Tag Archives: 85 combat flying school

SAAF Prestige Day Parade

The South African Airforce celebrated 99 years of its historic air force.
The SAAF was established on 1 February 1920. The Air Force has seen service in World War II, Korean War and the Angola Border War.

SAAF Band

The parade held on the 1 February 2019,started with a flypast by two Agusta A109LUHs,one from 19 Squadron and 15 Squadron. Shortly After we had the mass flypast by most current SAAF types. From the helicopters we had 3 Agusta A109LUHs,4 Oryx Helicopters,2 Museum Alouette IIIs and one 16 Squadron Rooivalk. The Museum flew a Cessna 185,A Bosbok and 3 Harvard’s. Two 41 Squadron Kings Airs flew overhead before the start of the jets howling overhead with two 85 Combat Flying School Hawk Mk120 jet trainers and the final flypast was by four 2 Squadron Gripens.

Agusta A109LUH Flag Flypast
SAAF Helicopter Flypast
SAAF Museum Harvards
41 Squadron King Airs
Silver Falcons
85 Combat Flying School Hawk MK120s
2 Squadron Gripens

Air Force Base Ysterplaat in the Western Cape was named as the prestige unit of 2018.Airforce Base Ysterplaat is home to 35 Squadron,22 Squadron and part of the SAAF Museum.


Colonel Carl Moatshe receiving the prestige unit Trophy for 2018

Lt General Msimang mentioned “The South African National Defence Force remains mandate driven to deliver safety and security to its people and to strengthen regional, continental and international peace and stability.”


Lt General Msimang

“I salute each and every women and man of the South African Airforce,uniformed and civilian, permanent force and reserve force, who through their commitment and passion to serve, ably met the challenges of 2018 with a high level of purpose.”

“Our successful outreach programs, namely: Siyandiza, Young Falcon and the winter and summer camps, continue to ignite young peoples passion in aviation through science and Mathematics. This year we shall introduce cyber awareness and robotics in our programs.

“As an Airforce we remain committed to the full integration and deployments of the A-Darter Missile whilst the future of the Rooivalk remains positive with possible upgrade continuing to be addressed and drawing interest from various partners. The relationship between ourselves and our industry remains a firm footing and we have no doubt that as part of South Africa’s “New Dawn” we will emerge even stronger. Through the National defence Industry Council, plans are afoot to implement significant interventions that will ensure the continued sustainability and survivability of our defence industry.”

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Africa Aerospace and Defence Airshow 2018

Africa Aerospace and Defence Airshow 2018

The 10th edition of the Africa Aerospace and Defence trade and airshow has come and gone, what was definitely the most exciting show we all looked forward to panned out to be a great success once again. The event took place over the 19th-23 September 2018 at Air force Base Waterkloof, Centurion, City of Tshwane.

AAD2018 Crowd

Static Park

The apron was full of aircraft and most of the hangers were full of all different companies showing off their technology to the world. The crowds were kept busy with all the walking through the halls and interacting with aircraft and pilots.

Crowds flocked to the gates around the base from the 22-23 September to get the best seat along the crowd line,this to insure they don’t miss any part of the exiting program Colonel Keith Fryer(flight director)  and Keith Andrews and their team put together to excite and show off air capabilities of the South African Airforce (SAAF). The Saturday show started off with the Sound of Freedom, that been the sound of jets, six Gripens from 2 Squadron and 3 Hawks from 85 Combat Flying School took to the skies and put a formation flypast over the crowds.What a way to start a airshow!

AAD2018 Crowd

With Airforce Base Swartkop down the road from Airforce Base Waterkloof, Swartkop was used as a second base for aircraft including the new microlight display team known as the Misasa Aerial Display-MAD Team. The team is made up of Adrienne Visser as lead, Pieter Kriel at the number two, Gary Heyenreich at number three, Gavin Van Der Berg at four and number five Marius Nel. It was great to see a microlight display team after the absence at airshows for some years now,we hope to see them on the regular airshow circuit in the future. There was a Airplane Factory Sling 4 and a Raven 500 formation Flypast.A mass Bathawk display was put on show, and is shown why its a great aircraft for Anti-Poaching missions.A light sky jeep was also thrown into the formation as well as the wagtail gyrocopter, all aircraft not shy to the African bush!

