Tag Archives: Hawk MK120

SAAF Museum Airshow 2023 to be a returnable hit

The South African Air Force Museum Airshow at Mobile Deployment Wing (MDW) Swartkop previously Air Force Base Swartkop is shaping up to be an airshow spectacular!

This will be a welcome return of the SAAF Museum Airshow after the covid-19 pandemic and no airshows taking place at MDW for three years.

The build-up to the show will see the now-familiar Gautrain vs Alouette race on the morning of 3rd May. As well as the start of airshow validations with a lot more aircraft activity over the city of Tshwane skies.

The youth development program will also take place the day before the show for a handful of high school learners wishing to choose a career in aviation.

A number of airshow favorites from the South African Air Force fighter line, the Gripen from 2 Squadron and the Hawk Mk120 from 85 Combat Flying School from AFB Makhado will be put through their paces on the 6th of May 2023. Central Flying School will also provide a Pilatus PC7 MKII display

SAAB Gripen
BAE Hawk MK120
Pilatus PC7MKII

The SAAF Museum will put most of its flying exhibits into the show including the Cessna C185, Kudu, Bosbok, Harvard, Alouettes, and Puma Helicopter.

SAAF Museum Cessna C185
SAAF Museum Kudu
SAAF Museum Bosbok
SAAF Museum Harvard
SAAF Museum Alouette II
SAAF Museum Puma Helicopter

Rotary assets we will see Airforce Station Gqeberha based BK-117 from 15 Squadron “Charlie” flight.
16 Squadron mighty Rooivalk will also be flown showing South Africa’s locally built combat support helicopter. We will also see an Agusta A109LUH and Oryx helicopters!

MBB/Kawasaki BK 117
Rooivalk CSH
Agusta A109LUH
Oryx Helicopter

Civilian participants will include the Puma Flying Lions Harvard’s, Goodyear Pitts Specials, and Classic Flying Collections de Havilland Chipmunks, Tiger Moths and Auster as well as many others!

Puma Flying Lions Harvards
Goodyear Pitts Specials
Classic Flying Collection de Haviland chipmunks

Members of the public are to be aware aircraft can be pulled off the program due to operational needs, serviceability, and weather dependent.

A variety of beverages will be on sale on the day from many of the kiosks as well as memorabilia from different squadrons, restoration projects, and others!

Tickets are on sale at Computicket nationwide, tickets will also be available at the gate on the 6th of May. Gates open at 7 am and the show starts at 9 am

Tickets are available on the link below!

https://tickets.computicket.com/event/saaf_museum_air_show/7212629/7212658/129083

Where to find the Airshow Venue / Airport

Also, Read Do’s and Don’ts attending an Airshow
Also, Read Airshow photography, the Canon way

Armed Forces Day Richards Bay 2023

Richards bay in the northern part KwaZulu-Natal, was this years host city to welcome the South African National Defence as part of armed forces day. This saw all arms of service descend into the coastal town.


This including the South African Army, South African Navy, South African Air Force and the South African Military Health Service.

Armed Forces day is celebrated to remember the sinking of the SAS Mendi which sunk in the English channel in 1917, which saw a number of South Africans perishing in the incident. On 21 February 1917 a large cargo steamship, Darro, collided with her in the English Channel south of the Isle of Wight. Mendi sank, killing 646 people, mostly black South African troops, as well as white Southern African officers and NCOs, and crew.

SAS Mendi

Armed Forces day in Richards Bay got to show the citizens of South Africa their National Defence Force. This saw a fan park, where they were able to interact with service men and women and see a number of static displays. It was also and opportunity for the youth to choose a career with the recruitment drive that was also on offer. A fun run was also included the public to take part in.

The arena display was also a favorite with the Navy drill squad. The K9 unit, a capability demonstration, including a bridge build, Motorcycle track demonstration, a skydive drop from a 44 Squadron Casa 212-300 was just to name a few!
Air displays included a 85 Combat Flying School Hawk Mk120 and the Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team.

Unfortunately with the recent rain downpour around the country including KZN. The capability demonstration on Naval Island located in the harbour of Richards Bay could not take place.

However the Night shoot both the public day and invited guested only event at alkantstrand beach did take place. Making its public live firing debut the Denel Land Systems Badger. A number of other armored vehicles took part including the Ratel,127mm Bateleur and more.

An air display by the Hawk Mk120 flown by Major Rehan “Kaine” Venter. A 16 Squadron Rooivalk Helicopter display was also presented by Raccoon.

