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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.

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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