Raven 500

Wagtail

Capital Sounds once again had their ever hard working team at the event and this has to be the longest line of speakers that Capital has at a airshow in South Africa. Brian Emmenis and Leon Du Plessis informed the crowd of each aircraft taking to the skies and brought a lot of the airshow vibe to Waterkloof.

Capital Sounds Team AAD2018

Capital Sounds

Lieutenant colonel Craig “Shark” Lesson once again did 85 Combat Flying School proud,as he put the Hawk Mk120 through its paces.The Officer Commanding 85 Combat Flying School displayed both one of the Flag Hawks’271′ and one of the grey aircraft during the course of AAD2018.Andrew Blackwood Murray flew his Nashua Extra 300 and Neville Ferriria flew his Slick 540 with a combined aerobatic sequence with high energy aerobatics and low knife edge passes so the crowd could capture the sleek lines on both aircraft. Neville Ferreria had just returned from Hungry where he is flying the Geneavation Aerobatic aircraft for the country. He is surely doing South Africa proud!

Hawk MK120 ‘Vlaggie’

Hawk MK120 ‘262’

Andrew Blackwood Murray Extra 300

Slick 540 Neville Ferreira

Paramount Groups AHRLAC aircraft did some tight formation flying and was defiantly a way to show it off to the worlds market of defence. Staying with the locally manufactured aircraft the 16 Squadron Rooivalk was put through its paces in the UN white livery by Major Paul ‘Raccoon’ Kempthorn, at the end of his display he released a large amount of flares,a great end to a display!

Paramount Group AHRLACs

Paramount Group AHRLACs

16 Squadron Rooivalk

16 Squadron Rooivalk

The Rand Airport based Puma Flying Lions  Harvards and Taillifts Cows Pitts Specials flew their usual display infront of the 45 000+ crowds.The SAAF Museum and Harvard Club Harvards and a single Douglas DC4 did a couple of formation Flypasts over the crowd and brought back many memory’s of the former SAAF trainer before the Harvard was replaced by the Pilatus PC7MKII. The DC4 then went onto doing a solo display flown by Captain Bill Good.

Puma Flying Lions Harvards

Taillifts Cows Aerobatic Pitts Team

Mass Radial Display

Harvard Club

Harvard Club

Douglas DC4

Douglas DC4

The cockpit ambassadors of the South African Airforce The Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team 82,put on a great display led by Major Omphile Matloane who received his Golden Wings  a couple of days before the start of AAD2018.Lt Colonel Glen Wraden flew the Aero L29 from AFB Swartkop, The Airforce of Zimbabwe K8 was also flown with a support CASA 212 on static display.

Silver Falcons

Silver Falcons PC7MKIIs

Falcon 5 Sivu Tangana

L29

L29

K8

K8

There were two mini-wars on the day of the show,both from the SAAF Museum and from the current SAAF inventory of aircraft.A vast amount of pyrotechnics and armored vehicles were used during the show.

SAAF Museum Bosbok and Cessna C185

Ratels

Oryx Helicopters

Top Cover Rooivalk and Hawks

Ivan van Der Schaar and Jon-Marc Hill, Juba Jourbet flew the Bi-plane formation that being a Boeing Stearman and Antonov 2 ‘Little Annie’.Later in the day Little Annie escorted by the Stearman dropped a large amount of Manhattan Marshmellows for the crowds.

AN2 and Boeing Stearman

AN2 ‘Little Annie’

Annie Drop AAD2018

AN2 marshmallow drop

2 Squadron was well represented at the show once again,we were able to see six Gripens in formation,two Gripens in the mini-war and a solo gripen display flown by Major Geoffrey ‘Spartan’ Cooper and a 2v1 combat routine.

2 Squadron Gripens

Gripen JAS39D flown by ‘Midnite’ and ‘Bluebird’

Gripens being flown by ‘Cipher’ and ‘Doberman’

28 Squadron was busy during the mini-war delivering troops into the simulated battle-zone, Lt Col Clint Hawtrey also gave one of the best C130BZ displays to date. What a display it was to witness!

