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CAASA Aviation Activity Index (CAAI) – 4th Quarter Embargo: 21 February 2020

CAASA Aviation Activity Index (CAAI) – 4th Quarter
Embargo: 21 February 2020 (10:00)
Introduction


The Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa (CAASA) is proud to announce the results of its composite index of aviation activity for the 4th quarter of 2019.


The CAASA Aviation Activity Index (CAAI) is based on 26 different indicators and
provides an objective & balanced gauge of economic activity in the commercial aviation industry. Due to the short-term volatility inherent in purchasing and selling aircraft, where
units are small, but the currency values are very high, the CAAI includes a trend that is based on a 4-quarter moving average, as illustrated by the graph.


Summary of key trends depicted by the CAAI for the 4th quarter of 2019:

  1. The index value increased substantially from the 3rd quarter to reach a level of
    130.7, which represents a 31% increase in commercial aviation activity since the
    base period (1st quarter of 2014). This is, however, considerably lower than the
    all-time record that was attained in the 4th quarter of 2018, namely 204. One of
    the reasons for the sound recovery of both the index value and the trend is
    related to the highly successful 2018 Africa Aerospace & Defence (AAD)
    exhibition, which was the first AAD since the election of a new executive
    administration in South Africa, which is committed to pragmatic policies to
    encourage economic growth, whilst also combating the scourge of corruption.

An encouraging feature of the latest CAAI results is the fact that, after adjustment
for inflationary effects, the commercial aviation industry has outperformed the
South African economy over the past six years.

  1. It is also apparent that the slump in aviation activity that lasted for eleven
    quarters (until the 3rd quarter of 2018) has been reversed. Aviation remains a
    highly capital intensive sector and it has been under some strain as a result of
    policy uncertainty, low levels of business confidence, lethargic economic growth
    and high interest rates.
  2. Unfortunately, the recovery in the trend of activity since the 3rd quarter of 2018
    has been accompanied by a higher level of volatility, with only ten of the 26
    different indicators recording gains over the 4th quarter of 2014.
  3. A particular point of concern is the poor performance of air traffic movements
    (ATMs) at most of the airports managed by the Airports Company of South Africa
    (ACSA). All nine of these airports recorded lower ATMs in the 4th quarter of 2019,
    compared to the 4th quarter of 2016.
  4. In contrast, the six non-ACSA airports included in the CAAI, recorded consistent
    growth in ATMs until the first quarter of 2019, but a noticeable slump has since
    set in. It is quite clear that the stringent visa regulations that were introduced in
    2015 by the Department of Home Affairs under then Minister Malusi Gigaba have
    taken their toll on both the South African tourism industry and the commercial
    aviation industry.
  5. In the 4th quarter of 2019, the value of aircraft spares imports reached its second
    highest level on record, namely more than R1.1 billion.

Total aircraft imports (unladen mass of under 15 tonnes) amounted to R487
million in the 4th quarter, slightly lower than the export figure of R554 million.

Armed Forces Day Polokwane 2020 Parade

After a quick 20 minute flight form Airforce Base Waterkloof in Pretoria in one of South African Airways Airbus A340-300 aircraft , I’m sure the local plane spotters don’t see a Airbus A340 land at Polokwane Gateway International Airport everyday, I think that was a treat for them to see us land both on the 18th February and 21 February.

Airbus A340-313

After arriving we arrived near the podium for the parade and flypasts with formations of different aircraft from the South African Airforce, the flag flypasts was up first with an Agusta A109LUH, 22 Squadron Lynx and a Oryx helicopter.

The chopper formation was then next to open the mass flypasts columns, that formation consisted of four Agusta A109s, 3 Oryx Helicopters from various squadrons from around South Africa, a single Lynx Maritime helicopter and a Rooivalk keeping a safe look on the formations six o clock position!

Next was the transport formation made up of a 44 Squadron Casa 212, two aircraft form 41 Squadron that being a Cessna 208A Caravan and a KingAir 200.Jumbo formation was up next with a 28 Squadron C130BZ leading the Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team from the Central Flying School from Airforce Base Langabaanweg along the Western Cape West coast led by Major Sivu Tangana.

