A seven-strong group of SA Air Force (SAAF) pupil pilots working on aviation skills including piloting fighters, attack helicopters and transports are recipients of qualifications from the Russian Air Force.
According to a SA National Defence Force (SANDF) report by Major Mpho Mathebula of SAAF Corporate Services, the seven candidate officers left South Africa in 2015 for advanced aviation training. They are Moshe Malete, Mohau Mphaka, Mashaka Nengovhela, Thato Letshwene, Jacob Diseko, Peter Kobbie and Phuti Moloto.
The “qualifications”, presumably the Russian equivalent of pilot’s wings and half-wings for navigators, were presented to the South Africans during a parade at Krasnodar Higher Military Aviation School.
In addition to time at Krasnodar, the SAAF seven spent time training at Syzran Higher Military Aviation School and Chelyabinsk Military Aviation Institute of Navigators. Some of the SAAF pupes trained as pilots while others learnt the finer arts of air traffic management and aviation combat control during their more than five years in Russia.
In addition to congratulating the SAAF seven, CAF Lieutenant General Wiseman Mbambo said the South Africans flew both the national and SAAF flags high while away from home.
SAAF students are undergoing flight training in Cuba (pilot, aviation technical and aviation engineering). Since August 75 SAAF staff have been in Cuba and will be there until 2024-2026.