C130BZ

C130BZ dropping flares

C130BZ during the mini-war

A huge of congrats must go to the organisers of AAD2018

Florence Musengi-AAD Chairperson

Simphiwe Hamilton-Excutive Director

Leon Dillman-CEO CAASA

Leona Redelinghuys-Exhibition Director

Marketing and Public Relations-Nakedi Phasha

Youth Development Program-Kholisile Khumalo

General Fabian Zimpande “Zakes” Msimang-Chief of the South African Airforce

The 11th Edition of Africa Aerospace and Defence, AAD2020, will take place 16 – 20 September 2020. 2020 SAAF and the Aero Club of South Africa will be celebrating their centenary birthdays and this creating lots of expectations among young and old to see a Super Show. All we can do is wait and see what they deliver and how many Countries except the invite to join South Africa on this centenary celebrations.

 

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Air Power Capability Demonstration 2018

Air Power Capability demonstration  2018 

One of the more exciting events the SAAF invites media and VIP guests to is the Air Power Capability demonstration, this year the event was in conjunction with the Africa Aerospace and Defence show which is currently been held at Airforce Base Waterkloof in Pretoria.The purpose of the exercise is to invigorate the SAAF’s combat readiness and its role in peace support operations.

Media and guests were once again flown up to Polokwane Gateway International Airport before been transported by bus to the Roodewal Bombing Range around 40 minutes drive from Polokwane.On a arrival SAAF Fire and Rescue Services had already been fighting ranging fires in the area as well as some Oryx helicopters who were working hard with the assist of the choppers capabilities of using a “babi’ bucket to put the fires out.

A safety briefing was followed by the Chief of the South African Airforce General Fabian Zimpande “Zakes” Msimang and other military personnel,the demo started off with pathfinders who excited an Oryx Helicopter and landed in the simulated battle zone.A recce run was then carried out by a Gripen and Hawk,the Gripen continued to orbit before exciting the battle area.Two Oryx Helicopters then came in for a water drop again assisted with their bambi bucket.

Path finders exciting the Oryx

Pathfinders

Hawk and Gripen Recce run

2 Squadron JAS39C Gripen

Two Oryx Helicopters with Bambi Buckets

The sound of thunder was then echoing the skies of Roodewal with a mock dog fight between a enemy hawk and two friendly Gripens. The fighters then joined up for a friendly flypast. A single C130BZ and a CASA 212 performed a cargo drop before the return of the helicopters followed by a single A109LUH and a BK117 landed in the battle zone bringing in the first of the troops. At the same time two 16 Squadron Rooivalks provided top cover.It was unfortunately not long after that a Oryx had a hard landing resulting to the end of the exercise.The crew and troops were lucky to have light injuries from the landing.

Gripen and Hawk Formation

C130BZ Cargo drop

Agusta A109LUH

15 Squadron ‘C’ Flight BK117

16 Squadron Rooivalk

Oryx Helicopter

“The crash landing happened in front of invited guests, foreign diplomats and the media. As the aircraft hit the ground part of the tail rotor and wheel collapsed. When the helicopter came to a stop quick thinking by the crew saw the engines cut,” he said.

Colonel Eugene Motati of SAAF Corporate Communication said: “The unfortunate incident occurred and as you all know details are not clear. We can confirm the pilot was Lieutenant Colonel King, we are thankful there were no fatalities or major injuries, just a minor ankle injury to one person. You witnessed this occurrence during the trooping manoeuvre, at the moment we do not suspect mechanical failure and we don’t want to speculate further. We hope the board of enquiry will give more details and the cause of the accident.

“I want to emphasise we are happy with the reaction of the aircrew controlling the aircraft without any further damage. It could have been worse if not correctly handled. So we are proud of the performance of our airmen, they displayed excellent airmanship in that space of time, because it happened so quickly.“The crew and troops were able to extract safely from the aircraft.”

