanded...

 Mirage F1s in 1981 and 1982.

The SAAF was also heavily involved in the 1987-88 Angola campaign, before the peace settlement
New York Accords
The Tripartite Accord, Three Powers Accord or New York Accords granted independence to Namibia and ended the direct involvement of foreign troops in the Angolan Civil War...

 that ended the conflict. The international arms embargo
United Nations Security Council Resolution 418
United Nations Security Council Resolution 418, adopted unanimously on 4 November 1977, imposed a mandatory arms embargo against apartheid South Africa. This resolution differed from the earlier Resolution 282, which was only voluntary...

 imposed against the then-apartheid government of South Africa, meant that the SAAF was unable to procure modern fighter aircraft
Fighter aircraft
A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat with other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed primarily to attack ground targets...

 to compete with the sophisticated Soviet-supplied air defence network and Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

n MiG-23
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 is a variable-geometry fighter aircraft, designed by the Mikoyan-Gurevich design bureau in the Soviet Union. It is considered to belong to the Soviet third generation jet fighter category, along with similarly aged Soviet fighters such as the MiG-25 "Foxbat"...

s fielded in the latter part of this conflict.

After the first multi-racial elections were held in 1994, the SAAF became an integrated air force as part of the South African National Defence Force
South African National Defence Force
The South African National Defence Force is the armed forces of South Africa. The military as it exists today was created in 1994, following South Africa's first post-apartheid national elections and the adoption of a new constitution...

 (SANDF).

Current status


As of 2007 the SAAF has about 8 000 regular uniformed members augmented by about 1 500 civilians and roughly 900 reserves.

In 2002 the Air Force officer rank insignia was changed from one which was shared with the Army to a new pattern based on stripes. The Air Force stated that this was "in order to bring it more in line with international forms of rank
Air force officer rank insignia
To assist in the comparison of different countries' air force officer rank insignia, NATO rank codes have been used. These are established codes for determining the seniority of officer and other ranks in NATO countries for a particular joint task group or command structure, although specific...

".

>


A budget of R9 billion
South African rand
The rand is the currency of South Africa. It takes its name from the Witwatersrand , the ridge upon which Johannesburg is built and where most of South Africa's gold deposits were found. The rand has the symbol "R" and is subdivided into 100 cents, symbol "c"...

 (roughly US$1.1 billion at March 2008 exchange rates) was allocated for FY2008\2009. The reason for the apparent large increase over the previous financial year's amount of roughly US$350 million, is the fact that in the 2008/2009 budget documents, the payments for new aircraft acquisitions have been included in the regular air force budget and then again, in the special defence account budget.

The SAAF does suffer from a severe shortage of pilots and technical personnel. The impact of this is that the combat force is in effect smaller than it appears on paper. There are currently 60 posts for combat pilots, of which only 34 are filled. Other numbers include: Helicopter Pilots; 167 with 58 vacant posts; Transport Pilots 156 with 48 vacant posts; and the SAAF also has currently 12 vip and 7 maritime pilots. Of the 1630 posts for technical support crew, only 763 are filled. Engineers are down too from 122 posts with only 52 filled.

However, the South African National Defence Force was to recruit 11,000 new soldiers, airmen, sailors and medics in 2010, taking advantage of a R700 million allocation for that purpose in Finance Minister Trevor Manuel’s February budget.

Aircraft Inventory

Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service Notes
Fighter Aircraft
Fighter aircraft
A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat with other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed primarily to attack ground targets...

JAS 39 Gripen
JAS 39 Gripen
The Saab JAS 39 Gripen is a lightweight single-engine multirole fighter manufactured by the Swedish aerospace company Saab. It was designed to replace the Saab 35 Draken and 37 Viggen in the Swedish Air Force...

multirole fighter C and D (single and twin seat) 22 9 JAS 39D twin seat and 17 JAS 39C single seat Gripens are being delivered between 2008 and 2012, the Gripens replaced the Atlas Cheetah
Atlas Cheetah
The Atlas Cheetah is a fighter aircraft currently operated by the Ecuadorian Air Force. It was operated by the South African Air Force between 1986 and 2008. It was first built as a major upgrade of the Dassault Mirage III by the Atlas Aircraft Corporation of South Africa in South Africa and is...

s which were taken out of active service in early April 2008.
Trainer Aircraft
British Aerospace Hawk lead in fighter trainer Mk120 24 "With the exception of South Africa's initial Hawk (SA 250) flight test and development aircraft, which was built in the United Kingdom, all of its other Hawks were assembled at Denel's aircraft factory at Johannesburg International Airport in Kempton Park near Johannesburg."
Pilatus PC-7 MkII
Pilatus PC-7
The Pilatus PC-7 Turbo Trainer is a low-wing tandem-seat training aircraft, manufactured by Pilatus Aircraft of Switzerland. The aircraft is capable of all basic training functions including aerobatics, instrument, tactical and night flying. It has been selected by more than twenty air forces as...

