South African Airforce Prestige Day Parade 2018

Air Force Base Zwartkop in Pretoria hosted this years Prestige day parade  with the celebration of the South African Air force (SAAF) turning 98 years old, which was established on the 1 February 1920.Airforce Base Zwartkop is South Africa’s oldest Air force base and the second oldest operational Air force base in the world. The evening before the parade VIPs and SANDF members were treated to a fly-past from a 2 Squadron Gripen going into a vertical maneuver while dropping flares at the prestige gala dinner at Air force Base Waterkloof.

The parades proceedings started with a fly-past of a pair of Agusta A109LUH Helicopters carrying the South African and SAAF flag in front of many VIP and SANDF members.The chief of the SAAF Lieutenant General Fabian Zakes Msimang,honored the not forgotten South African air force fallen members and highlighted the Airforces achievements during the course of last year.

The most prestigious unit of 2017 was awarded to Air Force Base Langebaanweg,under the commanding officer Brigadier General Mac Mathanda.The base is home to the Central Flying school and the cockpit ambassadors of the South African Air force the Silver Falcons.

Some of the many highlights the SAAF assisted during 2017 Lt Gen Msimang mentioned was the opening of parliament in Cape Town, Armed forces day in Durban, Air Power Capability demonstration at Roodewal Bombing Range in Limpopo, Exercise Winter Solstice which is an annual SAAF force preparation exercise, which forms part of and SANDF exercise called ‘NDLOVU’.Joint collaboration with the South African Navy in the ant-piracy effort in the Mozambique channel on the East Coast of Africa.Firefighting,specifically the rampant and vicious fires in Knysna and the Port Elizabeth areas. Operation Mistral also saw the Air force giving much need continuous support to the SANDF deployment in the DRC.In August and September 2017,the SAAF participated in a joint SADC exercise in Namibia called exercise Blue Kunene. The exercise was aimed at employing Air force assets in a joint anti multi-national operation. During the same period Air force assets participated in SADC exercises held in Tanzania. A 35 Squadron C47TP participated in Exercise Oxide on the Reunion Island in November 2017 in support of The South African Navy.

Lt Gen Msimang presented as we go into the 10th instalment of the African showpiece AAD2018,we will look forward to an increase participation of our African brothers and sisters, both as exhibitors as well as in the air display program.The focus areas for 2018 include an ethics awareness campaign, which is currently being pulled out, continued chess workshops and tournaments, as this grooms leaders in decision-making, and the establishment of an Air Force Academy of Excellence where all graduates will be commissioned as officers.

The fly pasts of Air force assets included a mass helicopter formation of three Oryx Helicopters, Three Agusta A109LUH and a single 16 Squadron UN Rooivalk.Next up was a 44 Squadron Casa 212,folowed by a 41 squadron PC12.The Silver falcons were next as did the 28 squadron C130BZ formed behind the smoke trailed by the Pilatus PC7MK11s.The final fly-past was made up of two Hawks from 85 Combat flying school plus two 2 Squadron Gripens breaking away with a roar of thunder echoing amongst the base.

The Chief of the Air force concluded that the each recipient on parade today must be congratulated and to the others member’s who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make an enjoyable and safe day. We wish the SAAF a SAAF year of flying both in the air and on the ground.

One Response to South African Airforce Prestige Day Parade 2018

  1. […] **The 2018 Airshow is Not part of this birthday celebrations** Read more… […]

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