The event ended by a c130BZ dropping flares and a single Gripen passing overhead the guests going into a vertical at the same time dropping flares.A quick supper and we were off back to Polokwane and a 40 minutes flight back to Waterkloof.

C130BZ Flare drop

2 Squadron Gripen

SAAF Museum Airshow 2018

SAAF Museum Airshow 2018

The long awaited annual SAAF Museum Airshow was held on the 5th May 2018,on some what perfect airshow weather.The show was conducted under the theme:Our Indomitable Spirit,both Civilian and Military aircraft and pilots showed off to the thousands of people that arrived early on Saturday morning at Air force Base Swartkop along side old Johannesburg Road in Valhalla, Pretoria. The SAAF Museum Airshow is designed to offer aviation enthusiasts, aviation institutions and publications ,the general public and as well as former and current SAAF an opportunity to reflect and or reminisce on the memories and presentations on history.

Youth exhibition Friday 2018-05-04

The day before the SAAF Museum and the SAAF hosted a career expo for learners around the Gauteng area. 14 different schools and a total of 1000 learners were invited to Hanger 4A to interact with some of the exhibiters including the south African Air Force.


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The Airshow Saturday 2018-05-05

The show started with paragliders who filled the skies with much colour to their bright chutes they were using as well as a single gyrocopter all operating out of the Grasslands field not to far from Swartkops. Next up the 28 Squadron C130BZ from AFB Waterkloof landed with a special surprise in being the SAAF Band that entertained the crowds until the show was officially opened, This has never been done at a airshow before in South Africa. The C130 then took off from the base to  climb to altitude to drop the several  parachutists from both the Golden Eagles Parachute team and member’s of the special forces.The landed just in time to meet and greet the Chief of the South African Air force Lieutenant General Fabian Zimpande Msimang and Officer Commanding Airforce Museum Swartkops Lieutenant Colonel Melvin Bruintjies.


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Capital Sounds provided sound equipment for the large crowd line, excellent commentary from Brian Emmenis,L eon Du Plessis and Elvis Manene. SAAF commentators that provided information for the ever eager public was Colonel Lance ‘Lancelot’ Mathebula who also provided commentary from one of the Hawk Mk120s during simulated top cover during the mini war.A first for a airshow. He was also joined by two new hawk pilots Captain ‘Comet’ Mfeka and Tiisetso ‘Lego’ Legodi.

Airboss for the show was Colonel Keith Fryer and also commentated during some of the display slots, Colonel Keith Andrews was ramp Boss and some of the best SAAF ATC’s were present keeping the airspace safe for display routines.

The show was opened by the Hawk Mk120 ‘Gannet’ flown by officer commanding of 85 Combat Flying School Craig ‘Shark’ Leeson,showing what the lead in fighter trainer is capable of and training the new generation fighter pilots on the type. The SAAF Museum heritage flight were straight after the Hawk landed,first up the helicopters consisting of the Alouettes II and III and Aerospatiale Puma.The Cessna 185s were soon over head the field followed by the formidable sound of the Atlas C4.M Kudu and Bosbok and Harvards.Glen ‘Gringo’ Warden flew a gentle solo display in the De Havilland T55 Vampire.


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The Rand Based Pitts Special teams flew their high energy display being the new Cows Aerobatic Team and the Goodyear Eagles Aerobatic Team led by Glen Warden, Johan Von Solms both ex fighter pilots joined Nigel Hopkins and Jason Beamish.  Team Extreme performed their first airshow as a four ship led by Nigel Hopkins,Mark ‘Sammy’ Sampson,Mark ‘Bugs’ Hensman and Jason Beamish. The Mango 737-800 was flown out of Lanseria International Airport to display  at the show by Captain Scully Levin and Captain Rodney Chinn.The Puma Flying Lions also flew a great display and were part of the 12 Harvard mass shutdown towards the end of the day!


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Andrew Blackwood Murray Displayed the Nashua Extra 300L and other aerobatic  slots saw Patrick Davidson who flew up from Port Elizabeth in his Red Bull Sponsored Sbach 342, it was great to see Patrick at a airshow on the Highveld, he was joined by unlimited aerobatic class pilot Barrie Eels in his new Extra 330sc in a dual display of intense aerobatics.


