Tag Archives: SAAF2020

2 Squadron Gains Two New Gripen Pilots

Air force Base Makhado situated in the shadows of the Soutpansberg mountain range,is home to fighter town South Africa.Where the South African Airforces elite fighter squadrons are based,85 Combat Flying School flying the lead in fighter trainer the Hawk MK120.2 Squadron which is the sharp end of the SAAF,flying the smart fighter,The JAS39 Gripen!

Early May 2020 saw two new Gripen pilots going solo,Major Jabulani “Cyrax” Mabona and Captain Klyde “Ronin” Ross Naidoo. Their story below will show the hard work one has to take to get to Gripen and living the fast jet life dream.

Jabulani “Cyrax” Mabona

Major Jabulani Mabona was born in a township called Mamelodi West, Pretoria East. He attended Primary school at Ndima PrimarySchool (year) and matriculated at Vukani Mawethu Secondary School in 2004.
Major Mabona became interested in being a pilot when he was 9 years old. “There was no other career that I considered pursuing apart from becoming a pilot, specifically a fighter pilot.” He started applying when he was doing grade 11 and only got an acceptance letter to do the selection process in 2006.

The selection process included psychometric tests, psychomotor tests, flight medicals followed by interviews. His military career began when he was accepted to commence his Basic Military training in January 2007 and right after a successful completion commenced with Officers Forming Course in July the same year.

In 2008 he enrolled at the SA Military Academy in Saldanha, he spent a year studying Technology and Defence Mangement, which included modules in Mathematics, Physics, Statistics, English, Management, Aerodynamics and Economics. In 2009 January he had to go through Land and Sea Survival Training followed by Ground School Training for flying. In 2010 he started with his basic Ab initio Training in Cessna 172, followed by Astra stationed at AFB Langebaanweg. He was then selected to complete his pilot training in the United States of America where he flew the Texan T6 and qualified as a military pilot giving him the opportunity to be selected to fly Jets.

Jabulani was trained by former United States Air force F16 Viper Demonstration pilot Captain John “Rain” Waters.

Babcock Flight School Cessna C172
Babcock Flight School Cessna C172
Central Flying School Pilatus PC7MKII
Central Flying School Pilatus PC7MKII
US Airforce T6 Texan II
US Airforce T6 Texan II
Former United States Airforce F16 Viper display Demo Pilot Captain
John “Rain” Waters who was Major Mabona’s Instructor!
United States Airforce F16 Viper

In 2012 he went back to Military Academy to complete his degree in Defence and Technology Management which he successfully completed in 2015. In 2016 he was transferred to 85 Combat Flying School where he began to train as a fighter pilot in Hawk MK120 and a year later successfully completed the course. He served as a Flight Commander and was selected to do Flight Leaders Course which he completed in December 2019. He was then transferred to 2 Squadron in January 2020 where he began Operational Conversion Course in the SAAB JAS 39 where he currently serves as a Survival officer”.

Jabulani Flying the Hawk MK120 during a capability demo at the 2017 Rand Easter Show,Nasrec Johannesburg.
“Seraph” & “Cyrax” airborne out of AFB Swartkop during the 2018 SAAF Museum Airshow!
Lieutenant Colonel Craig “Shark” Leeson & Jabulani “Cyrax” Mabona during the 2018 SAAF Museum Airshow.

The challenges he encountered were being far from his family and being able to successfully complete each and every phase towards achieving his goal.He has served in the South African Air Force for 13 years has never looked back. While he was stationed at 85 Combat Flying School had the opportunity to serve as a Survival Officer and a Flight Commander.
He says; “my solo flight in a Gripen was such an astounding feeling, a feeling out of this world, especially the supersonic part of the flight.”

SAAB JAS39C Gripen
Gripen Solo Flight
Jabulani after his Gripen solo with Lieutenant Colonel Jaco “Weasel” Labuschagne

Major Mabona is 32 years old and married to Nomsa and together they have a beautiful daughter Njabulo. He says flying high speed jets is such an honor and comes with lots of responsibilities because you fly with live weapons onboard and also fly in close proximity with other jets. He says his family always supported him and they are the ones that are always boosting his confidence level when it comes to his career.
To further on his career, the next step will be Instructor’s Course so that he can also give back to the young men and women which are aspiring to become fighter pilots.

Fighter Formation over AFB Swartkop during the 2019 SAAF Museum Airshow.

Lastly he says “all the instructors that were part of my development for me to become a fighter pilot are my mentors. Before every flight, preparation is key, you go through your procedures, you play the scenarios in your head and most importantly you prepare for all the possible emergencies that you might experience.