85 Combat Flying School Hawk MK120 flown by Rehan “Kaine” Venter
16 Squadron Rooivalk Attack Helicopter flown by Raccoon

The parade took place on the 21st February. Where president Cyril Ramaphosa attended the historical event. Who also handed over a dozen medals during the proceedings.

As usual the SANDF put on a great parade including matching  coloums, mechanised columns and a flypast.
The flypast included a flags flown by three Agusta A109LUHs at the beginning of the parade and twenty one gun salute.

Agusta A109LUHs

A mass helicopter fly-past including four Agusta A109LUHs, a Rooivalk and Oryx Helicopter.

Mass Helicopter Formation

The Silver Falcons Aerobatic team who also gave a mini flat display at the end of the fly pasts.

Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team

And finally the combat formation making up of three Hawk Mk120s from 85 Combat Flying School and two 2 Squadron JAS39C Gripens. Bringing the sound of freedom to the streets of Richards Bay.

Combat Formation- Hawk MK120s & 2 Squadron Gripen JAS39C

The reasoning to these events are not just to show the defence force off but comes as a deployment and training to all arms of service. Next years armed forces day will take place in Gauteng.

Browse through our gallery below!

SAAF Prestige Parade 2023

The South African Airforce Prestige Day Parade once again took place at Air Force Base Swartkop in the City Of Tshwane, celebrating 103 years of airpower in South Africa.

Most years prestige parades have seen some awful weather including alot of rain downpours and low cloud, resulting in no flying for any aircraft and parades been cut short.This year we were welcomed with clear skies and scorching hot temperatures as we neared midday.

The South African Airforce is the second oldest air force in the world after the Royal Airforce after been formed of the 20th February 1920. Making the SAAF 103 years old this year!

 Air Force Base Swartkop is South Africa’s oldest air force base and operational and houses the South African Air Force Museum and 17 Squadron just to mention the flying squadrons.

The evening before ,Heartfelt Arena near 1 Military Hospital, hosted the SAAFs Prestige evening. The venue was also the perfect place to capture some amazing sunset shots of various flypast including the Museum Helicopter Formation, Silver Falcons and Hawk Mk120 Formations. A number of awards were handed out to various bases and squadrons for their outstanding contribution to the Airforce.

The parade began with the national and South African Airforce flag flown by two Agusta A109LUHs while the chief of the South African Airforce Lieutenant General Wiseman Mbambo took the general salute with canon fire in the background below bays hill.

Colonel Donovan Chetty, the Officer Commanding of Air Force Base Overberg, in the Western Cape,was announced the trophy of Best Performing Air Force Base!

The Chief of Airforce Lieutenant General Wiseman Mbambo & Colonel Donovan Chetty, the  Officer Commanding of Air Force Base Overberg, in the Western Cape

With the theme Free the “Eagle as the air forces motto now stands. Invited Guests and media at the parade got to witness marching columns, Airforce band, a flypast, a fast jet air display and a VIP protection display to conclude the days activities by 500 security squadron.

15 Squadron Agusta A109LUH from AFB Durban,KZN

The mass flypast began with a number of rotary wing assets from various squadrons around South Africa as well as the SAAF Museum.

The helicopter formation was led by a 15 Squadron “Charlie Flight” BK-117, with two Oryx,two Agusta A109LUHs,two Alouette IIs and two Alouette IIIs helicopters.

Helicopter Formation

The Museum fixed wing formation were overhead next with a Cessna C185,Bosbok and two Harvards.

Museum fixed-wing formation

The next formation of the mass flypast were The Pilatus PC7MKII formation from Central Flying School, AFB Langebaanweg with both Silver Falcon members and Central Flying School pilots.

Astra Formation

The final flypast with the form of three Hawk Mk120s lead in fighter trainers from 85 Combat Flying School, based at AFB Makhado.The invited guests were also treated to a solo display by the Hawk Mk120 flown by Major Rehan “Kaine” Venter.

Gannet Formation
Hawk MK120 Solo display by “Kaine”

After the parade the Chief of Airforce Lieutenant General Wiseman Mbambo invited the media to a media briefing in the WAAF officers mess near the museum hangar exhibits area of Swartkop. A topic that has been on the cards for a while now was the acquiring additional Lockheed C-130s, said “in our road going forward, the medium lift capability is right in the centre of our attention.”

“Also, there is a lot of talk around the strategic lift capability. This is not a surprise as to why this capability is being mentioned. The reality we face is South Africa is not in a strategic position. Our location cannot be changed. We need to have very strong legs to connect ourselves to the rest of the continent and the world.”