41 Squadron KingAir 200 & Cessna C208 Caravan and lastly a 44 Squadron Casa 212
28 Squadron C130BZ & Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team

The much awaited fighter formations were followed by the lead in Fighter trainer of the South African Airforce of 85 Combat Flying School with five Hawk MK120s. The flying cheetahs better known as 2 Squadron was then followed by five JAS39s Gripens.

2 Squadron Gripens

After the flypasts moved off Major Geoffrey “Spartan” Cooper provided a solo display with a JAS39C Gripen, tearing up the Polokwane skies with the epic roar of the sound of freedom as our Commander in chief witnessed one of the best Gripen displays one can see on the South African Airshow circuit.

Gripen solo display

The formation of four Hawk Mk120s then ended the flying proceedings of the day with a formation break overhead the podium.The parade continued with mechnised coloums, and all other forms of arms on parade!

All images without watermarks are courtesy of the SANDF. We would like to thanks General Fabian Msimang for waiting with us media and invited guests on Friday 21 February until our other SAA aircraft arrived after a snag on the A340 that we flew to Polokwane in broke down. Your company was highly appreciated Sir!

Address by Commander-In-Chief, President Cyril Ramaphosa on the occasion of Armed Forces Day, Polokwane, Limpopo

Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula,
Premier of Limpopo Province, Mr Stanley Mathabatha,
Ministers of Defence from fraternal countries,
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
MECs,
Mayor of Polokwane and Councillors,
Secretary for Defence, Dr Sam Gulube,
Chief of the South African National Defence Force, General Solly Shoke,
Members of the Military Command Council, 
Generals, Admirals, Officers and Officials,
Non-Commissioned Officers,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Soldiers on Parade,
Military Veterans,
Distinguished Guests,

Fellow South Africans,

As the Commander-in-Chief of the South African National Defence Force, it is my privilege to be here today to honour our women and men in uniform.

Armed Forces Day is commemorated annually to pay tribute to the soldiers who perished in the English Channel in 1917 on board the SS Mendi during the First World War.

We honour the women and men who protect our borders, and those who have gone before who made the ultimate sacrifice in defence of our nation. 

We are proud of the progress we have made in ensuring that from the disparate apartheid-era armed forces a single, united, uniquely South African National Defence Force has emerged.

The SANDF is an enduring symbol of our rainbow nation, and includes in its ranks black and white, men and women.

Through loyalty and discipline, in defending our territorial integrity and sovereignty, though your involvement in conflict resolution and peacemaking efforts on the continent, and through your heroic roles during natural disasters both at home and in our neighboring countries, the SANDF indeed makes us proud to be South African.

Only ten days ago, we commemorated the 30th anniversary of the release of the SANDF’s first Commander-in-Chief, President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. 

We should not forget that historic day, which dramatically changed our country’s political trajectory and led to the peaceful transition to democracy and which brought the SANDF into existence.

We mark Armed Forces Day this year at a time when South Africa has assumed the chairship of the African Union for 2020. 

This is a great responsibility to lead our continent towards the peace, unity and prosperity envisaged many years ago by our forebears like Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Patrice Lumumba, Albert Luthuli, Oliver Tambo, Thomas Sankara and Kenneth Kaunda.

In May this year, South Africa will host the Extra-Ordinary Summit of the AU on ‘Silencing the Guns’, one of the pillars of the AU’s Agenda 2063.

This Summit will provide an opportunity to assess the implementation of the AU Master Roadmap, and at the same time respond to emerging developments on the African peace and security landscape. 

As a continent, we have set milestones towards the attainment of a better and safer continent for all Africans, but our progress remains mixed.

Conflict continues in several African countries, undermining our collective efforts to achieve peace and security.

South Africa looks to the SANDF to assist us to meet our obligations with regards to supporting continental peace and security.

On this 2020 Armed Forces Day, we remember all the heroes and heroines in the SANDF who serve us without any expectation of reward, and who put their lives on the line to serve their country and their continent. 

