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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