Tag Archives: SANDF

ADDRESS BY DEPUTY MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS, ON THE OCCASION OF THE OFFICIAL AAD2020 LAUNCH

Programme Director;
Chief of the South African National Defence Force, General Solly Shoke;
Chief Defence Materiel, Dr Mthobisi Zondi;
HE High Commissioner Nomathemba Tambo and the SA Embassy office;
Armscor Deputy Chairperson, and members of the Board;
AMD Chairperson and members of the Board;
Representatives of the dti;
South African exhibitors;
AAD international agents and partners;
Captains of Defence Industry;
Members of the media;
Ladies and gentlemen

Under the theme “Unlocking Africa’s Aerospace and Defence Potential”, I welcome Ministries of Defence of various countries present here today, our International Partners and agents, captains of the global defence industry, members of the media and other distinguished guests.

AAD is the largest aerospace and defence exhibition in Africa and the ONLY one of its kind, boasting a successful combined exhibition of air, sea and land technologies, a static aircraft display and an air show. Significantly, AAD is the largest assembly of African leaders and decision makers, undoubtedly a gateway to doing business in Africa and a key catalyst and partner to unlocking business potential and partnerships.

In his opening speech at AAD 2018, Hon President Cyril Ramphosa highlighted the significant opportunity that the Africa Aerospace and Defence exhibition offers in identifying and converting areas of synergies into joint ventures. These business ventures invariably translate into technology growth, employment, skills development and economic stimulus.

By hosting this event, South Africa showcases its interest in growing
the economy and that of its neighbouring countries through leveraging intellectual property into tangible products and export contracts.

Planning for AAD2020 is well underway, with 40 % of the space booked and the organisers are working tirelessly to ensure that the 11 th edition of AAD is a resounding success for all the exhibitors, key partners and trade visitors. Testimony to this is that just in the last 2 days, the organisers have successfully signed up both Belgium and the USA as national pavilions and we await all other defence producing nations to do the same in the
next few weeks.

AAD is expected to attract over 400 exhibitors from at least 35 countries, over 10 00 000 visitors a day to AAD – many of them decision-makers in the global Defence, security and aviation sectors. The 2020 edition will also offer participants strategic platforms to engage in dialogue and discourse on international aerospace and Defence and other related best practices.

In closing, you may have noted that in his address at the Swartkop Air Show on the 7th of September, the Chief of the SA Air Force – Lt Gen ZF Msimang – noted that AAD 2020 takes place not only in SA’s Heritage Month of September but also in a year that marks the centennial commemoration of the SAAF as the second oldest Air Force in the world.It is no secret that for a very long time, the history of the SAAF has been one dimensional
and has often been told from the perspective of our erstwhile predecessors who sadly were also our colonisers and oppressors. Such an approach to our history has managed to diminish and undermine the cold weight of oppression and humiliation that was felt by the majority. In the interest of advancing the SA nation building project, we therefore are duty bound to reconfigure the SAAF and SANDF heritage landscape to ensure that it
reflects the diversity and the incredible efforts all South Africans and especially those who fought for the liberation of SA from the clutches of apartheid. It is in this context that the SAAF has chosen the theme of “100 years of Air Power, through 25 years of Democracy”. Commencing on the 1st of February 2020, SAAF 100 will culminate in the spectacular displays of air superiority in the 2 public days of AAD 2020 and we invite all Air Forces to bring their assets in celebration of this momentous achievement.

Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, I now declare AAD2020 officially Launched, and I invite you save the dates September 16th to 20th of September 2020 at the AFB Waterkloof in Tshwane. South Africa is open for business and partnerships to mutually benefit us all.

Thank you

“Our Collective Heritage” SAAF Museum Airshow 2019

D-Day for the annual South African Airforce Museum Airshow 2019 had finally arrived at the worlds second oldest operational airbase in the world, Airforce Base Swartkop which is home to the South African Airforce Museum and 17 Squadron a operational helicopter unit also active at the base. The Theme for this years show was “Our Collective Heritage” this is to celebrate and recognise the procurement of our past and present in the SAAF.

Both Umkhonto we Sizwe ( MK ) and Azanian Peoples Liberation Army (AMPLA) sent their pilots abroad to train on aircraft including Cessna 150s and L39s.Helicopter Pilots were sent to Russia for their rotary wings course flying both the MI24 Hind and Mil Mi8 Helicopters.

Former homelands in South Africa known as the TBVC Sates, which were the Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and the Ciskei had their very own Airwings which operated light transport aircraft, helicopter and turbo prop trainers including Pilatus PC7 MKIs just some of the few of their air assets. This was also a perfect occasion to celebrate the theme our collective heritage as mentioned above.