In our quest to Silence the Guns, we acknowledge the enduring challenges of armed conflict in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, in North Africa, in the Sahel, in the Horn of Africa and in the Great Lakes region.

We count on the SANDF as an organ mandated by the AU and the UN respectively to discharge the important responsibility of promoting peace.

I commend our soldiers for staying true to this cause despite the many challenges they face. 

On this Armed Forces Day, we show appreciation for the service rendered by our soldiers, who despite limited numbers, ensure that the 4,800 kilometres of our vast border is patrolled. 

The companies deployed along the South Africa border with Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique continue to make great strides in curtailing illegal actions in their areas of responsibility. 

These men and women do remarkable work in safeguarding our borders and in assisting the South African Police Service with crime prevention. 

We commend them, knowing that the vast stretch of our border requires far more resources on the ground.

As a nation, we owe a great debt of appreciation to our National Defence Force for being not just a fighting force, but a developmental force.

Across our country, we have seen the SANDF render essential services through the deployment of health professionals at public health facilities that are in crisis.

We have seen our men and women in uniform repair sewage infrastructure along the Vaal River and in the North West.

Our forces have built bridges in rural areas to give isolated communities access to places and services they would not be able to reach otherwise.

And our forces are active in fire-fighting as well as mountain and maritime search-and-rescue operations.

In undertaking these diverse programmes, the South African National Defence Force draws on the talents and energy of young South Africans.

The Military Skills Development System is an important front in our nation’s battle against youth unemployment.

I am therefore pleased that the programme for the 2020 Armed Forces Day included a military careers showcase.

I hope that young people who wish to develop themselves and grow South Africa will embrace these opportunities through which they will make an important contribution to the security and sustainability of our nation.

We recognise that we have come a long way in the past 25 years. 

We have to continue growing our defence industry, especially as it makes a significant contribution in the country’s economy. 

To strengthen the relationship between the defence industry and the armed forces, we have launched the National Defence Industry Council. 

This development aims to support the defence industry with export opportunities while also meeting the SANDF’s material needs. 

We have also launched the Defence Industry Fund, with the objective of growing the local defence industry and servicing the SANDF and external clients. 

We are starting to see the fruits of this intervention in our military. 

Our Armaments Corporation, Armscor, is also integrally involved in these processes and continues to provide major acquisition and project management capabilities. 

South Africans should be proud that their military is providing opportunities to small businesses and contributing to the stimulation of local economies where bases are situated. 

This we have done through Project Koba-Tlala. 

To this effect, the SANDF has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Small Business Development to raise the department’s spend on small and medium enterprises from 30% to 50%, and create a lifeline for start-ups and budding entrepreneurs. 

I challenge you to ensure that women-owned businesses access a significant chunk of this procurement in line with the call by the AU for the allocation of at least 25% of public procurement to women-owned businesses, instead of the current 1%. 

Compatriots,

I want to commend Minister Mapisa-Nqakula for establishing the Ministerial Task Team against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in the military. 

The Task Team is currently hard at work to rid our military of incidents of sexual exploitation and abuse, which go against the grain of our military ethos and character, and which violate the very principles on which our democracy is founded. 

These are steps in the right direction to address the disgraceful behaviour of a few men and which will give weight to our efforts to end violence against women on our continent.

During our tenure as African Union chair, we will make the adoption of the AU Convention on Violence Against Women a priority, and urge member states to ratify international protocols that outlaw gender discrimination. 

The global climate crisis threatens our continent more than most, contributing to resource scarcity and instability.

It has the potential to aggravate security issues. 

As Chair of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change, I will ensure that South Africa prioritises mitigation, adaptation and support. 

As Commander-in-Chief, I will keenly follow the initiative that the Defence Minister took with the campaign to ‘Plant Trees Not Bombs’ in Durban in November 2019. 

The UN Under-Secretary-General, Fabrizio Drummond, was also part of this initiative and urged UN members to plant 75 million trees as part of mitigating climate change, also in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the UN. 