trainer PC-7 MkII 52 October 15, 2009 The South African Air Force (SAAF) has contracted Pilatus to integrate an avionics upgrade on 35 of their Pilatus Astra PC-7 MkII fleet.
Helicopters
Atlas Oryx
Atlas Oryx
The Atlas Oryx is a medium-sized utility helicopter manufactured by the Atlas Aircraft Corporation of South Africa.-Design and development:...

medium transport helicopter MKI and MKII 40 Denel Aviation is planning to upgrade the on-board communication and navigation systems of Oryx helicopters under SAAF's Drummer project launched in 2008. The Drummer is a mid-life upgrade programme to extend the service life of 40 Oryx helicopters in the SAAF's inventory (the MKII version helicopters were specifically build for use by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism).
Denel AH-2 Rooivalk attack helicopter 11 1 lost to accident.
MBB/Kawasaki BK 117
utility helicopter BK 117 4 Original aircraft were inherited from the Apartheid-era "homelands", the Ciskei having acquired 3 in 1983, Venda 2 in 1985, Transkei 2 in 1986 and Bophuthatswana 2 in 1987, making a total of 10 with an extra delivered from Brazil. Two of the aircraft have already been mothballed at AFB Bloemspruit. 4 remain in service with 15 SQ. Attrition: 02/11/99 Bk117 384 Rolled over after emergency landing. March 2003 BK117 383 Involved in an accident, later declared Cat 5 and cannibalised. 20/08/03 BK117 389 Written-off during Exercise Blue Angel.
Agusta A109
Agusta A109
The AgustaWestland AW109 is a light-weight, twin-engine, eight-seat multi-purpose helicopter built by the Anglo-Italian manufacturer AgustaWestland...

light utility helicopter A109LUH 27 3 lost to accidents.
Westland Super Lynx
Westland Lynx
The Westland Lynx is a British multi-purpose military helicopter designed and built by Westland Helicopters at its factory in Yeovil. Originally intended as a utility craft for both civil and naval usage, military interest led to the development of both battlefield and naval variants...

naval helicopter Mk300 4 operated from South African Navy
South African Navy
The South African Navy is the navy of the Republic of South Africa.-Formation:The South African Navy can trace its official origins back to the SA Naval Service, which was established on 1 April 1922....

 Valour class frigate
Valour class frigate
The South African Valour class frigates are the major surface ships of the South African Navy. Their German manufacturer designates these warships as the MEKO A-200SAN class, member of its MEKO family of naval ships...

s.
Transports
Cargo aircraft
A cargo aircraft is a fixed-wing aircraft designed or converted for the carriage of goods, rather than passengers. They are usually devoid of passenger amenities, and generally feature one or more large doors for the loading and unloading of cargo...

Lockheed C-130 Hercules
C-130 Hercules
The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built originally by Lockheed, now Lockheed Martin. Capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation, and cargo transport...

transport C-130BZ 9 upgraded with new avionics
Avionics
Avionics are electronic systems used on aircraft, artificial satellites and spacecraft.Avionic systems include communications, navigation, the display and management of multiple systems and the hundreds of systems that are fitted to aircraft to meet individual roles...

 and glass cockpits under project Ebb. Completed March 2008.
Douglas C-47 Turbo Dakota
C-47 Skytrain
The Douglas C-47 Skytrain or Dakota is a military transport aircraft that was developed from the Douglas DC-3 airliner. It was used extensively by the Allies during World War II and remained in front line operations through the 1950s with a few remaining in operation to this day.-Design and...

maritime patrol / transport /
electronic warfare
Electronic warfare
Electronic warfare refers to any action involving the use of the electromagnetic spectrum or directed energy to control the spectrum, attack an enemy, or impede enemy assaults via the spectrum. The purpose of electronic warfare is to deny the opponent the advantage of, and ensure friendly...

C-47TP 10 Under Project Felstone,(need to improve current fleet under embargo) the first C-47TP "TurboDak" serial number 6835, was unveiled at Swartkops Air Force Base on 26 August '91. This aircraft took four years to complete. The Project was completed by 1997 with two production lines - one at AFB Swartkop and the other at AFB Ysterplaat. However, the fleet has been constantly refined and updated over the years. The latest version being a dedicated EW platform. 5 maritime patrol, 3 transport, 2 electronic warfare.
Cessna 208
Cessna 208
The Cessna 208 Caravan is a single turboprop engine, fixed-gear short-haul regional airliner and utility aircraft built in the United States by Cessna. The airplane typically seats nine passengers, with a single person crew, although with a FAR Part 23 waiver, it can seat up to fourteen passengers...

light utility / observation 208B 10 fitted with Denel infrared
Infrared
Infrared light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength longer than that of visible light, measured from the nominal edge of visible red light at 0.74 micrometres , and extending conventionally to 300 µm...