The SAAF Museum Airshow was opened by the Chief of the South African Airforce Lieutenant General Fabian Zimpande “Zakes” Msimang. Who flew in one of the Museum Alouette III, General Msimang a former helicopter pilot mentioned in his speech “The purpose of the Museum Air Show is primarily to celebrate our collective heritage, as well as a build up towards the Aerospace and Defence Expo in September 2020.”

The South African Airforce Band, choreographed some beautiful sets of instrumental music for the opening of the show and kept the public entertained during the course of the day with sights and sounds of military men and women putting together their talent of music.

With the low cloud base in the morning of the show, the Golden Eagles Parachute display team were unfortunate not allowed to jump out of the 44 Squadron Casa 212 based at Airforce Base Waterkloof.

Air boss for this years show was Lieutenant Colonel Rodney King a former leader of the Silver Falcons Aerobatic Display team. Capital Sounds Brian Emmenis had a huge deployment with at least a kilometre of speakers, so that the strong 30 000 plus crowd could hear commentary from both Brian Emmenis, Leon Du Plessis, Colonel Lance “Lancelot” Mathebula,Colonol Catherine “Siren” Constable, Major Dale Naddison,Lieutenant Colonel Iwan Robbertse, Captain Tiisetso “Lego” Legodi and Major Mandisa “Comet” Mfeka.

The Silver Aerobatic Display team opened he show with their flat display with Major Omphile “Biggy” Matloane at the lead. The Museums Helicopter’s were next with a aerial ballet from both the Alouette II and Alouette III.A solo display by the Puma, flown by General John Church.

The First jet display for the day was the Museums Vampire T55 flown by Colonel Glen “Gringo” Warden. Glen also flew the Rand Airport Based L29 and L39 adding to the eastern block jet age.

South African Airforce Displays consisted of a Hawk MK120 flown by Lieutenant Colonel Craig “Shark” Leeson, as he gave his last display as 85 Combat Flying Schools display pilot. Major Rehan “Kaine” Venter will be taking over as the Hawk display pilot. Major Geoffrey “Spartan” Cooper put the Gripen JAS39C through its paces with a flare drop at the end of his display.41 Squadron provide a formation display of a Pilatus PC12 and two Cessna 208A Caravans.17 Squadron provided a Oryx Capability demonstration with fast roping and troop extracting. A combat air routine was also carried out by two Hawk MK120s and a JAS39D Gripen fully loaded with ammunition was surly a favourite to see flying in that configuration.

The South African Airforce Museum put on a mini war re -enactment with two Alouette IIIs, Puma,two Cessna C185s,A Kudu and Bosbok. The Museum and Harvard Club T6 Harvard’s flew a mass radial display with a mass shutdown at the end of their slot.

Team Extreme were also present on the day as they have delighted more than hundreds of thousands of people at airshows in Southern Africa this year already. Other Aerobatic teams that were present were the Goodyear Eagles Pitts, The Cows Pitts Specials and the Puma Flying Lions. The MAD Microlight display team also closed the show with LED lights and smoke added to their trikes.

Singleton displays consisted of a Magni Gyro Copter flown by Andre van Zyl, The Nashua Extra 300 flown by Andrew Blackwood Murry. Menno Parsons made a welcome return to Swartkop this year with his P51D Mustang.The radial formation made up of ‘Little Annie’ an Antonov 2 flown by Jon-Marc and Mark Hill as well as a Boeing Stearman flown by Ivan van der Schaar and Riaan Prinsloo in his Yak 18T.Each of the radials then provided a solo display. The Classic Formation made up of a De Havilland Tiger Moth and two Chipmunks added to the De Havilland Aircraft heritage. Anton von Willich flew a display in his Aerospatiale Gazelle. General Des Barker flew a demo flight in the Wonderboom based Atlas Angel.

As the Gripen closed off the show with a sunset display, ending off with flares into the dark blue skies. Another successful and safe Swartkop Airshow had come to an end. With the short amount of time the SAAF Museum and the SAAF had to pull off a great show with a variety of aircraft on display, a big well done to all involved from Lieutenant General Fabian Zimpande “Zakes” Msimang Chief of the SAAF, Lieutenant Colonel Melvin Bruintjies Officer commanding SAAF Museum, Lieutenant Colonel Trish Schoeman Officer Commanding Airforce Base Swartkop, Lieutenant Colonel Rodney King Flight Director for the show, Major Ntokozo Ntshangase as the media liaison for the SAAF Museum, Capital Sounds and to all display pilots, ground crews ATCs and all other role players behind the scenes that made the show a success.

Until we all meet again at the 2020 SAAF Museum Airshow and celebrate 100 years of the South African Airforce “As the SAAF Museum like to say Keep them up where they’re belong!”

Watch some of the highlights below from this years SAAF Museum Airshow 2019!

https://youtu.be/dN8xcu63kLc

SAAF Museum Airshow Saturday 7 September 2019 Programme

Please take note that aircraft can withdraw from the program at any point due to serviceability & operational requirements and weather!