I urge the SANDF to expand this initiative in partnership with other government entities.

As I conclude, I wish to pay tribute to one of our own, the late Chief of the South African Army, Lt-Gen Thabiso Mokhosi, who we laid to rest in December 2019. 

He would have been with us today. 

In his memory, let us continue serving this country loyally, and redouble our efforts to ensure that South Africans feel safe and remain safe.

I thank you.

Armed Forces Day 2020 Capability Demonstration |Night Shoot- Roodewal Bombing Range

The most anticipated event of the Armed Forces Week taking place in Polokwane had to be the capability demonstration at the Roodewal Bombing Range a few kilometres outside the Limpopo capital Polokwane.

Guests were flown up to Polokwane by a charted aircraft,where they were then bused to the bombing range,to witness some of the different assets the South African National Defence Forces Firepower!

The display of arms started with various vehicles showing their fire power, that being the Ratel 90,Olifant MK2 battle tanks are just to name a few.Pathfinders were then dropped into the battle zone as that was the beginning of the mechanised attack from different mechanised armored vehicles, air assets and other ground forces.

Ratel 90
Olifant mk2

The South African Airforce are big favourites at Roodewal as this is the home to 2 Squadron and 85 Combat Flying School as their weapons training grounds. An Oryx Helicopter simulated a fire fighting task, with a Bambi bucket equipped underneath the helicopter.

Oryx Helicopter

The fighters assets provided a recce run, with a single gripen and hawk. A 2v1 combat routine was then shown by two friendly JAS39C Gripens and a enemy Hawk Mk120.

Hawk & Gripen Formation
2 Squadron JAS39C Gripen

Trooping was tasked to a pair of Oryx helicopters with fast ropping, followed by two Agusta A109 helicopters providing a mock hoisting operation from a downed pilot scenario.

Agusta A109LUH

From the transport line including 44 Squadron with a single Casa 212 simulated a tactical cargo supply drop. A 41 Squadron Cessna 208A Caravan was the eye in the sky providing top cover footage to both the spectators and playing a vital role during the entire period of the demonstration with aerial visuals to the coordinators of the simulated battle zone.

44 Squadron Casa 212
41 Squadron Cessna 208A Caravan

The invited guests were treated to see 2 different 16 Squadron Rooivalks in camo and in white, the proudly south African made helicopter provided both cannon and rocket fire gun runs during the demo.

16 Squadron Rooivalk rocket strike!
16 Squadron Rooivalk

Bombing runs were then up next ,with Hawks and Gripens and then followed by a 30mm Aden cannon strike from four Hawks on Charlie Coke known to the pilots as the famous weapons strike zone!

Hawk Bomb Run
The Aftermath
Hawk 30mm Cannon

The night shoot was made up of all arms of ground forces fire power at Roodewal,as well as a cannon and rocket strike from a Rooivalk Helicopter. A single gripen flew directly over the crowd with full afterburner as it reached for the Limpopo night skies filled with dropping flares,a oryx helicopter following next with a flare drop to close off this years Armed Forces Day Capability demonstration.

Oryx Helicopter Flares

A very big well done to all members of the South African National Defence Force that made the event possible and abling the media to attend these exciting demo’s!

Next Lowveld Airshow only in 2021

MEDIA RELEASE

19 February 2020

Lowveld Air Show postponed to 2021

Dear Media Partner

On Wednesday, 12 February 2020, the Lowveld Air Show committee reached a decision to postpone the 2020 Lowveld Air Show during a special meeting that was held.

Since the 2017 air show, the committee has considered the option of only hosting an air show once every two years. We played with the idea, but continued hosting it each year due to public demand. “The 2019 air show was one of our biggest and most successful air shows ever hosted. The new approach of a shorter air show and other factors that contributed to it being such a great success, made this an incredibly hard decision to make,” Johan Heine, Chairperson of the Lowveld Air Show committee stated. “We understand most of our valued partners, each year, look forward to form part of this very popular Lowveld family event.