Video by Karl Spangenberg

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AAD2022 closes on a high note

Working against the clock in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the organisers of Africa
Aerospace and Defence (AAD) stand proud for having delivered yet another signature event
this year.


The 11th edition of this long-standing event took place at Air Force Base Waterkloof (AFBW)
in Pretoria from 21 to 25 September, under the theme: “Exploring New Paths, Sharing
Solutions, Showcasing Innovation and Capabilities.”


As the executive chairman of the AAD2022 organising committee Sandile Ndlovu, who is also Executive Director of the South African Aerospace, Maritime, and Defence Industry
Association (AMD), the lead partner that hosted AAD2022, said in his welcome message:


“We have worked hard to ensure that every participant at this edition of AAD will have value
for money; we have adopted a diversification strategy that ensures the continued relevance
of AAD in this fast-changing world.”
The partners are AMD, Armscor, the Commercial Aviation Association of South Africa
(CAASA), supported by the Department of Defence.


Over the intervening 20 years, AAD has firmly established a winning format, which was
replicated again. Thus, AAD2022 comprised exhibition stands to showcase capabilities, static
aircraft park, air show days, and runway-facing hospitality chalets. This was augmented with
mobility demonstrations for land and air technologies, coupled to live screening of
demonstrations – now including UAV display flights. In parallel, conferences and seminars
were hosted, and significant opportunities for B2B meetings.


In spite of the long hiatus since the last edition of AAD (2018), coupled with the many global
uncertainties that prevailed post the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, all efforts paid off:
AAD2022 attracted 203 exhibitors from 24 countries of which nine (9) displayed their
aerospace and defence products in national pavilions.

These included China, the USA, Türkiye
(with two pavilions), Italy, Belgium, and India.
Among the 24 nations from around the world, six were from Africa, namely Nigeria, South
Africa, Egypt, Uganda, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

No less than 51 official delegations from 29 countries attended the event, as well as 176
accredited media from around the world. Just over 23 000 trade visitors came in from 76
countries, while 51 228 general public visitors were attracted to the show, especially during
the public air show on the weekend days of 24 and 25 September.


In her opening address, Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Thandi Modise had this to
say about AAD:


“Let us never underestimate the critical importance of this event. It is more than a show. It is more than an exhibition. It is an investment.”
Youth Development Programme (YDP)


Though not specifically referencing the youth programme, the Minister’s pronouncement
certainly applied to investing in the youth.
With a target of 10 000 learners, this year’s initiative reached 9 100 learners and students
from around the country, including from Cape Town and Durban who arrived courtesy of
South African Airways (SAA).

Whilst at AAD2022, these youth were exposed to career opportunities in the military and civilian defence and Aerospace space, artificial intelligence (AI) drone capabilities and other high-level technologies. Pilots from the US and South African air forces, as well as scientists from South Africa’s CSIR and America’s National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA) briefed the learners on aviation and space technology and careers, as well as the importance of embracing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects at school.


Among the firsts for AAD were flying displays of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), often now
referred to as drones or RPAS (remotely piloted aircraft systems).

The show organisers succeeded in having the United Nations (UN) as a first-time participant in a UAV conference on 21 September, which was well attended.


The Counter-Terrorism, Technology and Development in Africa conference on 22 September also brought the University of Hungary as a first-time international university participant, along with South Africa’s own University of Stellenbosch.


In like vein, the American space agency NASA, jointly with the UN and Italy, was a first for AAD
through their participation in the General Aviation conference on 23 September.

Other firsts/highlights for AAD included a general aviation hub, full participation by the South
African Police Service (SAPS) in both a display and demonstration, a Department of Trade,
Industry and Competition (dtic) pavilion dedicated to small and medium enterprises (SMEs),as well as the online DefenceWeb official Show Daily, a new media partner (CNBC Africa), and transport shuttle partner (SANI Rental).


Some highlights noted by South African Air Force (SAAF) officers were the participation of the
SAAF Gripens and in-flight refuelling of a US Air Force Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk by a HC-130J
Super Hercules.


Affirming support and commitment to the success for AAD2024, scheduled for 18 to 22
September 2024, Armscor Chief Executive Officer Solomzi Mbada said AAD2022 “exceeded
all expectations.” In the latest Armscor newsletter, Mbada said this was evidenced by
“positive participation in both the exhibition and air show across categories, including
exhibitors, trade visitors, foreign delegations, air forces and the general public.”