Klyde “Ronin” Ross Naidoo

Captain Klyde Ross Naidoo approaches with a plan of crafting an aviation legacy that the South African Air Force (SAAF) and this country can be proud of. When asked to introduce himself Captain Naidoo call sign Ronin said “Born: 17/06/1992 at Westville hospital, residing in Reservoir Hills initially, turn 5 and started school at Resmount Primary School.

We moved to Pinetown and I moved to Atholl Heights Primary School for grade 1 and 2, my dad then moved to Johannesburg for work and we followed, staying in Centurion and completing primary school in Laerskool Uitsig, moved to Hoerskool Uitsig followed by Pro Arte Alphen Park and finally completing my high school career at Reservoir Hills Secondary School in 2009.

In my childhood we spent a lot of time moving to new places and schools due to my dad’s, Kuban Naidoo, work in telecommunications. My mum, Ron Naidoo, is now a retired hairdresser and in my unbiased opinion is the best hairdresser in the world. I have two older sisters, Kelly and Robyn, who are great support, throughout my childhood and adult life, although the role of my super fan falls to my mum.

Growing up I spent a lot of time playing sports for schools, such as swimming, played competitively in rugby, cricket and softball. Presently I spend a lot of time at the gym and try to keep fit by running. The scariest thing I’ve done was the big swing at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, I consider bungee jumping from Bloukrans Bridge in Tsitsikama rainforest to have been easier. The most exciting thing I’ve done professionally thus far is when I took up a Gripen solo and broke the sound barrier sending down a bone rattling sonic boom over my awaiting wife.”

From an avid nomadic, together with his family, his military career is a gift that he does not take for granted. “At the end of my schooling career I sought out bursaries in order to study further in the fields of engineering or medicine as well as applying for pilot training in the SAAF. In 2010 upon receiving the call for pilots’ selections in the SAAF I had declined the bursaries I was offered for the other fields of studies, not realising that it was just a selection week and not actually accepted.

The SAAF selection is a four tier selection process, each eliminating potential candidates as you progress through. The first part is the paper selection, wherein you either download the form from the internet, or cut it out the newspaper it appears in early every year. Submitting the required information in the leaflet with all matric/ grade 11 results all the applications go to SAAF HQ and are scrutinized to select the best candidates for the job, once that process is completed, the successful candidates are contacted by to make arrangements to attend a week long selection camp.
At the second-tier process, all members are split into groups and go through a process of psychometric and psychomotor testing.
In the third process, a full flight medical examination is required.
The final step is a panel interview in front of high-ranking specialists at the SAAF HQ.

Although a long process, it is to allow only the best candidates to make it through to the training, from initial paper selection of thousands to only about 20 people being selected and finally only 9 qualifying from pilots’ wings course.” He said.

In January 2011, his humble beginnings in the ranks and military industry proved, thus far to be a firm foundation for the amazing military aviation. “I was called up for Basic Military Training at the SAAF Gym in Hoedspruit. It was a gruelling 6 months – taking a civilian and making a soldier. In June 2011, I started officers forming course at the SAAF College in Pretoria, this involved 6 months of cramming policy and standards expected from an Officer and a gentleman.

SAAF Gymnasium

In 2012, I enrolled at the Military Academy in Saldanha. I spent a year studying Technology and Defence Management, which include modules in Mathematics, Physics, Statistics, English, Management, Aerodynamics and Economics, achieving a certificate of higher education.
Before advancing to Langebaanweg for further training, two weeks of gruelling basic survival training was required, this included sea survival, coastal survival and land survival. The most daunting part of the experience involved the escape and evasion component of land survival training.

In 2013, I started ground school at Langebaanweg and later that year began flying the SAAF PC7 MK2, well known for being the aircraft flown by the Aerobatic Display Team of the SAAF, The Silver Falcons. The course consisted of ground school theoretical training in the following fields:

Pilatus PC7MKII

Aerodynamics (including high speed, rotary wing and multi engine aerodynamics)

Aviation law

Medicine

Aircraft technical

General aspects related to flying and aviation.

The flying training consisted of basic general flying, basic instrument flying, advanced general flying, advanced instrument flying, navigation, close formation and a “Wings Phase” which incorporated aspects from all the preceding ones.

Central Flying School Pilatus PC7MKII

Once all phases were over and all test results were tallied up another selection board is held to stream pilots into one of the three lines in the air force: Maritime and Transport, Helicopter systems or Combat Systems. The directors of the three lines would there decide on the path that each pilot would then follow, taking into consideration the members preference, but ultimately selecting you on your course performance, attitude and perceived potential. I graduated as a pilot in the Air Force in December 2014 and was streamed to the fighter line.” He opined.