 observation system under project Koiler in 2008. One lost in accident.
Beechcraft Super King Air
Beechcraft Super King Air
The Beechcraft Super King Air family is part of a line of twin-turboprop aircraft produced by the Beech Aircraft Corporation . The King Air line comprises a number of model series that fall into two families: the Model 90 series, Model 100 series , Model 200 series and Model 300 series...

transport King Air 200/King Air 300 4
Pilatus PC-12
Pilatus PC-12
The Pilatus PC-12 is a single-engine turboprop passenger and cargo aircraft manufactured by Pilatus Aircraft of Switzerland. The main market for the aircraft is corporate transport and regional airliner operators.-Design and development:...

transport PC-12 1 mostly VIP
Very Important Person
A Very Important Person, or VIP is a person who is accorded special privileges due to his or her status or importance.Examples include celebrities, heads of state/heads of government, major employers, high rollers, politicians, high-level corporate officers, wealthy individuals, or any other...

 transport.
CASA C-212 Aviocar transport 212-200 / 212-300 4
CASA CN-235
CASA CN-235
The CASA/IPTN CN-235 is a medium-range twin-engined transport plane that was jointly developed by CASA of Spain and IPTN of Indonesia as a regional airliner and military transport. Its primary military roles include maritime patrol, surveillance, and air transport...

transport CN-235 1 The SAAF inherited its CN235 in 1994 from the Bophuthatswana Defence Force Air Wing, who acquired theirs in 1991.
737-based Boeing BBJ
Boeing Business Jet
|-External links:* .* .*...

presidential transport 1
Dassault Falcon 900 VIP transport 1
Dassault Falcon 50
Dassault Falcon 50
|-See also:-References:* Taylor, John W R. . Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1988-89. Coulsdon, Surrey, UK:Jane's Information Group. ISBN 0-7106-0867-5.-External links:* *...

VIP transport 2
Cessna 550 Citation VIP transport 2

Air Force installations


Source: South African Air Force
  • AFB Bloemspruit
    AFB Bloemspruit
    AFB Bloemspruit is an airbase of the South African Air Force. It is co-located with Bloemfontein Airport , and shares its runways.The base motto is Ex Unite Pax, ....

     (Bloemfontein
    Bloemfontein
    Bloemfontein is the capital city of the Free State Province of South Africa; and, as the judicial capital of the nation, one of South Africa's three national capitals – the other two being Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Pretoria, the administrative capital.Bloemfontein is popularly and...

    )
  • AFB Durban
    AFB Durban
    AFB Durban is an airbase of the South African Air Force, located in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The runway is shared with Durban International Airport . The airbase is at the northern end of the runway. The commanding officer is Colonel S.J...

     (Durban
    Durban
    Durban is the largest city in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal and the third largest city in South Africa. It forms part of the eThekwini metropolitan municipality. Durban is famous for being the busiest port in South Africa. It is also seen as one of the major centres of tourism...

    ;to be scaled down to an Air Force Station)
  • AFB Hoedspruit
    AFB Hoedspruit
    Air Force Base Hoedspruit is an airbase of the South African Air Force. It is located adjacent to the Kruger National Park. In the late 1990s an unused portion of the base was converted into a civilian airport known as Eastgate Airport...

     (Hoedspruit
    Hoedspruit
    Hoedspruit is a town situated at the foot of the Klein Drakensberg , in the Limpopo province of South Africa, on the railway line from Tzaneen to Kaapmuiden.-Economy:...

    )
  • AFB Langebaanweg
    AFB Langebaanweg
    AFB Langebaanweg is an airbase of the South African Air Force.The base motto is Tenax Propisiti Vinco – Through Tenacity Comes Success.- Units Hosted :* Central Flying School - Pilot and Instructor Training* 2 Air Servicing Unit - Technical Support...

     (Langebaan
    Langebaan
    Langebaan is a town in the Western Cape province of South Africa on the eastern shore of Langebaan Lagoon.Langebaan is situated 120 km north of Cape Town, just off the R27, about 28km from Vredenburg and 20km from Saldanha Bay...

    )
  • AFB Makhado
    AFB Makhado
    Air Force Base Makhado , formerly Air Force Base Louis Trichardt, is an airbase of the South African Air Force, located at . It is the SAAF's northernmost base, situated at Louis Trichardt near the border with Zimbabwe, as well as being its most modern, and is known unofficially as Fighter Town,...

     (Louis Trichardt)
  • AFB Overberg
    AFB Overberg
    AFB Overberg is an airbase of the South African Air Force and is the host of the 525 squadron and the Test Flight and Development Centre. It is placed under command of the Air Office in Pretoria, Gauteng....