With Covid-19 hopefully out of the way, the AAD show organisers – under the guidance of
Armscor as lead partner – are now gearing for the next event.

With more than 18 months to go, the organisers have sufficient time to build on the success of AAD2022, and once again stage a spectacular event: one that has grown to be a significant game changer in the defence and aerospace ecosystem.

SANDF Exercise VUK’UHLOME 2022

With Exercise VUK’UHLOME already been on the way for the last month at Combat Training Centre Lohatla in the Northern Cape of South Africa, the exercise concluded with a visitors day showing the might of the South African National Defence Force with a total of 13 000+ troops being involved in the exercise!

Many distinguished guests attended the visitors day including the media, local municipal members, military attaché from a number of Countries, military veterans members of the defence industries, Chiefs of Navy, Air Force, South African Military Health Service and Army from the South African National Defence Arms of Service. The event was also attended by Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Thandi Modise

This years live firing and capability demonstration took place on Mount Huxley Hills a different range and view point from where the 2021 exercise was closer to the central surroundings of Lohatla.

The visitors got to see different phases of the demonstration, a township unrest, counter insurgency, a demolition from the SANDF Army Engineer Formation.

It was time for some fast movers that were operating out of Air Force Base Overburg in the Western Cape with two 85 Combat Flying School BAE Hawk MK120 jet aircraft dropping MK81 bombs onto certain targets on the range.

A demonstration of a vehicle carrying armed individuals showing force of harm to innocent passengers onboard, with members of the military police and Special forces bringing the assailants to a stop.
With a Agusta A109LUH providing top cover that scenario.

A closing contact was then in effect with Ratel 90 and Rooikat armoured vehicles with the assistance of Olifant Tanks.

Behind the simulated enemy battle ground 23mm and 35mm anti-aircraft guns kept the skies sterile with no enemy aircraft coming into the airspace, while mortar, howitzers and the 127mm Bateleur echo’s into the hills beyond.

Rotary assets with a 19 Squadron Agusta A109LUH, 87 Helicopter Flying School Oryx Helicopter and a 16 Squadron Rooivalk Combat Support Helicopter provided top cover and delivering troops into the battleground.

44 Squadron with the form of a Casa 212 and a 41 Squadron Cessna C208A Caravan dropped a number of parachute members from different airborne battalions.

The exercise concluded with the Chief of the South African Army, Lieutenant General Lawrence Khulekani Mbatha declaring the division combat ready.

Africa Aerospace and Defence 2022

The Africa Aerospace and Defence Exhibition Trade show and Airshow made a welcome return to Air Force Base Waterkloof in the City of Tshwane from 21-25 September 2022. The show hosted three trade days and two airshow days where the public could witness Africa’s biggest airshow.

With the obvious pandemic that we should all be aware of. Africa Aerospace and Defence was not allowed to take place during 2020, as it also formed part of the South African Airforce centenary year.

The first trade show was opened by the minister of defence Thandi Modise. She mentioned

“This eleventh edition of AAD will bring together the largest gathering of aerospace and defence industry decision makers and buyers from around the world, including many from Africa.”

“The defence industry plays a key role in assisting the SANDF to discharge its
constitutional mandate of defending the sovereignty and territorial integrity of
South Africa and to secure our nation. By ensuring security and stability, the
SANDF, in turn, helps to create an enabling environment for economic growth
and development. “

” Through our peacekeeping missions, we are similarly contributing to peace, stability, and prosperity on our continent.”

Before we move on the show, the show would not have happened without the Department of Defence, stakeholders and sponsors, the AAD team, and especially the Airboss Colonel Keith Fryer, Colonel Keith Andrews, and Colonel Keith Wilkinson, Airforce Base Waterkloof for putting such a great show together with your team of ramp controllers, ATCs, pilots and ground crew.

As most of the hangar space was used up by local and foreign exhibitors. The apron had a number of static aircraft from both the South African Air Force and the United States Airforce and Civilian aircraft both fixed wing and helicopters.

Capital Sounds and Brian Emmenis proved a kilometer and more of the audio cable to provide commentary to this year’s AAD.
The sound of Mr airshow brings back all the memories of big airshows at Waterkloof during our youth.

The airshow featured a cavalcade of emergency vehicles that were lucky not needed during the duration of the two airshow days.

Hangar 51 provided a flying display from their Aero L29 Delphin flown by Grant Timms, this was Grant’s first L29 display on the highveld. The L39 Albatross was also displayed as part of the civilian jet contingent by Pierre Gouws.