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Ex Russian Jet trainers that flew at the show was Ex Sasol Tiger L29 ZU-AUX and L39 ZU-TEE in its new colour scheme,both flown by  Glen ‘Gringo’ Warden.He definitely kept the photographers happy with his display passes.

The mini war that the crowd got to witness was a absolute treat to see the new and the old from the choppers,that being the Puma and the Oryx helicopters. The gunships saw the Alouette III and Rooivalk and two Agusta A109LUHs.The bosbok was also flown in the demonstration simulating airstrikes as well as two Hawk MK120s flown by Simon ‘Seraph’ Theunissen and Jabulani ‘Cyrax’ Mabona. The C130 was  used to drop parabats on the far side of the field and the 44 Squadron Casa 212 was utilized for a supply drop, while the army engineers provided pyrotechnics in the background.


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Major Geoffrey ‘Spartan’ Cooper showed off the JAS39C Gripen from 2 Squadron, he definitely  shows the aircraft well and in its limits. The crowds were on their feet during his famous dump and burn. The Pilatus PC7MKII was put through its paces by Major Bheki ‘Swaziboy’ Shabungu. 15 Squadron pilot Major Diaan Grobbelaar flew a awesome display in the Agusta A109LUH as well as Paul ‘Raccoon’ Kempthorn in the 16 squadron Rooivalk,great display from the chopper boys.


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The youngest airshow participant on the day was Ger-Drie de Beer flew his RC MX2,what a great display he did for the thousands of people he displayed for. Retired Gen. Des Barker few the first airshow display in the Atlas Angel, which is a upgraded Kudu with a Pt6 turbine engine, Gerrie ‘Sparkie’Pretorius flew a brilliant tight display in the Museum Cessna C185.

‘Little Annie’ an Antonov 2 showed why its the worlds largest Bi-Plane piloted by father and son team Mark and Jon-marc Hill. Jeff Earle flew his Vereeniging based De Havilland DH. 82 Tiger Moth.The Randolph  sponsored Boeing Stearman flown by Comair Boeing Captain Ivan van der Schaar.28 Squadron flew their usual low-level routine in the C130Bz from 28 Squadron flown by Clint Hawtrey and Caro Duven.


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The SAAF Museum Puma dropped a car that apparently parked where it shouldn’t of been ,the public made sure it wasn’t their vehicle at the end of the day.At the end of the last act being the Gripen,Captain Mark Kelbrick proposed to his wife to be in front of of a large crowd who waited until the last slot of the day had been flown.

Gripen stopping in-front of the crowd at the end of the show… all for one reason…

Photo credit Niel Swart

Big congratulations to Mark and Megan that stole the show when as went down on one knee and proposed to her before the whole of the crowd in front of Gripen

Photo credit Niel Swart

This Museums show was definitely a winner, to Colonel Trish Schoeman, Colonel Melvin Bruintjies, Col. Keith Fryer and their team, we salute you on a great show and to all the spectators who attended the Airshow, till next year

Keep them Up where they’re belong

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Destruction is our business, 85 Combat Flying School

Destruction is our business, 85 Combat Flying School

85 Combat Flying School located at AFB Makhado (Airforce Base Makhado) in the Northern part of the Limpopo province of South Africa.The town is known as Fighter Town South Africa,and keeps two of South Africas prime fighter aircraft that the SAAF (South African Airforce) has to offer to protect our airspace. The BAE Hawk Mk120 and SAAB Jas39 C/D aircraft, took over the the role of the Aermacchi MB236 Impala Mk1 and Mk11 and Denel Cheetah C/D from the begenning of 2006 and 2008.

Photo:Franz Dely,Impala MkII ‘1085’

The Bombing Gunnery and Air Navigation School (BGANS) came into being a Langebaanweg on 1 August 1946 following the re-designation of the Air Gunnery and Navigation School.The unit was equipped with Avro Ansons,this was to train pilots in the secondary roles that comprised the original observer qualification.