     (Bredasdorp
    Bredasdorp
    Bredasdorp is a town in the Southern Overberg region of the Western Cape, South Africa, and the main economic and service hub of that region. It lies on the northern edge of the Agulhas Plain, about south-east of Cape Town and north of Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa.-History:The...

    )
  • AFB Swartkop
    AFB Swartkop
    AFB Swartkop is an air force base in South Africa. It is managed as part of AFB Waterkloof and houses one of the three branches of the South African Air Force Museum...

     (Pretoria
    Pretoria
    Pretoria is a city located in the northern part of Gauteng Province, South Africa. It is one of the country's three capital cities, serving as the executive and de facto national capital; the others are Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Bloemfontein, the judicial capital.Pretoria is...

    ; an extension of AFB Waterkloof)
  • AFB Waterkloof
    AFB Waterkloof
    Air Force Base Waterkloof is an airbase of the South African Air Force. It is situated on the outskirts of Pretoria, and is the SAAF's busiest airbase.The base's name, Waterkloof, is Afrikaans, it means Water Ravine in English....

     (Pretoria
    Pretoria
    Pretoria is a city located in the northern part of Gauteng Province, South Africa. It is one of the country's three capital cities, serving as the executive and de facto national capital; the others are Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Bloemfontein, the judicial capital.Pretoria is...

    )
  • AFB Ysterplaat
    AFB Ysterplaat
    Air Force Base Ysterplaat is an airbase of the South African Air Force. It is located in Cape Town, on the southwestern coast of South Africa.The name Ysterplaat is Afrikaans; it means Iron Plate in English....

     (Cape Town
    Cape Town
    Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa, and the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape. As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality...

    )
  • AFS Port Elizabeth

Squadrons


Note: Squadron composition as seen below is incomplete.
! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Squadron Number
! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Base
! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Type of Aircraft
! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Versions
! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Objective
! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Composition
|-----
|2 Squadron SAAF
2 Squadron SAAF
-Background:2 Squadron is currently the premier squadron in the South African Air Force, and has a long history, having been involved in every single combat action in which the SAAF has taken part...


|AFB Makhado
AFB Makhado
Air Force Base Makhado , formerly Air Force Base Louis Trichardt, is an airbase of the South African Air Force, located at . It is the SAAF's northernmost base, situated at Louis Trichardt near the border with Zimbabwe, as well as being its most modern, and is known unofficially as Fighter Town,...


|JAS 39 Gripen
JAS 39 Gripen
The Saab JAS 39 Gripen is a lightweight single-engine multirole fighter manufactured by the Swedish aerospace company Saab. It was designed to replace the Saab 35 Draken and 37 Viggen in the Swedish Air Force...


|C/D
|Air-Defence
|8 JAS-39D,
6 JAS-39C
|-----
|15 Squadron SAAF
15 Squadron SAAF
15 Squadron SAAF is a squadron of the South African Air Force. It is currently a transport/utility helicopter squadron.The squadron was formed on 18 September 1939 as a Coastal Command squadron based at Cape Town...


|AFB Durban
AFB Durban
AFB Durban is an airbase of the South African Air Force, located in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The runway is shared with Durban International Airport . The airbase is at the northern end of the runway. The commanding officer is Colonel S.J...


|Atlas Oryx, MBB/Kawasaki BK 117
|Oryx Mk-I and Mk-II
|Transport
|
|-----
|15 Squadron - C Flight
|AFS Port Elizabeth
|BK 117 - converting to Agusta A109
Agusta A109
The AgustaWestland AW109 is a light-weight, twin-engine, eight-seat multi-purpose helicopter built by the Anglo-Italian manufacturer AgustaWestland...

 LUH.
|
|Transport
|
|-----
|16 Squadron SAAF
16 Squadron SAAF
16 Squadron SAAF is an attack helicopter squadron of the South African Air Force . It was originally formed in World War II as a maritime patrol squadron, however, over the course of the war it was disbanded and reformed a number of times, operating a number of different types of aircraft...


|AFB Bloemspruit
AFB Bloemspruit
AFB Bloemspruit is an airbase of the South African Air Force. It is co-located with Bloemfontein Airport , and shares its runways.The base motto is Ex Unite Pax, ....


|Denel AH-2 Rooivalk
|
|Attack
|11 AH-2
|-----
|17 Squadron SAAF
17 Squadron SAAF
17 Squadron SAAF is a squadron of the South African Air Force. It is currently a transport/utility helicopter squadron.* First formed: 1 September 1939...


|AFB Waterkloof
AFB Waterkloof
Air Force Base Waterkloof is an airbase of the South African Air Force. It is situated on the outskirts of Pretoria, and is the SAAF's busiest airbase.The base's name, Waterkloof, is Afrikaans, it means Water Ravine in English....


