Tag Archives: South African Airforce

The Chief of the South African Airforce Opens the SAAF Museum Airshow 2019

Address by Lieutenant General Fabian ‘Zakes’ Msimang at the opening of the South African Air Force (SAAF) Museum at Air Force Base Swartkop on 7 September 2019.

Lieutenant General Fabian ‘Zakes’ Msimang flies in one of the SAAF Museums Alouette IIIs

It is with great pleasure that I open the SAAF Museum Air Show during this Heritage Month. I would first like to extend a big thank you to you all for your presence.

One of the fundamental elements in nation-building and cultivating a cohesive society, is the reconfiguration of the heritage landscape to ensure that it reflects the diversity and the incredible efforts of the unity of our society.

Our interventions are guided by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, the supreme law of the land, whose preamble partly reads as follows: “We, the people of South Africa, Recognise the injustices of our past; Honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land; Respect those who have worked to build and develop our country; and Believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.”

In line with these constitutional imperatives, the SAAF is committed to the preservation and promotion of our Air Force heritage.

Let us take a moment to remember and analyse the father of Zimbabwean liberation, Tata Robert Mugabe on his passing away. Some may hold various views on him, but again this is all part of our African heritage – in its entirety.

Let us take a moment to also reflect upon the rise of femicide in our country and ask ourselves as parents how are we raising our sons. What example are we setting in our homes. Where are we going wrong? A brave man treats women with respect and appreciation. A coward abuses women emotionally and physically. I do hope that no SAAF member will ever stoop that low, if anything I expect us to be more conscious and exemplary. I call upon the men and boys of our motherland to be human, to find Ubuntu, to show compassion for the girls, for the sisters, friends, mothers and grannies. Please let us do better as a nation. Let us not squander the fruits of our hard earned liberation.

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 history of the South African Air Force goes back to 1920, and our democratic and all-inclusive Air Force is 25 years old. So, next year we will be recognising the centennial history of the SAAF, through a post apartheid outlook. The theme of the SAAF on the 1st of February 2020 shall be “100 years of Air Power, through 25 years of Democracy”.

Beyond the display of our air power and expertise, what marks this event today, is the need to begin to embrace our collective history with an element of sincerity and compassion. For a very long time, the SAAF history has been one dimensional, told from the perspective of our erstwhile predecessors. Such an approach of our history has managed to diminish and undermine the cold weight of oppression and humiliation that was felt by the majority.

The roots of our collective story spread far wider and much deeper than we can imagine. We all have an obligation to better understand ourselves and each other if our nation is to heal. We have to embrace and be accountable for our collective heritage, if our children are to be more forgiving, more understanding and compassionate.

A maturing democratic nation should not embellish the truth of its past. A true reflection of our history shall make us understand the mistakes and violations we have made. Yes, it can make us uncomfortable, but the discomfort is meant to make us learn, grow and help us mature. The discomfort is meant to help us begin to respond with integrity to the causes of poverty, femicide, crime, grime and greed, to be able to look holistically at the main challenges that face us.

We have to be at ease speaking about our history of suffering and victory. Our history of fear and faith. Our history of triumph against all odds. Our history of a desired deep sense of unity in the face of deliberate divisions.

It is in the ability to embrace and to celebrate our collective heritage where the power of real patriotism lies. To speak of collective heritage is indeed an act of patriotism.

So compatriots, as you enjoy the air show today, please do make time to visit our modest museum. It is yours to learn from, it is yours to reflect upon and also please do make further suggestions on how our museum can be one of the best military museums in the southern hemisphere.

We all have an obligation to foster social cohesion, nation-building and economic development as an engaged and committed citizenry. Let us stop complaining, let us turn the litany of excuses into nation-building results. This is our country. This is your Air Force – “An Air Force that Inspires Confidence”.

Have a fantastic day – the weather a bit chilly for now. The children look happy. As always, under-18s enjoyed free entrance – which makes this the perfect day out for aviation enthusiasts and families alike.

Thank you all and be blessed. Wishing you all a Heritage Month of self-reflection and self-awareness and your best contribution to our nation-building efforts.

Thank you.