Photo:SAAF

During the Korean War, South Africa’s commitment of 2 Squadron flying P51 Mustangs and F86 Sabres of the United Nations,Air Operations School(AOS) assumed the operational training of both permanent force and short-service commission pilots for service in the Far East as its primary role. Sabre’s were then sent to 85 Combat Flying school on 31 Octerber 1975.

Photo:Doug Drysdale

In October 1952 the School was introduced to the jet age when the first four de Havilland Vampire FB.MK5s,Seven FB.MK6s and solitary T.MK11s trainers were taken on strength to be used for type conversion.

Photo:Stefaan Bouwer.

Photo:George Wiehehn, Spitfire MkIXes ‘5591’

At the end of World War Two, the various flying, bombing and gunnery schools were disbanded and a single Bombing, Gunnery and Navigation School was established at Langebaanweg in 1946. In the 1950’s, the name changed to Air Operations School, flying Harvards, Spitfire MkIXes, Vampire T11s, FB52s and T55s. The unit moved to Pietersburg in October 1967 and in 1970 the Vampires were replaced by the Impala Mk I.

Photo:Franz Dely,Impala MK1 ‘585’ over AFB Hoedspruit 2004.

Known for its flight-training and combat operations school,85 combat flying school was formed in 1982 at AFB Pieteresburg,now Polokwane Gateway International Airport,at that time the unit was operating de Havilland Vampires MK52s and Mk55.South African Airforce Museum has still got an airworthy Vampire T55 flying at AFB Zwartkop in Pretoria that can be seen at Museum Flying Days and Pretoria Airshows.The Impala MK1  replaced the Vampires 1972.The Mirage IIIEZ/DZ/D2Z were added to the unit in 1974 and Sabres from 1 Squadron in 1975.The Sabre was withdrawn from service in 1980 and replaced by the Impala MK2 aircraft.

Photo:SAAF,Airforce Base Hoedspruit 85 Combat Flying School Static display.


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Photo:SAAF,Dassualt Mirage IIID2Z.

Photo:Jarryd Sinovich,de Havilland Vampire T55 SAAF Museum Flying Day February 2018.

85 Combat Flying School recieved its Unit Colours at a parade on 4 October 1988,the 21st Anniversary of its formation and National Colours a year later.On the initiative of then Officer Commanding(OC) Cmdt John Bayne Impala MKII 1063 was painted up in the Units familiar Gannet Badge in blue and white for the 25th anniverasry of its Establishment in September 1992.The aircraft was a regular preformer at Airshows around South Africa.

83 Jet Flying School Langebaanweg was also closed and has become part of 85 Combat Flying School, previous home to the Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team. The Silver Falcons Aerobatic team is now part of Langebaanweg Central Flying School,flying the PC7MKII.The Silver Falcons operated from Langebaanweg until the early 1990s, when all the Impala training was moved to Air Force Base Hoedspruit, in the Lowveld region of South Africa, and formed part of 85 Combat Flying School. During 1994 with a new national flag, the aircraft were repainted to represent the colours of the SA Air Force: blue, light blue and white.

Falcon 1 of the Silver Falcons at an Airshow 2000

Falcon 1 Photo:Russel dixon-paver

Top: Atlas Impala MKII 1063 ‘Gannet’ 1992.

Below:BAE Hawk MK120 267 ‘Gannet’2017.

The unit was then relocated to AFB Hoedspruit on January 1993 due to the closure of AFB Pietersburg.During this period the unit was using the Impala Mk1 and MkII aircraft,all mirages had been withdrawn from service..The Squadron carried out its role in the South African Airforce until the Impala both MKI and MKIIs were retired from service in 2005 and soon we had the introductory of the latest Hawk MK100 from BAE systems that got showcased to South Africa during the SAAFS 75th Anniveary Airshow at AFB Waterkloof in 1995.

Photo:BAE Systems,Bae Hawk 100 Demostrator seen in South Africa during 1995 and up to 2002.