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Bethlehem Airshow 2019

Noted as one of the coldest airshows on the South African Airshow circuit, this years Bethlehem Airshow was definitely the hottest. The Eastern Free State town of Bethlehem hosted their annual airshow and this year was most probably the best they have ever had, with a large variety of aircraft including the South African Airforce making a welcome return.

The Friday before the show, Little Annie an Antonov 2 took local school kids for some of them their first flight in an aircraft around the town of Bethlehem. At the same time many aircraft arrivals and validations took place to be suitable for the following day.

“Little Annie” AN2

Saturday morning we arrived at the airfield to get some sunrise shots of parked aircraft, not long after that we attended the pilots briefing with Dihlabeng Municipal Mayor Lindiwe Makhalema thanking the pilots and wishing them well during the course of the day. Stephen Fourie was the organiser once again of the fantastic show who also briefed the pilots on the days proceedings in conjunction with Lieutenant Colonel Keith “Fulcrum” Fryer as airboss for the show. Lieutenant Colonel Francois “Hosepipe” Hanekom was Flight safety director and Lieutenant Colonel Keith Andrew was ramp director.

The show opened up with the South African Airforce Golden Eagles Parachute Display team, their jump ship was a 44 Squadron Casa 212 with Lieutenant Colonel Sammy “Guru” Mabidikama, Major Ashley “Sensei” Naxhe and loadmaster Flight Sergeant Manny Ramajela at the controls.

44 Squadron Casa 212

The Cows Pitts Specials added an Extra 300 to their display led by Scully Levin, The Goodyear Eagles performed both a four-ship pitts display in the morning show and the afternoon show with a three-ship. A solo aerobatic display by Andrew Blackwood Murray in his Nashua Extra 300 and a Pilatus B4 Glider was flown by Gary Whitecross.Orsmond Aviation provided a Turbo Thrush for aerial spaying demo. A provincial EMS Bell 222 demonstrated a car accident scene showing off the emergency services and the every day call out scenes around South Africa. Another Bell 222 from Henley Air at Rand Airport flown by Andre Coetzee showed off the helicopter skilfully.

Cows Pitts and Extra formation
Goodyear Eagles
Nashua Extra 300
Pilatus B4
Glider Tug Lambada flown by Derek Hopkins
Free state EMS Bell 222
Free state EMS Bell 222
Henley Air Bell 222

The South African Airforce (SAAF) provide the Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team flying Pilatus PC7MKIIs with Major Omphile Matolane as lead ,Major Tian Stander at number two, Major Sivu Tangana at three and the soloist Major Bheki Shabungu.

Silver Falcons Team 82
Major Bheki Shabungu does a dirty roll in the Pilatus PC7MKII
Lieutenant Charlene Brown and Captain Xander Albasni made sure the Bethlehem crowds could get their Silver Falcons memorabilia

A 2 Squadron Gripen JAS39D flown all the way from Airforce Base Makhado in the Limpopo province, the squadron demonstrated a flat display by Major Mohau “Dobaman” Vundla and Major Kevin “Safron” Chetty as his navigator. This was the first appearance of a Gripen in Bethlehem. An Agusta A109LUH from 87 Helicopter Flying School in Bloemfontein, which was on static display among some of the other visiting civilian static aircraft. Adding to the jet action Pierre Gouws flew Richard Lovett’s Aero L39 and also led the Raptor RVs.

2 Squadron JAS39D Gripen
2 Squadron JAS39D Gripen
Agusta A109LUH
Aero L39 Albatross
Raptors RVs

Andre Van Zyl displayed the Magni Gyrocopter to its full potential Radials were a common sound at this years show with Little Annie An2 flown by Jon Marc-Hill and Juba Jourbert dropping skydivers and later joining up with Ivan Van der Schaar in his Boeing Stearman for a formation display and both their singleton displays. The Puma Flying Lions led once again by Scully Levin flew their three-ship routine .Menno Parson’s Douglas Dc3 gave a brief display flown by Derek Hopkins and Ivan van der Schaar. Menno displayed his popular and only flying P51D Mustang in South Africa. SAA Pilot Trevor Warner also gave a Solo Rv7 display, this being the most homebuilt aircraft in the world.

Magni Gyro
Radial Formation An2 & Boeing Stearman
Douglas DC3
Puma Flying Lions
P51D “Mustang Sally”
P51D “Mustang Sally”
RV7

Capital Sounds provided commentary to both the display line in front of the crowd line, behind the crowd line and by the aircraft parking area across the tar runway at Bethlehem. Brian Emmenis, Leon Du Plessis and Elvis Manene kept the crowds posted on each display on the day.