|Atlas Oryx, Agusta A109 LUH.
|
|Transport
|4 A109 LUH
|-----
|19 Squadron SAAF
19 Squadron SAAF
19 Squadron SAAF is a current squadron of the South African Air Force operating as a transport/utility helicopter squadron. It was formed in 1939 as part of the Air Force airways Wing, flying transport aircraft but was disbanded after a few months. It was re-formed from No. 227 Squadron RAF in...


|AFB Hoedspruit
AFB Hoedspruit
Air Force Base Hoedspruit is an airbase of the South African Air Force. It is located adjacent to the Kruger National Park. In the late 1990s an unused portion of the base was converted into a civilian airport known as Eastgate Airport...


|Atlas Oryx, Agusta A109 LUH
|
|Transport
|5 A109 LUH
|-----
|21 Squadron SAAF
21 Squadron SAAF
21 Squadron SAAF is a squadron of the South African Air Force. It is currently a VIP transport squadron.* Motto: Onoorwinklik * First formed: 8 May 1941...


|AFB Waterkloof
|Boeing BBJ, Cessna Citation I
Cessna Citation I
|-See also:-References:* Michell, Simon. Jane's Civil and Military Upgrades 1994-95. Coulsdon, Surrey UK:Jane's Information Group, 1994. ISBN 0-7106-1208-7....

, Dassault Falcon 50
Dassault Falcon 50
|-See also:-References:* Taylor, John W R. . Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1988-89. Coulsdon, Surrey, UK:Jane's Information Group. ISBN 0-7106-0867-5.-External links:* *...

, Dassault Falcon 900
|
|VIP Transport
|
|-----
|22 Squadron SAAF
22 Squadron SAAF
22 Squadron is a squadron of the South African Air Force. It is currently a maritime helicopter squadron operating Lynx and Oryx helicopters for the South African Navy.-History:...


|AFB Ysterplaat
AFB Ysterplaat
Air Force Base Ysterplaat is an airbase of the South African Air Force. It is located in Cape Town, on the southwestern coast of South Africa.The name Ysterplaat is Afrikaans; it means Iron Plate in English....


|Atlas Oryx, Westland Super Lynx 300
|
|Transport
|
|-----
|28 Squadron SAAF
28 Squadron SAAF
28 Squadron SAAF is a squadron of the South African Air Force. It is currently a medium transport squadron flying Lockheed C-130BZ and F Hercules medium transport aircraft....


|AFB Waterkloof
|Lockheed C-130 Hercules
C-130 Hercules
The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built originally by Lockheed, now Lockheed Martin. Capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation, and cargo transport...


|C-130B/BZ/F models
|Medium Transport
|
|-----
|35 Squadron SAAF
35 Squadron SAAF
35 Squadron SAAF is a squadron of the South African Air Force. It is currently a maritime patrol and transport squadron.-History:The squadron was formed on 15 February 1945 when 262 Squadron Royal Air Force, an anti-submarine squadron, operating the Consolidated Catalina, was transferred to the...


|AFB Ysterplaat
|C-47 Dakota
C-47 Skytrain
The Douglas C-47 Skytrain or Dakota is a military transport aircraft that was developed from the Douglas DC-3 airliner. It was used extensively by the Allies during World War II and remained in front line operations through the 1950s with a few remaining in operation to this day.-Design and...


|C-47TP version
|Maritime patrol/Transport
|
|-----
|41 Squadron SAAF
41 Squadron SAAF
41 Squadron is a light transport squadron of the South African Air Force. It was formed in 1940 and has served since then, It is currently based at AFB Waterkloof.-World War II:...


|AFB Waterkloof
|Cessna 208
Cessna 208
The Cessna 208 Caravan is a single turboprop engine, fixed-gear short-haul regional airliner and utility aircraft built in the United States by Cessna. The airplane typically seats nine passengers, with a single person crew, although with a FAR Part 23 waiver, it can seat up to fourteen passengers...

, Pilatus PC-12
Pilatus PC-12
The Pilatus PC-12 is a single-engine turboprop passenger and cargo aircraft manufactured by Pilatus Aircraft of Switzerland. The main market for the aircraft is corporate transport and regional airliner operators.-Design and development:...

, Beechcraft 200C King Air
Beechcraft Super King Air
The Beechcraft Super King Air family is part of a line of twin-turboprop aircraft produced by the Beech Aircraft Corporation . The King Air line comprises a number of model series that fall into two families: the Model 90 series, Model 100 series , Model 200 series and Model 300 series...


|
|Light Transport
|
|-----
|44 Squadron SAAF
44 Squadron SAAF
44 Squadron SAAF is a squadron of the South African Air Force. It is currently a light transport squadron.* First formed: 12 March 1944 . The squadron flew Dakota DC3's as part of No. 216 Group RAF of the Mediterranean Allied Air Forces in May 1945* Historic aircraft flown: Avro Anson, Dakota,...