However, the economic downturn, financial pressure, and the significant escalation of air show costs, the wise decision was put into effect now, to only host an air show every two years, starting 2021,” Johan continued.

By hosting it bi-annually, it will allow all our partners the opportunity for long term budget planning and possibly bigger and more sponsorships which will enable us to always present an air show on the highest standards everyone has become accustomed to. Johan said they invite all interested corporates and business owners who would like to get involved in the second biggest event hosted in the Lowveld, to contact them, as planning is already underway for next year.

“We would like to make use of this opportunity to thank all our loyal supporters which include sponsors, participants, exhibitors, and most importantly the public who come to enjoy this massive family event every year. We truly value you.”

It will always stay our main priority to bring the world of aviation to the Lowveld community in conjunction with our main aviation partner, Kishugu. Their main purpose is to expose the public and our youth to the many careers in the aviation industry.

We are certainly committed and excited to get planning underway for a bigger and better Lowveld Air Show 2021.

See you next year!

For more information contact: Naranda Leeuwner

Marketing and Media Liaison 072 447 5968

END/

Photos from the 2019 Airshow

 

Most Powerful Rolls-Royce Business Aviation Engine’s Takes To The Skies For The First Time

Two Rolls-Royce Pearl 700 engines have successfully powered the brand new Gulfstream G700 to the skies for the first time. The purpose-designed engine, the most powerful in the Rolls-Royce business jet propulsion portfolio, is the exclusive powerplant for Gulfstream’s flagship aircraft, the world’s most spacious business jet. 

The Gulfstream G700, which used a 30/70 blend of sustainable aviation fuel for this first flight, took off from Gulfstream’s headquarters in Savannah, Georgia, USA, at 1:19 p.m. local time and landed 2 hours and 32 minutes later. The aircraft and its engines will now undergo an intensive flight test programme ahead of certification. 

Dr. Dirk Geisinger, Director – Business Aviation, Rolls-Royce, said: “This is a truly great moment for all of us and we are very proud. The cutting-edge Pearl 700 is a perfect fit for the Gulfstream G700 and will help the aircraft deliver an unrivalled combination of ultralong-range, speed and performance. We have already achieved more than 1,500 testing hours and 5,000 cycles, and we are fully committed to supporting the G700 flight test programme.”

With more than 3,200 business jets in service today powered by Rolls-Royce engines, the company is the world’s leading engine supplier in this market. The Pearl 700 is the newest member of the state-of-the-art Pearl engine family, first introduced in 2018, and marks the seventh new civil aerospace engine introduced by Rolls-Royce over the past decade. Gulfstream’s selection of the Pearl 700 to power its new flagship aircraft reaffirms Rolls-Royce’s position as the leading business aviation engine manufacturer. The engine was developed at the Rolls-Royce Centre of Excellence for Business Aviation Engines in Dahlewitz, Germany.

The Pearl 700 combines the Advance2 engine core, the most efficient core available across the business aviation sector, with a brand-new low-pressure system, resulting in an 8 per cent increase in take-off thrust at 18,250lb compared to the BR725 engine. The engine offers a 12 per cent better thrust-to-weight ratio and 5 per cent higher efficiency, while maintaining its class-leading low noise and emissions performance. The result is an engine that is highly efficient, but also able to propel the aircraft nearly as fast as the speed of sound (Mach 0.925).

It brings together innovative technologies derived from the Rolls-Royce Advance2 technology demonstrator programmes with proven features from the Rolls-Royce BR700, today’s leading engine family in business aviation. This includes a highly-efficient 51.8” blisked fan, a high pressure compressor with a market-leading pressure ratio of 24:1 and six blisked stages, an ultra-low emissions combustor, a two-stage shroud-less high pressure turbine and an enhanced four -stage low pressure turbine, that is one of the most efficient and compact in the industry.