Menno Parsons & Capital Sounds Brian Emmenis
Silver Falcon Major Sivu Tangana & Capital Sounds Elvis Manene

Bethlehem Airshow well done on a fantastic show this year, to all the organisers, display pilots and ground crews on making the show safe and successful. Looking forward to next years show already.

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Breaking News-SAAF Museum Airshow set for 7th September 2019

Days remaining to Swartkop Airshow 2019

The South African Airforce Museum Airshow is set to take place at Airforce Base Swartkop in Pretoria on Saturday 7th September 2019.The Officer commanding of AFB Swartkop confirmed with Aviation Central the official date has been set for the 7th September and NOT the 31 August 2019.

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We look forward to working with the SAAF and the Museum as we get ready for another successful airshow that will once again take place over Pretoria skies.

Tickets this year will cost R80 over the age of 16, ages 12 to 16 will be R30 and under the age of 12 free.

Keep an eye out on our social media pages for more information on the upcoming Airshow.

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SANDF Capability Demonstration and Arena Displays- Rand Easter Show 2019

The 125th Rand Easter Show has once again entertained Gauteng residents with raw power of the South African National Defence  with the South African Navy, Army, Airforce and Military Health Service all present at the Expo Centre Nasrec South of Johannesburg.

SAAF Silver Falcons fly overhead the arena

The Capability demonstration was once again a major draw card to the Rand Show as it always is and run for the first four days of the opening of the show. Unfortunately with the absence of South African Airforce helicopters as the choppers were still on operational duties in Mozambique and Malawi.

15 Squadron Agusta A109LUH on static display

We were blessed with great weather for the first 3 days of the event including the validation day before the opening of the event as their was predicted rain showers and overcast weather for the duration of the morning shows. The final day was unfortunately rained out.

2 Squadron JAS39D Gripen flown by Major Lee-Roy ‘Shinobi” Goosen and Major Kevin ‘Saffron’ Chetty

2 Squadron didn’t disappoint  with the presence of two Gripens opening the event. Major Mohua “Dobaman” Vundla with navigator Kevin “Saffron” Chetty and in the second Gripen was Major Lee-Roy “Shinobi” Goosen kept a tight formation flypast as the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans
Nosiviwe Noluthando Mapisa-Nqakula arrived on the podium to address the public on the official opening of the Rand Easter Show 2019.

2 Squadron Gripens flown by ‘Dobaman’ and “Saffron” in the first gripen and “Shinobi” in the second gripen

“I am delighted and honored to be amongst the men and women in the uniform-our country’s armed forces – during the official opening of the 2019 Rand Easter Show. Our soldiers have been patriotically exhibiting and showcasing their capabilities at this crowd – pulling event without fail since 2011 and endeared themselves to visitors from all walks of life, educating our people about the miltarys role in society and towards the defence of our constitutional dispensation.”


Minister of Defence and Military Veterans
Nosiviwe Noluthando Mapisa-Nqakula

” The platform that the Rand Easter Show affords the South African National Defence Force is key to exposing the citizens of Gauteng and the country at large to the capabilities, state of the art technologies and the career opportunities the abound within our national defence force.”


Minister of Defence and Military Veterans
Nosiviwe Noluthando Mapisa-Nqakula

” It is through the participation of the SANDF in events such as this one that the aspirations of young men and women–from Eldorado Park, Soweto, Tembisa, Diepsloot, Brynston, Alexandra and Dainfern- in fact throughout the country, ignites them to serve the country. “

” The Rand Easter Show has over the years been a gathering place for visitors who have proven to be owerawed by the dedication, hard work and precision with which our soldiers carry out their duties as showcased through the various capabilities demonstrated in these arena lawns.”

The capability demonstration se the theme this year as a deployment of reaction forces to support a convoy ambushed in a foreign territory. Two Ratel 90 ammoured vehicles gave support fire power as well as a lone 2 Squadron Gripen with simulated airstrikes. Simulated mortar strikes echoed in the arena as the crowds were awered of the pyrotechnics set off by the army engineers. All while this was happening a bridge laying was complete during the mock attack.

Simulated IED Mine
Ratel 90
2 Squadron JAS39D Gripen
Simulated Mortor Strikes.
Bridge Build

A 44 Squadron Casa 212 flown by Major Ashley Naxhe and  Major Nick Green and Loadmaster  Flight Sergeant Ramajela who
dropped skydivers from 44 parachute battlion with a designated landing zone in the arena. The Casa 212 then gave a beautiful fly past over the arena as they excited the special rules west area of Johannesburg.

44 Squadron CASA 212 Paradrop
44 Squadron Casa 212

The cockpit ambassadors of the South African Airforce, Silver Falcons of team 82 led by Major Omphile Matloane, Tiaan Stander, Corne Deventer, Bheki Shabangu and the soloist Major Sivu Tangana flew their 5 ship Pilatus PC7MKIIs.