BAE Systems Hawk is a British single-engine, jet-powered advanced trainer aircraft. It was first flown at Dunsfold, Surrey, in 1974 as the Hawker Siddeley Hawk, and subsequently produced by its successor companies, British Aerospace and BAE Systems, respectively. It has been used in a training capacity and as a low-cost combat aircraft.The Royal Airforce Aerobatic display team,The Red Arrows also use the Hawk as part of their aerobatic display assests and a training role.The Hawk MK120 is an upgraded Hawk T1,Aircraft number SA001, which was manufactured through to Final Assembly stages at Brough and flight-tested at Warton, successfully flew in South Africa early in 2004. Final Assembly of the remaining 23 aircraft was undertaken by Denel in South Africa, with flight-testing taking place in the South African Air Force’s Test Flight & Development Centre (TFDC) in Bredasdorp.

Photo:Franz Dely,first SAAF Hawk ‘250’ part of the TFDC unit in Bredasdorp.

Photo:Jarryd Sinovich, Hawk Mk120 ‘269’ landing at Airforce Base Zwartkop Pretoria May 2016,making use of the aircrafts drag chute.

Hawks ‘273’&’269′ airborne out of AFB Waterkloof September 2016

Today 85 Combat Flying School still lives up to its vision ‘Fighter Training Excellence’where some of the best new generation fighter pilots are trained before moving onto the SAAB Jas39 Gripen.The equipment for pilots training, the unit has a state of the art simulator,Ground school Falicities and so more to offer.To this day the OC of 85CFS is Lt Col Craig’Shark’Leeson,who is also the Squadrons Hawk display pilot during South Africas Airtshow season.Shark last year celebrated his 1 000 flying hour achievment on the Hawk Mk120 on friday,20 January 2017,he has flown 9 different types of fighter jets and is a A-category instructor on Hawk and Gripen.

Photo:Jarryd Sinovich,Hawk MK120 ‘271’ at AFB Zwartkop May 2017.Lt Col.Craig ‘Shark’ Leeson,Officer Commanding 85 Combat Flying School Currently.

Photo:Jarryd Sinovich,Silver Falcons Hawk formation,Kishugu Lowveld Airshow 2015.

Some information on the Hawk MK120

Aircraft Stats:
Powerplant: 1 x 6,500 lb (2 950 kg) Rolls-Royce Adour 951 turbofan

Speed: 1 038 kph, 645mph mph

Range: 2 594km, 1,612miles

Seats: 2

Length: 12.43m, 40ft 9in

Span: 9.94m, 7ft 7in

Empty Weight: 4 400kg, 9,700lb

Max T/O Weight: 9 100kg, 20,062lb

Period of Service: 2006 – Current

 

Weapons:
12.5 kg Practice Bomb, 120 kg Fragmentation Bomb, 120 kg Low-Drag Bomb, 145 kg Bomb, 4.5 kg Practice Bomb, 460 kg Bomb, Aden 30mm cannon, IRIS-T, Vicon 18-601E recce pod.

Photo:Jarryd Sinovich,Hawk ‘272’ making use of its 30mm Aden Cannon at Roodewal Bombing Range September 2016.

Hawk Mk120 ‘273’ AAD2016

We  wish 85 all the best for their future,Flying the flag and continuing to train world class fighter pilots..Noise from above is always a welcome  in Gauteng skies,The sound of freedom fighter pilots would say!Below are some pictures of Hawk taken all over South Africa and a Video featuring Craig ‘Shark’ Leeson during his display at the Saaf Museum Airshow 2017 taken by Shawn Herbst.

Click to enlarge photos below

 

SANDF De Brug Weapons Capability Demonstration Feb 2018

With the build up to the Armed forces day parade being held in Kimberley, the following day Wednesday the 21 February, much of the public have been getting up close and personal with both SANDF members and assets that have been put on showcase to the community who haven’t had the chance to interact with these forms of assets in this particular area with the major presence of SANDF.

On Sunday the 18th February, members of the public were able to attend the De Brug weapons demo, at the De brug weapons range outside of Bloemfontein. This also had a major impact on the public to witness live ammunition being fired in front of their faces from armored vehicles,ati-aircraft Guns and aerial support just to name a few.