|AFB Waterkloof
|CASA C-212 Aviocar, CASA CN-235
CASA CN-235
The CASA/IPTN CN-235 is a medium-range twin-engined transport plane that was jointly developed by CASA of Spain and IPTN of Indonesia as a regional airliner and military transport. Its primary military roles include maritime patrol, surveillance, and air transport...


|
|Light Transport
|
|-----
|60 Squadron SAAF
60 Squadron SAAF
60 Squadron SAAF is a squadron of the South African Air Force. It is currently a transport, aerial refuelling and EW/ELINT squadron.* First formed: December 1940...


|AFB Waterkloof
|No operational aircraft at this time. The planned acquisition of Airbus A400M
Airbus A400M
The Airbus A400M, also known as the Atlas, is a multi-national four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft. It was designed by Airbus Military as a tactical airlifter with strategic capabilities. The aircraft's maiden flight, originally planned for 2008, took place on 11 December 2009 in...

s was cancelled in November 2009
|
|Transport/Aerial refueling/EW/ELINT
|
|-----
|80 Air Navigation School
|AFB Ysterplaat
|
|
|Navigation training
|
|-----
|85 Combat Flying School
|AFB Makhado
|BAe Hawk
BAE Hawk
The BAE Systems Hawk is a British single-engine, advanced jet trainer aircraft. It first flew in 1974 as the Hawker Siddeley Hawk. The Hawk is used by the Royal Air Force, and other air forces, as either a trainer or a low-cost combat aircraft...

 LIFT
|Mk-120
|Jet-flight training/Combat Operation
|
|-----
|87 Helicopter Flying School
|AFB Bloemspruit
|Atlas Oryx, Agusta A109 LUH, BK 117
|
|Helicopter flight training
|9 A109 LUH
|-----
|Ab initio Helicopter Training, outsourced to Starlite Aviation (a civilian contractor)
|Durban
Durban
Durban is the largest city in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal and the third largest city in South Africa. It forms part of the eThekwini metropolitan municipality. Durban is famous for being the busiest port in South Africa. It is also seen as one of the major centres of tourism...


|Robinson R-22, Eurocopter EC-120 (civilian aircraft)
|
|
|
|-----
|Central Flying School
Central Flying School
The Central Flying School is the Royal Air Force's primary institution for the training of military flying instructors. Established in 1912 it is the longest existing flying training school.-History:...


|AFB Langebaanweg
AFB Langebaanweg
AFB Langebaanweg is an airbase of the South African Air Force.The base motto is Tenax Propisiti Vinco – Through Tenacity Comes Success.- Units Hosted :* Central Flying School - Pilot and Instructor Training* 2 Air Servicing Unit - Technical Support...


|Pilatus PC-7 Astra
|Mk-II
|Flight training. Ab initio training is outsourced to a civilian school, Babcock Central Flying Academy of Grand Central Airport
Grand Central Airport
Grand Central Airport is a small privately owned airfield which is open to public air traffic. It is located in Midrand, halfway between Johannesburg and Pretoria in South Africa...

 using Cessna 172
Cessna 172
The Cessna 172 Skyhawk is a four-seat, single-engine, high-wing fixed-wing aircraft. First flown in 1955 and still in production, more Cessna 172s have been built than any other aircraft.-Design and development:...

s.
|
|-----
|Test Flight and Development Centre
|AFB Overberg
AFB Overberg
AFB Overberg is an airbase of the South African Air Force and is the host of the 525 squadron and the Test Flight and Development Centre. It is placed under command of the Air Office in Pretoria, Gauteng....


|1x Agusta 109 LUH, 1x SAAB Gripen D, 1x BAe Hawk, 1x Atlas Oryx (as well as others on temporary detachment from squadrons and manufacturers)
|
|Test flight and evaluation
|
|-----
|SA Air Force College
South African Air Force College
The South African Air Force College is the South African Air Force institution responsible for a wide range of general air force training to both commissioned and non-commissioned officers. For commissioned officers and cadets, the College provides initial commissioned officer training as well as...


|Other locations
|
|
|
|
|-----
|SAAF Museum Historic Flight
|AFB Swartkop
AFB Swartkop
AFB Swartkop is an air force base in South Africa. It is managed as part of AFB Waterkloof and houses one of the three branches of the South African Air Force Museum...