Silver Falcons in the ‘Vixen’ Formation
Silver Falcons in the ‘Cobra’ formation
Silver Falcons in the ‘Starfighter’ formation

Other arena events on the program included presion drills from the SA Army and Navy. The now popular Navy gun run, a Military Police anti hijacking display, SANDF Marshal Arts demonstration. The SANDF K9 unit and field patrol. And finally the new act on the SANDF the Land Drover of the Army Technical Corpse which is demobilised and mobilized under 10 minutes. Also a favorite at this year’s event.

Thank you kindly to the Rand Easter Show organizers. We look forward to next year’s 126th event.

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SANDF to wow crowds at this years Rand Easter Show

Agusta A109LUH during an medical extraction

The South African National Defence force will once again take part and exhibit at this years Rand Easter Show at the Expo Centre Nasrec, south of Johannesburg.

The Show which was first organised in 1894 and attracted 3000 visitors quickly became part of South African heritage attracting industries and dignitaries from around the globe and has always been a firm favourite with the public, with a record 848,332 visitors attending in 1989.

2 Squadron JAS39C Gripen during the 2018 Rand Easter Show mock attacks.

The 125th Celebration promises to be one of the best shows ever with the introduction of fantastic, on trend, content. This will include Africa’s biggest celebration of the global sensation game, Fortnite, new reality cooking and talent shows, a beautifully presented Flower and Décor pavilion, a world class international Fitness Expo, Military displays, Drum Majorette Gold Cup and so much more.

SAAF Helicopter formation in 2018

The South African Airforce cockpit ambassadors will once again grace the skies over Johannesburg led by Major Omphile Matloane. Low flying aircraft will also be busy over the north of Johannesburg as they fly from AFB Swartkop and AFB Waterkloof for the first couple of days of the Rand Easter Show. Note the SANDF Capability display will take place for the first 4 days of the opening of the show.

Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team

More details on what aircraft and other SANDF assets will be posted once confirmed.

Oryx Helicopter landing in the arena where the capability demonstration will once again take place.
Events program

Armed Forces Day 2019 Parade

The day finally arrived for the 2019 Armed Forces Day celebrations in the form of a parade and capability demonstration on the shores of Sunset beach in the Table View area.

The South African National Defence Force celebrate this particular Armed Forces Day every year, as each province gets a turn to host the event and this years forms of arms was the South African Navy that would be part of the planning in their home town.

The SS Mendi was a British 4,230 GRT passenger steamship that was built in 1905 and, as a troopship, sank after collision with great loss of life in 1917.

“As Commander-in-Chief of the South African National Defence Force, it is a great honour to address you on this National Armed Forces Day.
It is the day on which we acknowledge the men and women who have dedicated their lives to the service of this country.



You have answered the most noble calling – to defend the Republic, to protect her sovereignty and guard her territorial integrity.
You have sworn to serve South Africa and its people in accordance with the Constitution, and to uphold its values.
Ngokwamkela lengubo yamalungu ooMkhosi, nibonisa ukunyaniseka kwenu kwiLizwe lwenu; ukuzibophelela ekusebenzeleni iLizwe lwenu ngentlonipho, ngesidima, ngesibindi nokuthembeka.
Kungoko ke ndiyanibulela; nesizwe ngokubanzi, siyanibulela.



The 21st of February holds deep significance for us as South Africans.
It marks the day of the sinking of the troop carrier vessel the SS Mendi.
On that fateful day in 1917, 805 souls perished in the English Channel on their way to the Western Front during the First World War.
The soldiers aboard the SS Mendi were volunteers in the then South African Native Labour Corps.

They were among 25,000 others who joined the corps during a war that began in Europe but soon became a global conflict affecting people on nearly every continent.
The men who died on the SS Mendi and others of the Native Labour Corps who served in the trenches in France did not enlist to further the advance of imperialism.



They volunteered at a time when the 1913 Land Act had cut a devastating swathe across black communities in this country, and they hoped with their service to get a chance to provide for their families.
They also saw it as a chance to play their part in defence of the freedom and preservation of humankind.



They are our heroes, and it is our duty to impart to our children the story of their bravery and courage.
I wish to congratulate the Ministry of Defence for ensuring that this important part of our history is kept alive; and wish to acknowledge the survivors and their descendants, some of whom are here with us today.



Today, we wish to extend our condolences to the family, friends and unit of Corporal Randal Jacques Krynauw.
He lost his life on Wednesday the 6th of February, while he was travelling to be part of preparations for today’s event.
I also wish his injured colleagues a speedy recovery.
Ons gedenk vandag alle gevalle soldate wat in opdrag en belang van ons land gesterf het.
It does not matter how or where they fell – they paid the ultimate price.
Ons sal hul opofering vir altyd onthou – en vereer.