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Airforce Base Waterkloof 80th Anniversary Celebration



The 1st August 2018,the South African Airforce celebrated Airforce Base Waterkloof’s 80th Birthday Celebration. The base is home to a number of units and flying squadrons, and is a key airbase to the entire country. The base was officially opened on the 1st August 1938 as Waterkloof Air Station in Pretoria. Initially the base was used for practicing forced landings, secondary to Airforce Station Swartkop down the road from AFB Waterkloof.

The jet age slowly creeped upon the South African Airforce, the need for tarmac runways with concrete hard standings were accelerated and make welcome for the then new generation jet powered aircraft. In July 1951 the newly delivered de Havilland Vampires of 1 Squadron were moved to AFS Swartkop in preparation for the construction work to take place. In August 1951 the last aircraft moved out of Waterkloof were the Auster mkVs of 42 Squadron.

Work was scheduled to start on 7 January 1952 and it was estimated that it would take 2½ years at a cost of 434 000 pounds.
When completed it was planned that 1, 2, 3, 4 and 42 Squadrons would operate from there together with 1 and 15 Air Depots. However little of those plans came to pass and it was only in 1956 that flying units were able to move back to Waterkloof. The construction of the runways and other associated tasks therefore took nearly five years to completion.

The period thereafter however saw the vast expansion of the South African Air Force of the 1960’s and 1970’s.Aircraft types that were based at the base at this period of times ranged from De Havilland Vampires,F86 Sabres, Various Mirage 3s,Mirage F1s,  Hawker Siddeley Buccaneers,C130s and C160s to name a few. The public have also been privileged enough to beat the base during early day airshows and open days, and more recently the 1195 DEXSA international Airshows and right up to Africa Aerospace and Defence Shows where we will be back at AFB Waterkloof from the 19-23 September 2018.
Units based at AFB Waterkloof

21 Squadron – VIP transport
28 Squadron – Medium transport
41 Squadron – Light transport
44 Squadron – Light transport
111 Squadron – Light transport (reserve)
140 Squadron – Light transport (reserve)
504 Squadron – Security
5 Air Servicing Unit – Maintenance support
Central Photographic Institute – Photographic services
JARIC, (Joint Air Reconnaissance Intelligence Centre) The SANDF National Imagery Exploitation Centre – Strategic Imagery Intelligence (IMINT) support
Mobile Deployment Wing – Emergency response
SAAF Telecommunications Centre – Communications
Ditholo Training Area is managed as an external component of AFB Waterkloof

1 August 2018 80th Birthday Celebration’s

At 07H00 members of the air force and invited guested assembled at Airforce Base Waterkloof at 28 Squadrons Hanger, as we waited for the days proceedings to start. We were welcomed  by Brig Gen M.K Petso, Officer Commanding AFB Waterkloof, a scripture reading and prayer was followed before the fly-past from a 44 Squadron Casa 212.A paradrop from the Pretoria Military Parachute Club who are all SANDF members jumped from a 28 Squadron C130BZ before ending a fly-past with the Casa, once all skydivers had landed safely.


44 Squadron Casa 212

28 Squadron C130BZ

28 Squadron C130BZ

Members were entertained from the SAAF Choir and SAAF Band, it was then time to cut  the 80th Anniversary Cake and a Aerial photo of an 80 with the member’s of the air force and invited guests. What a privilege to be part of the birthday celebrations and be part of that 80.All member’s had the opportunity  to carry on with the festivities, where braai areas were made use for invited guests and the use of 28 Squadrons bar area.

Brig Gen M.K. Petso and Brig Gen M.I Buthelezi


The Aviation Shop was present at the function with the shadow of two C130s in the hanger, where member’s could by their memorabilia of Aviation from die cast aircraft to mugs, key rings etc. You could also purchase a 80th anniversary hat for R60.

41 Squadron Cessna 208 Caravan

 

44 Squadron Casa 212

21 Squadron Cessna Citation

We would to wish AFB Waterkloof a happy birthday and many more safe years to come. Thanks to the SAAF for the invite. We looking forward to AAD2018 in a month and half time. We will be at the base a couple of days before the Trade and Airshow start.


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