The Pearl engine family is part of the Rolls-Royce IntelligentEngine vision of a future where product and service become indistinguishable thanks to advancements in digital capability. As well as a new-generation Engine Health Monitoring System that introduces advanced vibration detection, the family benefits from the incorporation of advanced remote engine diagnostics. It is also enabled for bi-directional communications, allowing for easy remote reconfiguration of engine-monitoring features from the ground. Cloud-based analytics, smart algorithms and Artificial Intelligence continue to play an increasing role in delivering exceptional levels of availability and greater peace of mind for our customers.

22 Squadron to the Rescue-Toitskloof Western cape

Big wall rescue for Base Jumper this past weekend in the Cape. Rescue 37 of 2020 for the Western Cape teams.

Picture by Brett Jennings/MCSA

A foreigner was critically injured after striking a cliff while BASE jumping in Du Toitskloof near Cape Town.

Picture-MCSA

A small WSAR team of 3 (2 medics and a climber) were deployed with the AMS (Western Cape Government Department of Heath) helicopter just before dark on the 14th. They abseiled 170m to the patient, where a Metro ALS Paramedic stabilised the patient overnight on the cliff face.

Picture by MCSA

At first light on the 15th 21 members of MCSA Mountain Rescue team assembled as part of a greater WSAR team.

A South African Air Force (SAAF) Oryx helicopter from 22 Squadron Airforce Base Ysterplaat inserted a MCSA Technical Rescue Climbing team, who assisted in retrieving the patient, the gear as well as the rest of the team on the cliff face.

After extraction the patient was treated at the landing Zone by doctors and paramedics then flown by AMS Air Ambulance Agusta A119 to Cape Town for further urgent treatment.

On behalf of the MCSA and patient we would like to extend our gratitude to the South African Airforce!

22 Squadron Oryx Helicopter

We wish the patient a speedy recovery.Thank you to the MCSA for the upbove detailed wording on the weekends rescue operation!

Virgin Atlantic -to start daily flight service to Cape Town in October 2020

Winter sunseekers can head down to South Africa on our new daily service flying from London Heathrow on a 787-9 aircraft.

The new service launches on 25th October and will complement our existing daily A350 service between London Heathrow and Johannesburg. The VS478 will operate as a night flight departing Heathrow at 16:20 arriving into Cape Town at 05:55 whereas the inbound, the VS479, will depart at 08:00 landing later that day at 18:00. Return Economy fares start from £713 per person.

“2020 is an extremely exciting year of continued growth for Virgin Atlantic,” said our chief commercial officer Juha Jarvinen.

“We’re delighted to be flying to Cape Town again, and we’re expecting a high proportion of leisure travellers on this route, taking advantage of the winter sun, the safaris and of course, the world-famous wine region.”

You can book your place on our service from 18th February 2020, which gives you plenty of time to start planning your next trip.

If you need some inspiration, we’ve rounded up our favourite reasons to visit the Mother City, from the world renowned wine farms of the Constantia region to the challenge of hiking up Table Mountain. We’re already counting down the days.

Cape Town, South Africa

We look forward to seeing one of Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787s and Airbus A350 airliners touching down at Cape Town International Airport in October!

2 Squadron Gripens to open SONA 2020

The sharp end of the South African Airforce 2 Squadron flying the SAAB JAS39 C and D variants of the Gripen will be opening the State of the Nation Address by the commanding chief South African president Cyril Ramaposa.

Proceedings are set to take place at 19H00 on the evening of 13 February at Palamentary House in Cape Town this coming Thursday.

The Parliament of South Africa is South Africa’s legislature; under the present Constitution of South Africa, the bicameral Parliament comprises a National Assembly and a National Council of Provinces. The current twenty-seventh Parliament was first convened on 22 May 2019

2 Squadron is based at Airforce Base Makhado in the Northern Limpopo Province and led by Officer Commanding of 2 Squadron Lieutenant Colonel Josias “Boerboel” Mashaba.

In previous SONAs the SAAF have played a mighty role in top cover close air support, air policing and flypasts by both Gripen and the Silver Falcons.

First Rooivalk Flight 11th February 1990-30 Years On!