We are joined here today by Mr Jany Fournier the Mayor of the town of Longueval in France.
Longueval is where our National War Memorial commonly known as Deville Wood is situated.
To you and your delegation, Sir, I say Bienvenue, Wamkelekile, Welkom.
On National Armed Forces Day we honour our veterans and those still in uniform.

We also honour their families, for the sacrifice of serving in uniform is also the sacrifice of a family and of a community.
You have given us the best of your men and women, who left you in the bloom and enthusiasm of youth, and who returned wiser, disciplined and stronger.
It is said that it is only in the service to one’s fellow human that one’s mettle is truly tested; and the armed forces of democratic South Africa can be justifiably proud of having produced soldiers of resolve, of steadfastness and of great patriotism.



Through National Armed Forces Day we want to display to our people the capabilities and state of readiness of our armed forces.
We also want to expand the public’s understanding of the military’s function and purpose in our society.
The roles that the military plays are diverse.
We all recall the iconic image of a young mother, clutching her new-born baby Rosita as she was pulled to the safety of a SANDF chopper during the Mozambican floods of 2000.

We also recall with pride the deployment of the South African Military Health Service across hospitals in Gauteng in 2017 after industrial action nearly paralysed services in the province.
A year later, military health personnel were dispatched to Mahikeng Hospital in the North West, where their intervention averted the near collapse of health services in the facility.
At present we have a specialist team of army personnel working in the Vaal area to contain a sewage spillage that is threatening the health and well-being of millions of people.

The SANDF has also been involved in international peacekeeping missions on the continent, notably in the Democratic Republic of Congo under the UN Stabilisation Mission.
We currently have around 1,200 troops in the DRC and are also part of the Force Intervention Brigade together with Tanzanian and Malawian troops.
We continue to support operations in Africa under the United Nations and the African Union.

Whether it is engaging in anti-piracy patrols in the Mozambique Channel, battling veld fires in the Cape, doing border patrols as part of Operation Corona or attending to critical infrastructure, our national defence force is a source of enduring pride.
It is a pride we want to impart to the next generation.
For the SANDF to effectively carry out its mission, we need to recruit high-calibre individuals into its ranks.

The armed forces are a home for the youth of this country.
It is the means through which they can serve, through which they can also step forward and say: Thuma Mina, send me.
In 2018, 1,700 young people were recruited through the Military Skills Development Programme and successfully placed in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Medical Health Services.

They commenced training in January at their respective training units and we wish them well.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The role of the armed forces has over the years had to evolve in response to ever-changing global military, political, social and economic conditions.

Our Navy, the host of today’s event, has a particularly critical role to play.
We have a 3,000 km long coastline, the third largest in Africa, and are strategically located on one of the world’s most vital shipping lanes.

Over 96 per cent of our own exports and imports are carried by sea.
South Africa’s exclusive economic zone is currently the extent of one and a half million square kilometres.

With such a large ocean jurisdiction, the need for effective maritime protection by our navy has never been greater.
This has become all the more important since South Africa, together with other nations, adopted the UN Sustainable Development Goals in 2015.

Goal 14 obliges countries to take measures to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.
The South African Navy is, and will remain, key to supporting our National Maritime Security Strategy and advancing our vision to grow our oceans economy.

Like many other coastal countries, we are impacted by the illegal exploitation of our marine resources, which seriously threatens the sustainability of our oceans.
It is upon our Navy that we rely to protect our trade routes, to cooperate with neighbouring countries and international bodies to promote regional maritime security, and to advance our developmental objectives as a country.

We are also aware of the impact of climate change on our oceans.
Coastal communities in particular are vulnerable to the effects of rising sea levels.
The resulting extreme weather will require the SANDF to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief during General Military Assistance operations both in the country and in the SADC region.

It is also the responsibility of our armed forces to guard our country’s borders against the infiltration of transnational criminal syndicates, the flow of contraband, human trafficking, undocumented migrants and other illicit activities.

It is imperative therefore that all our armed forces are supported to enable them to respond effectively to current realities and threats, as well as emerging ones.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As South Africans ,we are secure in the knowledge that our combined forces are well-trained, capable, and, above all, that they uphold the highest values of our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Our armed forces are the great unifier; they are part of what makes us proud to be South African.
As Commander-in-Chief, I say to our men and women in uniform: we value your contribution.
We applaud your professionalism, your discipline and your dedication.
The path you have chosen is not an easy one.
Nor has it been easy for your families and your loved ones.

And yet we know that with your service, you join a long and illustrious line of those who came before you.
Of the brave fallen who lie in Delville Wood and the men of the SS Mendi.
They set sail for Europe’s distant shores in the defence of freedom and in the hope of bringing freedom back home.