|
|
|
|
|-----
|Joint Air Reconnaissance Intelligence Centre
|AFB Waterkloof
|
|
|Responsible for Air Intelligence and Counter Intelligence training in the SANDF
|
|-----
|101 Squadron
|AFB Hoedspruit
|
|
|Light Transport (Reserve)
|
|-----
|102 Squadron
|AFB Makhado
|
|
|Light Transport (Reserve)
|
|-----
|104 Squadron
|AFB Waterkloof
|
|
|Light Transport (Reserve)
|
|-----
|105 Squadron
|AFB Durban
|
|
|Light Transport (Reserve)
|
|-----
|106 Squadron
|AFB Bloemspruit
|
|
|Light Transport (Reserve)
|
|-----
|107 Squadron
|AFB Bloemspruit
|
|
|Light Transport (Reserve)
|
|-----
|108 Squadron
|AFB Port Elizabeth
|
|
|Light Transport (Reserve)
|
|-----
|110 Squadron
|AFB Ysterplaat
|
|
|Light Transport (Reserve)
|
|-----
|111 Squadron
|AFB Waterkloof
|
|
|Light Transport (Reserve)
|
|-----
|1 Air Servicing Unit
|AFS Thaba Tshwane
|
|
|This unit performs maintenance and support functions
|
|-----
|2 Air Servicing Unit
|AFB Ysterplaat
|
|
|This unit performs maintenance and support functions
|
|-----
|3 Air Servicing Unit
|AFB Makhado
|
|
|This unit performs maintenance and support functions
|
|-----
|4 Air Servicing Unit
|Air Force Mobile Deployment Wing
|
|
|This unit performs maintenance and support functions
|
|-----
|5 Air Servicing Unit
|AFB Waterkloof
|
|
|This unit performs maintenance and support functions
|
|-----
|7 Air Servicing Unit
|AFB Hoedspruit
|
|
|This unit performs maintenance and support functions
|
|-----
|10 Air Depot
|AFS Thaba Tshwane
|
|
|Logistic support services
|
|-----
|68 Air School
|TEK Base
|
|
|This unit is responsible for technical aviation training in the SAAF
|
|-----
|18 Deployment Support Unit
|Air Force Mobile Deployment Wing
|
|
|Air Force Mobile Deployment Wing (Logistic support services)
|
|-----
|92 Tactical Airfield Unit
|Air Force Mobile Deployment Wing
|
|-----
|97 Tactical Airfield Unit
|Air Force Mobile Deployment Wing
|
|
|Air Force Mobile Deployment Wing (Logistic support services)
|
|-----
|140 Squadron
|Air Force Mobile Deployment Wing
|
|
|Air Force Mobile Deployment Wing (Long Range 3D Mobile Radar)
|
|-----
|141 Squadron
|Air Force Mobile Deployment Wing
|
|
|Air Force Mobile Deployment Wing (Tactical Mobile Radar)
|
|-----
|500 Squadron
|Air Force Mobile Deployment Wing
|
|
|Air Force Mobile Deployment Wing (Special Operations Task Force)
|
|-----
|501 Squadron
|Air Force Mobile Deployment Wing
|
|
|Air Force Mobile Deployment Wing (Security services)
|
|-----
|502 Squadron
|TEK Base
|
|
|Security services
|
|-----
|503 Squadron
|Valhalla
|
|
|Security services
|
|-----
|504 Squadron
|AFB Waterkloof
|
|
|Security services
|
|-----
|505 Squadron
|AFB Ysterplaat
|
|
|Security services
|
|-----
|506 Squadron
|AFB Bloemspruit
|
|
|Security services
|
|-----
|508 Squadron
|AFB Durban
|
|
|Security services
|
|-----
|514 Squadron
|AFB Hoedspruit
|
|
|Security services
|
|-----
|515 Squadron
|AFB Makhado
|
|
|Security services
|
|-----
|525 Squadron
|AFB Overberg
AFB Overberg
AFB Overberg is an airbase of the South African Air Force and is the host of the 525 squadron and the Test Flight and Development Centre. It is placed under command of the Air Office in Pretoria, Gauteng....


|
|
|Security services
|
|-----
|526 Squadron
|AFB Langebaanweg
|
|
|Security services
|
|-----
|Air Force Gymnasium
|Valhalla
|
|
|The primary task of the Gymnasium is basic training of all new airforce members
|
|-----
|Bushveld Airspace Control Sector
|Other
|
|
|Training (Air defence)
|
|-----
|Lowveld Airspace Control Sector
|AFB Hoedspruit
|
|
|Training (Air defence)
|
|-----|
|Mobile Communications Unit
|Air Force Mobile Deployment Wing
|
|
|Provide operationally deployable communications for SAAF
|
|-----|
|Rapid Deployment Air Operations Team 43
|Wonderboom
|
|
|Logistic support services
|
|-----|
|Rapid Deployment Air Operations Team 46
|Johannesburg
|
|
|Logistic support services
|
|-----|
|Air Publications Service Centre
|AFS Thaba Tshwane
|
|
|Custodian for the master and key copies of all SAAF documentation and publications in terms of aviation regulations and acts
|
|-----|
|SA Air Force Band
|Valhalla
|
|
|The SAAF Band lends a certain quality and sophistication to SAAF and Defence Force parades, performing as marching band
|
|-----|
|Command and Control School
|AFB Waterkloof
|
|
|Training
|
|-----|
|School of Cookery
|Valhalla
|
|
|The SAAF School of Cookery is the sole training institution for all Chefs and Waiters in the SA Air Force
|
|-----|
|Fire Training School
|Valhalla
|
|
|The SANDF Fire Training School is a provider of Fire Fighting and Rescue training in the SANDF
|
|-----|
|Air Force Command and Control School
|AFB Hoedspruit
|
|
|Provides courses in Command and Control, Airspace Control and Telecommunications
|
|-----|
|Airspace Control Unit
|AFB Swartkop
|
|
|Logistics support services (Air defence)
|
|-----|
|Central Photographic Institute
|AFB Waterkloof
|
|
|Provision of photographic services
|
|-----|
|Combined Auction Centre
|Other
|
|
|Logistic support services
|
|-----|
|Ellisras Reporting Post
|Other
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|
|The Ellisras Reporting Post is a SAAF Early Warning Radar installation
|
|-----|
|SAAF Police
|Other
|
|
|Security services
|
|-----|
|SAAF Telecommunications Centre
|AFB Waterkloof
|
|
|Logistics support services
|
|-----|
|Electronic Warfare Centre
|AFB Waterkloof
|
|
|Logistics support services
|

