Nine Reserve squadrons available to expand SAAF capabilities


South African Air Force (SAAF) assets are boosted by the availability of 61 civilian aircraft via nine reserve squadrons.

The squadrons operate from, but are not limited to, air force bases with some flying out of civilian airports and what the national defence force’s Director: Corporate Communications, terms “air strips”.

They number from 101 to 111, denoting their status as reserve. Other SAAF operational squadrons carry double digit numbers, examples are 21 (VIP), 28 and 41 (transport), 15, 17 and 19 (helicopter) with only the lone Gripen squadron at AFB Makhado having a single digit numeral.

Information supplied by the SA Air Force (SAAF) via the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) corporate communications directorate for the Reserve squadrons, a component of the Reserve Force, shows where squadrons are located, under which base they fall, the officer commanding and the number of aircraft each has access to. No detail is given of aircraft types but transport and to a certain extent, cargo, has in the past been the backbone of the SAAF Reserve. Bizjets, including some Cessna and Lear models, have in the past been on the inventory of at least some air force reserve squadrons.

The full squadron list is:

101 Squadron, AFB Hoedspruit, Lieutenant Colonel SP Erasmus, eight aircraft

102 Squadron, AFB Makhado, Lieutenant Colonel WJ le Roux, five aircraft

104 Squadron, AFB Swartkop, Captain LG Lellyett (acting), eight aircraft

105 Squadron, AFB Durban, Lieutenant Colonel AH Clarke, eight aircraft

106 Squadron, AFB Bloemspruit, Lieutenant Colonel AJ Wise, two aircraft

108 Squadron, AFB Bloemspruit operating from Kimberley, six aircraft

108 Squadron, AFB Ysterplaat operating from Port Elizabeth, Lieutenant Colonel FW Greeff, four aircraft

110 Squadron, AFB Ysterplaat, Lieutenant Colonel JJL van Zyl, 11 aircraft

111 Squadron, AFB Waterkloof, Lieutenant Colonel L Dodds, nine aircraft.