While expanding on his career path, formal education was still his goal. He relates that he has a massive respect for education as the SAAF does, and through education and the SAAF he has had fun serving with the most brilliant of minds and continually travels the world. “In 2015, and early 2016, I continued studies toward my degree at the military academy and flying at Langebaanweg whilst waiting to be transferred to 85 Combat Flying School at Air Force Base Makhado.

I, together with 3 other members, moved to Makhado in April 2016 to begin training to become fighter pilots. Which upon arrival was met by another week of survival training exercise in Port Saint Johns, after which we have yearly survival training due to the nature of our job.

Our fighter training was done on the BAE Systems Hawk LIFT Mk120 and the courses consisted of Hawk Conversion Course, a condensed version of what I had done on the PC7 MK2, followed by Operational Training Course. With the ability to fly the aircrafts, we were taught how to use it as a weapon by delivering various ammunitions and being trained in various aspects of Air and Surface warfare, so we could be utilised in operational roles in the SAAF. After a year of consolidation flying, two candidates were selected to complete Flight Leaders Course, Major Jabulani Jerry Mabona and myself. FLC was completed in November 2019.

85 Combat Flying School Hawk MK120 “Gannet”
Armed Forces Day Capability Demonstration De Brug Weapons Range Bloemfontein February 2018
Fighter Formation over AFB Swartkop during the 2019 SAAF Museum Airshow.
SAAF Museum Airshow 2019

As Flight Leaders we were then eligible to be transferred to 2 Squadron and begin Operational Conversion Course on the SAAB JAS39C/D Gripen. I completed my first solo flight in the Gripen on May 5th, 2020, a first for an Indian South African Fighter Pilot.

SAAB JAS39D Gripen

In 2010, I met my wife, Marcia Naidoo, but had only really started speaking too her in 2012, being in the western cape and her in KZN it wasn’t often I got a chance to see her, unless it was a trip home to see the family. We started dating in 2013 and even though had such distance between us the relationship grew to me finally proposing in 2017 and tying the knot in September 2018. Throughout my flying career she’s been a keystone to my support, from not being able to fly a thing to taking to the skies in a modern fighter jet, with all the good and the bad she would be there, either the most excited or ready to throw down with anyone that may have gotten me upset. Although I’m the soldier she’s the tougher of the two of us.

As a youngster I’d always been fascinated by flying, from as early as my second birthday it was evident that I wanted to be a pilot, my parents had gotten me an aircraft cake and dressed me up in a white suit. Being from Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) I didn’t know it was a possibility for me to be an air force fighter pilot, as there’s not much publicity for the defence force in the KZN community. It was by chance that I happened across a leaflet in the newspaper and my mum had made further inquiries. It was only then that I had decided that I was going to be a fighter pilot in the SAAF. Hard work and perseverance will always pay off.”

He was sure adamant to wear the SAAF uniform and inspire confidence, thus he hastens to say that he keeps himself busy with researching on everything that has to do with the latest aviation technology while mastering the art of being a proud fighter pilot. “There’s still a long road ahead of me to complete Operational Conversion Course on the Gripen and becoming the best Fighter pilot at the SAAF. At some stage in the distant future I will go down to Langebaanweg once again and do pilot Instructors’ Course and give training to the future pilots of the SAAF. Thereafter returning to 85 Combat Flying School for pilot attack instructors’ course on the hawk and move over to give instruction to aspiring fighter pilots in training on the Gripen as well.

Hawk MK120 MK82 Bombing run,Roodewal bombing range Limpopo

What I’d like to say to aspiring SAAF pilots is that nothing comes easy, but nothing is impossible, follow the procedures laid out and don’t be afraid to ask for help, it’s often said on courses that individuals don’t pass the course, those who work together, find motivation in themselves and their peers to complete the course together. Work hard in school in physics and maths, be a good person and never stop trying.

Through this journey I’ve seen it doesn’t matter where you come from, what your skin colour is or what school you went to, what matter is the work you put in. I have come from many places but now I am Captain Klyde Ross Naidoo, a fighter pilot in the SAAF.” He concluded

Ice cold bath after Klydes Gripen Solo

Well done to Ronin and Cyrax,we wish you many more happy and safe flying hours,from all of us at Aviation Central.

Completion of Gripen solo and traditional ice cold bath at 2 Squadron

SAAF C130 with a Kill

History of the SAAF C-130 with a “kill”: 408

This C-130B was first delivered to the USAF as 58-0731 in 1959, being converted to WC-130B for the weather service in 1970. Reverted to USAF operation as a C-130B in 1982 and donated to South Africa in 1996, where she still flies with 28 Squadron as 408.