Reserves


The Air Force Conventional Reserves are a pool of reserve posts created to serve the SAAF and augment regular units as and when needed. All trades in the SAAF are represented in the reserves, e.g. pilots, security squadron personnel etc.
The Air Force Territorial Reserves currently consists of nine squadrons of privately owned aircraft operated by reserve pilots on behalf of the SAAF. These squadrons fulfill a very valuable role in light transport and observation, especially due to low direct operating costs.

Future Programmes



The SAAF is planning to transition to a tactical air force
Air force
An air force, also known in some countries as an air army, is in the broadest sense, the national military organization that primarily conducts aerial warfare. More specifically, it is the branch of a nation's armed services that is responsible for aerial warfare as distinct from an army, navy or...

, fully deployable internationally. This will have to happen within the constraints of a very limited budget.
  • Project Assegaai: Development of a short-range air-to-air missile for the SAAF fighter stream. Being developed as a joint venture with Brazil by Denel Dynamics. Each country is said to have allocated R500 million to the missile development phase. It is not clear how much SA has spent additionally on the project between conceptualisation and 2006 when the JV was announced.

  • Project Continent: Acquisition of between 8-14 Airbus A400M Loadmaster future medium transports. Delivery was due from late 2010, but project now substantially delayed as a result of development problems. Cancellation announced on 5 November 2009.

  • Project Drummer: Midlife upgrade for the remaining Denel Oryx medium helicopters that came into service in 1989. About 38 out of 51 still fly.

  • Project Impose: Design, development and production of Denel CSH2A Rooivalk combat support helicopter and Mokopa heavy antitank guided missile. Development to be completed by 2009 after starting in 1984; R8.1bn spent on programme to 2007. Mokopa: R70m set aside to acquire missiles. R120m spent on development to FY2007, R4.6m to be spent in FY2007/8 and Denel to spend a further R98.25m.

  • Project Muggie: Replacement of a radio-switching network.

  • Project Simunye: "A technology project for defining, testing and evaluating Joint Air Defence Command and Control (C2) systems concepts and related systems architectures".

  • Project Ukhozi: Acquisition of an advanced lightweight fighter aircraft. Twenty-six Saab JAS39 Gripen C/D to be delivered by 2012 at a cost of R20 billion (2007 Treasury figure).

  • Not registered as a project in 2007: Acquisition of a future medium altitude long endurance (MALE) UAV. Still under consideration by SAAF not yet registered as a Required Operational Capability.

  • Not registered as a project in 2007: Acquisition of a future maritime patrol aircraft. Still under consideration by SAAF not yet registered as a Required Operational Capability.

  • Not known: Avionics upgrade for the Pilatus PC7 MkII (M) ab initio trainer. Thirty-five aircraft to be upgraded at a budgeted cost of R400 million.

  • Not known: "Pavement management system" (runway upgrades, six sub-projects).

  • Not known: Reported military space satellite programme.

South African Air Force Memorial



The South African Air Force Memorial is located at Swartkop outside Pretoria
Pretoria
Pretoria is a city located in the northern part of Gauteng Province, South Africa. It is one of the country's three capital cities, serving as the executive and de facto national capital; the others are Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Bloemfontein, the judicial capital.Pretoria is...

. It contains an honour roll of SAAF personnel who have been killed on duty.

In addition to the main memorial site, there are also a number of smaller memorials.
  • A memorial to the 389 Royal Air Force
    Royal Air Force
    The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

     pilots who have died in South Africa during the Joint Air Training Scheme between 1939 and 1945
  • An olive tree planted by the South African Korean War
    Korean War
    The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

     veterans in memory of the comrades they lost during that conflict.

See also


External links