The Denel Rooivalk is an attack helicopter manufactured by Denel Aviation of South Africa. Rooivalk is Afrikaans for “Red Falcon”

16 Squadron Rooivalk SAAF Museum Flying Day 1 February 2020

The Rooivalk attack helicopter First Flight Rooivalk XDM was 30 years ago on the 11th February 1990,back in the days of the then Atlas Aircraft Coporation now known today as Denel Aeronautics.

Fitting the gearboxes to the Rooivalk XDM

Development of the type began in 1984 by Atlas Aircraft Coporation its development is closely connected to the Denel Oryx medium transport helicopter, both aircraft being based on the Aerospatiale SA330 Puma Helicopter and having started development at the same time on both projects.

Denel Oryx

Development of the Rooivalk was protracted due to the impact of limited budgets during the 1990s, and a desire to produce a highly advanced attack helicopter.

Being towed out for the first test flight from the Atlas Aircraft Coporation

Developing an entirely new helicopter from scratch would have involved designing and developing many accompanying subsystems and components, such as the turboshaft engines and the dynamic systems, such as the main and tail rotor systems and the gearboxes.

Rooivalk XDM during a test flight

Due to the great difficulty posed by the prospects of designing and manufacturing a clean-design helicopter, which would have substantially increased the cost and timescale of the project, it was decided to base the attack helicopter upon an existing design. At the time, the SAAF operated two principal helicopter types – the Alouette III and the SA330 Puma.

SAAF Museum SA330 Puma & Alouette III

 The Alouette III was a small helicopter which originated from the 1960s; due to the age of the design and a lack of engine power, it was not considered a favourable candidate for further development work.

The Puma was substantially larger and was equipped with more powerful engines; both factors provided a broader basis for the accommodation of additional equipment and for potential growth.

Another key factor for its selection was the parallel development of a localised and improvement model of the Puma in South Africa, known as the Atlas AS32 Oryx. The Oryx possessed an increased power-to-weight ratio and had improved performance in the high temperature climate that the type was typically being operated in; development of the Oryx was far quicker than what would become the Rooivalk as it was a more straightforward program.

 Other potential sources were mooted, such as the use of propulsion elements of the Aerospatiale Daulphin ; the adoption of these components has been speculated to have likely resulted in a smaller and potentially more economic rotorcraft.

Ultimately, it was decided to adopt both the powerplant and dynamic systems of the Oryx—which bore significant similarities to their Puma and now Airbus Helicopters AS332 Super Puma ancestors—as the basis for the planned attack helicopter;

Commonality with the Oryx systems would simplify logistics and reduce maintenance costs. This meant that the attack helicopter would have a significantly large airframe, giving it long range and the capability to carry many sensors and armaments.

During the 1980s, the defence budgets of South Africa were relatively generous, especially in contrast to later decades, thus Denel sought to provide a rotorcraft that would be amongst, even potentially superior to, the best attack helicopters in the world.

The helicopter, later named the Rooivalk, was envisioned as an agile, highly sophisticated gunship, especially suited to the threats of the Angolan conflict and countering vehicles such as the T-55 battle tank.

Rooivalk on display in Farnbrough International Airshow, United Kingdom

Three Rooivalk attack helicopters have been deployed with the United Nations to support of the stabilization in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2013.

16 Squadron Rooivalk & SAAF Museum Alouette II

There has been more occasions where the Rooivalks have seen action with the support of fire power in the DRC on a number of peace support missions since 2013.

UN painted Rooivalk AFD2019 Cape Town

The Rooivalk attack helicopter is based at Airforce Base Bloemspruit in the Central Free state province, flying for 16 Squadron, also home to 87 Helicopter Flying School, flying Agusta A109LUH and Oryx helicopters. The South African Airforce have just under a dozen on strength flying to date.

General Fabian “Zakes” Msimang stated:”The continued operation and future sustainability of the hardest working air assets of the SAAF being the Oryx, Rooivalk and C130, rely on an efficient and effective Original Equipment Manufacturer and Technical Design Authority of the Rotary Wing assets” during the recent Prestige day parade held at AFB Swartkop on January 31.

16 Squadron Rooivalk AAD2018
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