USAF incident in 1966:
On 12 January 1966, in Vietnam, 58-0731 (now 408) was with the USAF 463rd Troop Carrier Wing at Mactan. It flew into Ca Mau airfield taking fuel to the Special Forces team stationed there. Just after landing and opening the aft doors the base came under sustained Viet Cong (VC) attack and the Green Berets on the ground radioed to tell them to take off ASAP. But “Wendy” Moser said “Let’s drop the bladders on the roll and keep going. We dont want to take a hit with all the fuel on board.” They taxied and pushed the fuel bladders out of the back of the airplane. As soon as the last bladder was off, Moser taxied the airplane to the end of the runway and wheeled around into takeoff position.

As as they prepared the takeoff roll, someone noticed a figure on the runway just past the area where they had off-loaded the fuel. The crew noticed that the figure had a gun, and it was pointed at them. They saw him open up, shooting into their direction, although none of the rounds appeared to strike the airplane. Then the figure did a strange thing, he jumped onto a bicycle and began pedaling down the runway as hard and fast as he could.

All four men in the cockpit agreed that they must get the VC. Moser released the brakes and the C-130 hurtled down the runway. When the airplane reached flying speed, Moser held it down and aimed at the fast-pedaling VC. Then the crew heard a “BRRRRRRRR” as a prop caught the VC and splattered him all over the side of the airplane. Moser let the airplane become airborne and came back around over the runway to see what they had done. They flew low down the runway and could see the remains of the chopped-up VC and his bicycle.

After landing at Tan Son Nhut, everyone stood around the front of the airplane and apologised to the crew chief for the damage done and for the mandatory engine change.

After that they put a sticker of a person on a bicycle under the pilot’s window as a kill marking.

From the book “Trash Haulers” by Sam McGowan.

58-0731 (408) in NOAA service:
“Despite the damage and death caused by Hurricane Camille in 1969, there was one positive side-effect: she was a wake-up call to Congress. As a result, $8-million was appropriated to obtain more aircraft for the weather recon fleet, and upgrade all of them with state-of-the-art equipment. The Air Force dubbed the effort Project “Seek Cloud”.

Under Project Seek Cloud, twelve 1958-series C-130Bs were obtained from PACAF. They were old, and some were not in great shape, but a tired C-130 is still the equal of almost any other airplane. All twelve were modified for weather reconnaissance at WRAMA in 1970-71 with the installation of the Seek Cloud equipment suite. None of them were configured for atmospheric sampling.

Only eleven of these B-models kept their blue suits, however. 58-0731 was given a temporary duty assignment to the civilian sector, with NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division. It was first re-numbered N6541C, then N8037, and was nicknamed NOAA’s Ark. It served NOAA proudly for eleven years as a hurricane research aircraft. Re-converted to transport in 1981, she then served with the Texas, Ohio, and Kentucky Air National Guards before retiring in 1992. She was later donated to South Africa…”

Source: “Whiskey-Charlie!” by Tom Robison

Airforce Base Waterkloof Reaches Out To South African Homeless Citizens!

Following the National Lockdown, as announced by the President of the Republic and Commander-in-Chief of the South African National Defence Force, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, the Acting General Officer Commanding Air Force Base Waterkloof, Brigadier General Jacobus Christoffel Johannes Butler tasked the Base Corporate Communication Section and Chaplain Services to identify and coordinate social outreach to homeless and needy people within the Base’s area of responsibility.

Consequently, on 01 April 2020, the Air Force Base Waterkloof in partnership with Hennops Revival (Reverend Charlie Wernich), Haven of Hope (Mr Tebogo Mpufane) and Pierre van Ryneveld Spar (Mr Joe Pereira and Frikkie Coetzee) served 50 meals to homeless people at the Centurion taxi rank and surrounding areas.

The aim of this initiative was also to educate or inform vulnerable communities, especially those around the taxi rank about the Coronavirus and on how they (community) could help to flatten the curve. Community members were encouraged, notwithstanding their social conditions, to practice good hygiene, to wash their hands regularly and the importance of social distancing. Furthermore, members were informed that the virus knows no social standings, or the colour of your skin, your gender, or your age and that it can affect/infect anyone.

The Chief of the SA Air Force, Lieutenant General Zimpande Msimang commends Air Force Base Waterkloof on a great initiative.

Information by Major Terence Vukela and Photographs by Corporal Ayanda Sedibe, SA Air Force.



