Italian Air Force visits SA on study tour


Two Italian Air Force aircraft, a KC-767 tanker and a C-130J Super Hercules transport, spent a week in South Africa as part of an Italian Air Force Academy study tour programme.

The Academy (Accademia Aeronautica) requested the visit and it was subsequently approved by the Chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), General Rudzani Maphwanya, who requested the Chief of Human Resources, Vice Admiral Elias Kubu, to manage the programme on behalf of the Department of Defence.

The study tour visit was scheduled for the period 22 to 29 November, the SANDF’s Brigadier General Andries Mokoena Mahapa, Director Defence Corporate Communication, said in response to a defenceWeb inquiry.

Flight tracking data shows the KC-767A tanker (MM62229) was the first to arrive in South Africa, and landed at OR Tambo International Airport on 23 November. It was back in Italy on the 26th before flying to Djibouti on the 28th, and then Cape Town on 2 December. On 3 December the aircraft, one of four in the Italian Air Force’s inventory, flew back to Djibouti.

The C-130J (MM62189) was in Johannesburg on 25 November and flew to Cape Town on the 26th before returning to Italy several days later. It also spent some time at Hoedspruit with students from the Academy.

The Italian Air Force acquired 18 C-130J/C-130J-30 Super Hercules and four KC-130J tankers from Lockheed Martin in the early 2000s.

Every year, the Academy’s class visits a partner air force to learn about its operations. The academy trains Italian Air Force officers and is amongst the oldest aviation academies in the world, having been founded in 1923.