SAAF personnel complete rigorous mobile air operations training at Lohatlha

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Twenty-one SA Air Force (SAAF) personnel spent five weeks in the inhospitable terrain that is the SA Army Combat Training Centre (CTC) at Lohatlha learning the ins and outs of mobile air operations.

The group was drawn from the command and control, intelligence and aircrew musterings to prepare for mobile air operations team (MAOT) work as part of combat readiness and force preparation. Their training puts them in stead to handle air operations during conventional warfare in support of a deployed brigade, reported Major C Tseuoa, Corporate Communication Officer Air Force Base Hoedspruit.

Seven modules covering support co-ordination, MAOT principles, tactical communications, the law of armed conflict, combat search and rescue, maritime warfare and peace support operations (PSOs) provided classroom and practical learning. Also on the curriculum for the course was cyber and land warfare as well as support to other government departments.

Hands-on was the operative component of the combat readiness part of the course at Lohatlha between 5 February and 15 March. This saw the 21 taking part in what is standard training for infantry soldiers by way of route marches, musketry training, map reading, land survival, operating Ratel infantry fighting vehicles as well as escape and evasion presented by a SAAF task force combat team from 500 Squadron based at the Mobile Deployment Wing, formerly Air Force Base (AFB) Swartkop.

The men and women in blue who completed the gruelling course were praised by Acting Director Command and Control Systems, Colonel Isobel Grobler. She told them: “You who successfully completed the course proved that you know your profession and can be operationally deployed. It is now your responsibility to uphold your status on combat readiness. It will now be expected of you to translate character and competence into action and into service for your country”.

41 Squadron pilot Captain SS Malebati finished top of the class with a 96% course average.