YOUR PARTNER IN THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19 PANDEMIC

South African Air Force Renders Support At Table Mountain Fires

On Sunday, 15 March 2020, the Fire Fighters from Air Force Base Ysterplaat worked throughout the night following a request to assist with the fire that ravaged the Table Mountain, Cape Town, in the Western Cape Province.


City of Cape Fire crews were alerted of the fire at 12:50 wherein they tried to contain the fire, but their efforts were hampered by strong gusting winds. The fire rapidly spread to Lion’s Head and Signal Hill.


It is as a result of the escalation of fire, that at approximately 19:52 the Chief Fire Officer of Air Force Base Ysterplaat, Lieutenant Colonel Kyle Jonker was alerted by the Acting Officer Commanding to be on standby for a possible response.


Five (5) Fire Fighters from Air Force Base Ysterplaat responded with the Atego HAZMAT vehicle to the fire scene upon activation at 21:20. The team joined other fire fighters and immediately commenced with firefighting throughout the night.

They used over 30 000 litres of water from 21:50 till 07:00 this morning. The team was relieved at 08:00 by a crew of four (4).

The crew consisted of Sergeants’ Wayne Wood, Neil Kirkwood, Safhiek Judd, Wayne Human, Samuel Mars, Cyril Lackey, Nicky Everson, Ashraf Madatt and Roual Splinter.

An Oryx from 22 Squadron is on standby for any eventuality.

22 Squadron Oryx Helicopter

15 Squadron Extract Sick Crewman Off Durban Coast

15 Squadron received  a call saying there’s a male person on a ship with cerebral malaria. With the ongoing spread of Coronavirus the risk of the Ships being allowed to dock in the nearby Durban Harbour was a no go.

The vessel CONRAD  is a Bulk Carrier built in 2017 (3 years old) and currently sailing under the flag of Liberia.

Bulk Carrier Vessel CONRAD

A SAAF Oryx Helicopter part of the 15 Squadron helicopter asset was to the Rescue as a need  to get the patient off the ship. Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Fraser Officer Commanding  15 Squadron, Major Altaaf Sheik and Flight Sargent Ryan Naidoo together with three members from Netcare 911 flew out to the ship 12nm from the coast and hoisted members of the Netcare personnel onto the vessel (called the “Conrad”). The man was  stabilized, ventilated and other  other necessary precautions were put in place  while the Oryx Helicopter remained in the holding position in the versinity of the ship.

20 minutes had passed and the Oryx was called back from a NSRI vessel which was also on scene to to communicate with both the Oryx crews, the ship and the NSRI. On the ship the patient was ready for extrication. The Oryx proceeded into the hover over the helipad again and hoisted the medics and the patient onboard and flew him to St Augustines hospital in Durban.

Once again 15 Squadron pulled off a successful sea extraction and saved a life. 15 Squadron is based at the old Durban International Airport and is home to Agusta A109LUHs and Oryx Helicopters, with their sister base in Airforce Station Port Elizabeth home to 15 Squadron “Charlie” Flight flying BK117s.

As 15 Squadron says
“The first 15 the rest are reserves “

Stellenbosch Ready for First Airshow for the Season in South Africa

The South African Airshow Season is ready to fly off with the first airshow for 2020 in Stellenbosh, home of many famous wine farms, the Stellenbosch Flying Club and a long awaited airshow in the Western Cape for many Aviation enthusiasts!

Team Extreme

Stellenbosch Flying Club. Building on the success of 2019, FASHKOSH 2020 will be bigger and more exciting – held over two days, from 20 to 21 March 2020.

Directions

Fridays Airshow will also see a evening display from the Puma Flying Lions, which will be performing for the first time at Stellenbosch.

Stellenbosch Airshow 2020

Other South African Airshow favorites such as Team Extreme, Goodyear Eagles Pitts, Boeing Stearman and many more will take part in the show.

Goodyear Pitts Special S2B

The South African Airforce which are celebrating their centenary this year will have a 2 Squadron Gripen, also a first for Stellenbosch, the Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team led by New team leader Major Sivu Tangana and 22 Squadron will support with a Super Lynx 300 maritime patrol helicopter.

SAAB Gripen Fighter Jet
Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team

The program is still full of surprises including two different airliner displays which make great photo opportunities with the mountain backdrop.

22 Squadron Lynx 300

Gates are open at 8am both Friday and Saturday.

Mango Boeing 737-800

Tickets can be purchased at https://www.viagogo.co.za/Theatre-Tickets/Shows-and-Awards/Stellenbosch-Airshow-Tickets

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!

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!

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.

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