They did not live to hear the ring of freedom’s bell.
The dignity they were denied in their lifetime, is the dignity we accord them here, today.
It is the dignity our people enjoy today, especially the men and women of our armed forces.
 In recognising you, we are recognising them, our heroes.

It is of you that the great Homer speaks in The Illiad:
“Without a sign his sword the brave man draws, and asks no omen but his country’s cause.”
To our soldiers, yours is a clear mission, to take the SANDF into the future.
To uphold our constitutional order and the rule of law.
To defend and protect our sovereignty and territorial integrity.
And above all, to contribute towards the well-being, prosperity and upliftment of the people of South Africa.”

I wish you strength, and I wish you courage.

We look forward to the next Armed Forces Day that will be in either Limpopo or Mpumalanga.

SAAF Prestige Evening Awards

The South African Airforce held a Prestige evening awards ceremony at Airforce Base Swartkop on the 31 January 2019.The following day the Airforce was to celebrate 99 years of air power excellence.

85 Combat Flying School Hawk MK120 “Gannet” on static display.

The aim of the Prestige Evening is to showcase the service excellence by bestowing honours and eminence to the sterling work the done by the different SAAF entities and individuals in their varied stations.

Invited guests were treated to a mini flying display by various aircraft in the South African Airforce inventory, that being the Silver Falcons led by Major Omphile Matloane ,an Oryx helicopter and the SAAF Museums De Haviland Vampire flown by Lt Col Glen ‘Gringo’ Warden.

Silver Falcons
Silver Falcons
De Havilland Vampire T55
De Havilland Vampire T55
17 Squadron Oryx Helicopter

Unfortunately there was no Rooivalk display due to the helicopter picking up a snag during its validation flight earlier in the afternoon. The Weather gods also didn’t agree with the evenings proceeding’s and rather made everyone move into Hanger 5 where supper and speeches took place due to the heavy rain downpour.

16 Squadron Rooivalk flown by Major Paul “Racoon” Kempthorn

Once everyone had run for shelter due to the rain in hangar five “The Centre of Aviation Awareness Hanger ” where the to the choir entertained us until the awards ceremony began.

The Chief of the South African Airforce and MCs for the evening congratulated each of the following units for the outstanding contribution to making the organisation a successful team in their different roles they’re play in the SAAF.

For the rest of the evening we got to listen to the South African Airforce Band, with a special musician who joined us for the evening, Mr
Jonas Gwangwa. He has been an important figure in South African jazz for over 40 years.


Mr Jonas Gwangwa

We would like to say thank you to the South African Airforce for their hospitality and to the Chief of the SAAF for welcoming us to the event personally.We wish the SAAF a great and safe year ahead. The evening ended with a spectacular fireworks display.

The Chief of the SAAF Lieutenant general Fabian Zimpande Msimang and his wife Ms Afrika Msimang enjoying their copy of their 2019 edition of Aviation Centrals Calendar.

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The Work Horse of the SAAF-The Oryx Helicopter

The Oryx Medium transport helicopter, is the upgraded version of the puma helicopter which served the South African Airforce for many years and saw the helicopter take part in the Angola border war. The SAAF were the largest operator of the then Aerospatiale SA330 Puma. The Oryx Helicopter named after the Oryx antelope or Gemsbok in Afrikaans. The first flight of the Oryx helicopter was in
1986 .

A 330L Puma, no. 177, was converted to Oryx configuration and used as a prototype and as the results exceeded all expectations the Oryx programme was launched. The sanctions era encouraged the local aviation industry to become self-sufficient in producing helicopter components and, with the knowledge to assemble pre-manufactured helicopters, led to the technical skill for producing complete Puma helicopters, should the need arise. This included complete airframes and dynamic components such as gearboxes, rotor blades and turbines and hot section parts. The engine intakes are fitted with locally produced dust filters and ensure higher efficiency and reliability.

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SAAF Museum Puma
17 Squadron Oryx-a big difference compare to the SA 330 Puma
Two Oryx Helicopters with Bambi Buckets

The Oryx is an upgraded and remanufactured version of the SA 330 Puma equivalent to the Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma now known as Airbus Helicopters, and offers a performance improvement over the original, in addition to cutting the operating costs by 25 to 30%. First examples were fitted with the latest dust filters as were then in use on the SAAF Puma. These units had a moveable auxiliary air intake on the front. A newly designed dust filter was later fitted without the auxiliary air intake. Should one of the engines fail, the remaining powerplant has sufficient power for the Oryx to complete its mission. If an engine fails in flight, the management system automatically advances the power setting on the remaining engine. This ensures the Oryx sustains flight with very little crew input, during such an emergency.

The basic airframe is still that of the original Puma, but the structure was modernized by extensive use of locally produced carbon-composite materials. These materials result in an airframe that is lighter and more rugged, which increases the Oryx’s endurance and maneuverability. The obvious external difference is the new modified tailboom which is slightly longer (50 cm), than the Puma.