Andrew Blackwood-Murray flew a solo aerobatic display in his Nashua Extra 300L.

Pierre Gouws also flew the first FlySafair Boeing 737-800 display together with SAFAIRs outgoing Lockheed L100-30.
The Raptor RVs were also led by Pierre Gouws as there provided tight formation aerobatics in form of the kit-built aircraft.

The South African Airforce provided a number of assets to this year’s Africa Aerospace and Defence. 2 Squadron had three Gripens with a flying display by Colonel Musa “Midnite” Mbhokota. Six Hawks, a solo display by Major Rehan “Kaine” Venter.

The Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team with a four-ship route with team 84 flying their first display led by new team leader Major Lucky Malloks. A solo display from Central Flying School Langebaanweg by Falcon 5 Major Diaan Grobbelaar. Major Grobbelaar used to be the Agusta A109LUH display pilot before moving on to Central Flying School to become an instructor.

41 Squadron with the “Pointer formation” consisting of four Cesena C208A Caravans flew a diamond formation before breaking off for singleton flypasts during their show.

A skydive drop made up of members from the Pretoria Military Skydiving club and other units in the SANDF used a 44 Squadron Casa 212 “8011” as their jumpship for their skydive drop.

From the rotary assets, we had 15 Squadron Charlie Flight BK117 display flown by Major Corrie Oberholzer with flight engineer Sargent VD van Dalen, together with Major Paul “Raccoon” Kempthorn in the 16 Squadron Rooivalk.

The highlight of any AAD airshow is the mini-war, in which you get to see a number of helicopters, Transport aircraft, Jets, and armored vehicles.

Three Oryx Helicopters, Two Agusta A109s, Two BK117s, One Rooivalk from various helicopter squadrons from across South Africa, Casa 212-300, C130BZ, and four Hawk MK120 made up of the aerial assets in that slot of the program.

The South African Police Airwing also put on a threat-type scenario of a hijacked Cessna Sovereign that got escorted by two 85 Combat Flying School Hawk MK120s. Once on the ground SAPS task force and bomb squad members were brought in by SAPS Airwing Airbus H125 and 15 Squadron BK117s helicopters.

The United States Airforce brought two Boeing C17 Globemasters, a KC46 Pegasus Tanker, HC130 Combat King Hercules, and an HH-60 Pavehawk Helicopter. The HC130 and Pavehawk provided a flying display of aerial refueling.

The Airforce of Zimbabwe was present with a Casa 212 and two K8s. The K8 display was flown by display pilots wing commander Lizwe Mahlangu and squadron leader Norman Taurai Marodza.

The South African Airforce Museum flew most of its flying exhibits, two Alouette IIs, two Alouette IIIs, Aerospatiale Puma, and two Cessna C185s, and a solo display included. Solo Aerobatics from Harvard “Nelson” 7111 display by Martin “Marlow” Louw. A Kudu was also a jump ship for a few Pretoria Military Skydive members.

Juba Joubert flew an Alouette II display and Andre van Zyl flew the Magni Gyrocopter display. Henley Air also displayed two of their Bell 222s.

Menno Parsons was welcomed back at AAD with the only flying type of its kind on African soil the P51D “Mustang Sally”.

High-energy aerobatics were performed by the Iveco Extra 330s flown by Nigel Hopkins and Jason Beamish. The two also flew in the Goodyear Eagles Pitts Specials team joined by Johan von Solms and Trevor Warner.

Ivan and Jeandre van der Schaar performed their first display at AAD with the Classic radial Boeing Stearman and RC Extra aircraft duo or better known as the father and son duo.

Excujet provided a display of their Challenger business jet that was seen flying on Saturday and a brief appearance of a Learjet 45 on Friday’s validations.

The Hired Gun Pitts specials also flew their four Pitts specials on the afternoon slot of the show on Saturday.

Flare drops were probably the highlight for any camera user from 28 Squadron on their Lockheed C130BZ, 85 Combat Flying School Hawk MK120, and 16 Squadron Rooivalk during the later part of the program of the show on both days.

The Puma Flying Lions Harvards led by Scully Levin performed a sunset show on both Saturday and Sunday bringing a fittingly spectacular end to AAD 2022.

Well done to everyone involved. We were proud to be the official media partner during the duration of the trade and Airshow and build up to the event
We look forward to the ninth edition of AAD in 2024. Join the #AAD2024 event page by clicking on the banner below!

AAD2024 Facebook Event Page

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