Competition

On Tuesday morning 21 February ,Aviation Central had the opportunity to be flown down from Air force Base Waterkloof in Pretoria to AFB Bloemspruit situated at the Bram Fisher International Airport in the Free state town of Bloemfontein.Air force base (AFB) Bloemspruit is home to 87 Helicopter Flying school, operating the Denel Oryx Helicopter, the Agusta A109LUH and the Bk117 for training and operational duties in the South African Air force(SAAF).

We were then allocated to buses that would be taking us out to the De brug weapons range a few kilometers outside of the City of Bloemfontein. With the advantage the SANDF had the Military Police and other security squadrons escorting the buses,which onboard was members of the various media houses and Invited guests ,who got to the weapons range in no time. At this point this have many of the media who haven’t been to De Brug Weapons Range to explore the ‘Koppies’ behind the marquee that was specially put up to provide shade and refreshments.

 

This is also showed how big the range was compare to other bombing ranges that Aviation Central has visited in previous years.What we had been hearing and seeing on Social media from the demo a few days before we knew we were in for a treat that not many people can say they have ever witnessed in their lifetime.

The days proceedings started with a drop of pathfinders from a 44 Squadron Casa 212,the jet action started immediately with a 85 Combat Flying School Hawk Mk120 and being escorted by two 2 Squadron Gripens,both fighter assets operating out of AFB Bloemspruit.

The program then continued sticking with the fighters, when the airspace in front of the crowd, got very busy with a 2v1 dogfight,using the Hawk Mk120 as the bogey(Enemy Aircraft) and two Gripens  intercepting the Hawk.

The Army engineers of the South African Army were next in line to show off the earth shattering explosions that were set off.The Air force was then overhead again, this time with Two 28 Squadron C130BZs dropping a parachute cargo drop and 64 paratroopers.

As soon as the area was clear from the Para drop and troops were brought out of the weapons zone, Ratels drove into the firing zone and engaged with small arms fire.

The battlefield was then kicked up with the roar the big guns the Olifant Mk1 Tanks and Rooikats kicking up dust from their cannon fire.

The air force was at it again, with two Agusta A109LUH performing a search and Rescue situation of a “simulated downed aircraft,”with 3 Oryx helicopters bringing troops to and from the batttlezone.At the same time Rooivalk atttack helicopters from 16 Squadron provided top cover.

Fast movers were then sent in to drop bombs ranging from the Mk81 and Mk82 bombs released from Gripen and Hawk fighter aircraft. It was also the first time seeing Gripens shooting their cannons.The usual 30mm Aden cannon from the Hawk was also put to use on the battle zone.

The two Rooivalk attack helicopters in attendance demonstrated the type of flying they sometimes do during peacekeeping operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, raining 20 mm cannon fire down and unleashing 70 mm rockets onto the battlefield.

The demo was slowly coming to a close, the various aircraft that took part gave fly pasts which included 4 Hawks,5 gripens,3 Oryx Helicopters,2 A109s,2 Rooivalks and a C130.The main battle tanks and armoured vehicles then proceeded to give a salute to the Chief of the SANDF in a parade.

The guests and media were then treated to a display from the Silver Falcons of team 81,led by Major Mark”Katana”Gentles.Solo displays from the Hawk Mk120,flown by Lt Col Craig”Shark”Leeson and the Gripen flown by Major Geoffrey”Spartan”Cooper released flares during the course of their displays.

The night shoot then took place just after dusk showing off from the smallest arms fire to the biggest arms fire in the SANDF,this included assault rifles, machineguns, RPGs, mortars, Ratel 90 mm rounds and Olifant tank rounds.

Rooivalks then engaged the battlefield again with 70mm rockets and 20mm gun fire. The aircraft then closed off with flares over the battlezone

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Chief of the SANDF General Solly Shoke said the capability demonstration was part of normal training but was held in the run-up to Armed Forces Day to show the public what the armed forces do. “We train to be ready at all times,” he said, and added that the response from the people of Kimberley who previously came to witness the demonstration was “overwhelming”.

The next day being a early start of the Armed forces day parade in Kimberly, which saw new South African President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the parade.

More photos Below, click to enlarge

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