The Oryx is a multi-role helicopter. Its main uses in the SAAF are: medium to heavy transport and communications flights, task force rapid deployment operations, fire fighting, and search & rescue missions. It can carry up to 20 fully equipped troops, or 6 wounded on stretchers with 4 attendants, or 3,000 kg freight carried in the cabin, or 4,500 kg freight on an external sling. Tasks for the South African Navy include transport, replenishment at sea, force multiplication, reconnaissance, search & rescue, etc.

Oryx Helicopters
Oryx helicopters at De Brug weapons range February 2018

Most Oryx are equipped with a 50m hydraulic hoist, rated for up to 2 personnel, for use in rescue operations. Additionally a large metal A-frame structure can be fitted in the cargo bay which allows up to 4 personnel to rappel or abseil from the aircraft simultaneously. Oryx operating from coastal squadrons are fitted with emergency flotation gear on the sponsons and nose.

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Oryx during hoisting exercise
Oryx with flotation gear on

The Oryx offers a number of advantages and this was further developed from an early stage in the program. With the Denel Rooivalk of 16 Squadron now in service, this combat helicopter will escort the Oryx in a high threat environment. However, as an interim measure an Oryx with door mounted machine guns did appear. Oryx helicopters are constantly refined and updated. A full glass cockpit is planned for a future update. The latest addition is the fitting of flare dispensers and the update of the Threat Warning Receivers.

Oryx with flare release
Oryx Cockpit view
Photo Credit Marriane Eksteen

There is an electronic warfare (stand-off communications jamming/radar jamming) version of the Oryx that is equipped with the Grinaker Systems Technologies (GST) GSY 1501 jamming system, among others. The first Oryx variant with a large log periodic antenna on the starboard side was regarded as quite an effective EW platform. This platform is capable of disrupting key communications during various stages of modern, air-, land-, and sea battles. In addition it is used as an effective training aid to the SANDF, to test their function as an effective fighting force, despite any EW methods employed against the SA Forces. A further advantage is, EW equipment in use by the SA Forces can be effectively evaluated and calibrated under simulated battlefield scenarios. One variant has its main cabin doors replaced by dome shaped antennas.

Oryx Helicopters have flown many rescue missions over the past couple of years including The 2000 Mozambique flood which was a natural disaster that occurred in February and March 2000.Other rescue missions include offshore tanker vessels to mountain rescues in the Drakensberg.

Oryx at the Rand Easter Show 2018

Operational Flying of the Oryx in the DRC

During the Burundi conflict the SAAFs Oryx’s and Alouette III Helicopters were deployed on peace keeping missions. As times have changed the SAAF are now in the DRC on peace keeping missions!

The Oryx has come under small arms fire since it has been deployed to the DRC. All incidents have been minor and helicopter crews have managed to get the aircraft back to base.

Since the end of October 2013, the South African Air Force has deployed three Rooivalk combat helicopters to the DRC, and these have also been shot at by rebel groups in the restive country. However, the aircraft have not sustained serious damage.

“The Oryx and Rooivalk also supply armed air escorts, fire support, search and rescue and extraction operations. The unit is on standby 24/7 and boasts a reaction time of 45 minutes.”

General characteristics

  • Crew: Three
  • Capacity: 20 fully equipped troops
  • Length: 15.45 m (50 ft 8 in)
  • Height: 5.14 m (16 ft 10 in)
  • Empty weight: 3,600 kg (7,937 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 8,000 kg (17,637 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Turbomeca Makila IA1 turboshaft engines, 1,400 kW (1,900 hp) each
  • Main rotor diameter: 15.6 m (51 ft 2 in)
  • Main rotor area: 191 m2 (2,060 sq ft)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 306 km/h (190 mph; 165 kn)
  • Combat range: 303 km (188 mi; 164 nmi)
  • Ferry range: 2,000 km (1,243 mi; 1,080 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 7,162 m (23,497 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 15.25 m/s (3,002 ft./min)
Oryx Helicopter
Oryx during night flying sorties

Armament

  • Guns: 2 × door-mounted 7.62 mm machine guns (optional; either the FNMAG or Denel SS-77

The Oryx AS32 operates with the following Squadrons in the South African Airforce:

87 Helicopter Flying School-AFB Bloemspruit

22 Squadron-AFB Ysterplaat

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Credit: Ashley Mills
Credit: Ashley Mills
Credit: Ashley Mills

17 Squadron-AFB Swartkop

Credit: Ashley Mills

15 Squadron-AFB Durban

19 Squadron-AFB Hoedspruit

Test Flight and Development Centre-AFB Overberg

Oryx 1200 of TFDC in 2012-Image by Dean Wingrin

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