SAAF SDA allocation doubles in medium term – but why? (updated)

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The amount allocated to the South African Air Force in the Special Defence Account (SDA) – money used to fund acquisitions – is set to double in the next three years – though it is not exactly clear why.

The maritime and transport budget shows an even sharper curve, climbing from R438 million for the coming year to close on R2 billion in April 2012. An explanation may be the flying service’s desire to acquire about 13 new Maritime Patrol/Security Aircraft for delivery around 2016 under Project Saucepan. These platforms will replace the existing fleet of Douglas C47TP as well as CASA 212 and 235 light and medium transports.  

The National Treasury’s Estimate of National Expenditure (ENE) document for Vote 21 – Defence and Military Veterans does say increases of 40.7% and 22.6% in 2010/11 in the Training and the Command and Control subprogrammes are due to the upgrade of the Pilatus PC7 Mk11 Astra trainer aircraft, and radar and ground navigation systems. The cost of this is not immediately apparent.

The document shows the Air Force SDA allocation increasing from R2.272 billion allocated for the year from April to R3.916 billion next April to R4.173 billion in 2012. This is, however lower than allocations in recent years. But those allocations paid for the projects Ukhozi (the Saab Gripen) and Winchester (the BAE Systems Hawk) acquisitions. The ENE These were ordered as part of the R47.4 billion Strategic Defence Package in 1999. Only the Gripens must still be fully paid for. The National Treasury in 2008 indicated the last payments for that fighter would be made in 2011. Deliveries of the 26 aircraft will wind up in 2012.
 

Audited

Revised estimate

Estimated

FY2006/7

FY2007/8

FY2008/9

FY2009/10

FY2010/11

FY2011/12

FY2012/13

Salaries

R1376m

R1502.3m

R1636.8m

R1825.4m

R2035.9m

R2227.8m

R2360.5m

Machinery and equipment

R43.8m

R55.7m

R52.1m

R15.7m

R53.1m

R20.6m

R23.3m

Special Defence Account

R4729.6m

R4537.9m

R4924m

R5614.5m

R2272.2m

R3916.2m

R4173.1m

The ENE document says the Air Force accounts for 26.2% of the defence department’s total expenditure, and increased from R7.3 billion in 2006/07 to R9.1 billion in 2009/10 at an average annual rate of 7.6% and then decreases to R8.4 billion in 2012/13 at an average annual rate of 2.6%.
“The decrease over the MTEF period is due to the termination of the A400M strategic airlift procurement project and the finalisation of the delivery milestones of the Hawk lead in fighter trainer aircraft. This is also evident in the sharp decrease of 42.1% in the Air Combat Capability subprogramme in 2010/11 and the decrease of 83.5% in the Transport and Maritime Capability subprogramme in 2010/11. The decrease of 3.5% in expenditure in the Helicopter Capability subprogramme over the MTEF period is due to the completion of the maritime helicopter and light utility helicopter projects.”

Over the next three years, Air Force spending will focus on creating and restoring capacity and capabilities to supply prepared forces and support these forces once deployed, the ENE adds. “To create air systems capacity, the spending focus is on integrating new systems to ensure sustainability. To ensure the sustainability of human resources, the spending focus is on developing and maintaining skills and retaining scarce skills.”


Audited

Revised estimate

Estimated

FY2006/7

FY2007/8

FY2008/9

FY2009/10

FY2010/11

FY2011/12

FY2012/13

Strategic direction

R12.5m

R11.7m

R12.5m

R15.3m

R15.6m

R18.8m

R17.8m

Operational direction

R139.7m

R169.5m

R170.7m

R73.4m

R90.8m

R92.4m

R106.8m

Helicopter capability

R1490.7m

R1232.1m

R166.5m

R824m

R928.3m

R840.1m

R740.4m

Transport & Maritime

R715.8m

R851.7m

R1723.9m

R2664.4m

R438.8m

R1455.6m

R1944.8m

Air Combat

R3085.4m

R3133.7m

R2919.9m

R3032.8m

R1756.5m

R2338m

R2607.3m

Operational support & Intelligence

R121.6m

R143.4m

R146.1m

R213.3m

R211.8m

R304.2m

R287.3m

C2

R191.6m

R200.1m

R203m

R210.8m

R258.4m

R302.4m

R257.2m

Base support

R779.8m

R783.2m

R926.1m

R1100.7m

R1163.8m

R1245.8m

R1308.3m

Command Post

R65.4m

R32.1m

R41.7m

R31.1m

R40m

R44.4m

R46.5m

Training

R200.3m

R237.7m

R258.6m

R392.4m

R552.1m

R661.9m

R406.8m

Technical Support

R458.9m

R519.7m

R449.6m

R498.5m

R603m

R606.7m

R638.9m

TOTAL

R7261.7m

R7314.8m

R8018.m

R9056.4m

R 6059.1m

R7910.5m

R8361.9m

Change to Feb 2009 budget estimate1:

+R7088.1m

+R3956.9m

+R5765.4m

-R1510.6m

Note:

  1. This appears untrue. A lok at the February 2009 ENE shows the budgets as follows:

    1. 2009/10: R10.272bn

    2. 2010/11: R8885.1bn

    3. 2011/12: R9402.4bn

      There was no 2012/13 allocation in the Feb 2009 document.

Over the next three years, the National Treasury expects the Air Force to defend and protect South Africa and its airspace by providing:

  • 4 helicopter squadrons and 1 combat support squadron per year

  • 3 medium transport squadrons (including one VIP squadron), 1 maritime and transport squadron,

  • 1 light transport squadron and 9 reserve squadrons at the required readiness levels per year

  • 1 air combat squadron per year

  • a 24-hour air command and control capability.


Indicator

Programme

Past

Current

Projections

FY2006/7

FY2007/8

FY2008/9

FY2009/10

FY2010/11

FY2011/12

FY2012/13

Number of flying hours in support

of operations per year

Air Defence

9 788

12 271

11 099

9 500

9 500

9 500

9 500

In 2008/09, the latest audited financial year, 35 241 flying hours were recorded, of which 11 099 were force employment hours in support of operations. These operations included cooperation with the South African Police Service for border control and after the attacks on foreign nationals in 2008. In the same year, humanitarian operations involved fire fighting operations in five provinces and search and rescue flights were conducted for missing aircraft.
“In November 2008, the South African Air Force assisted with flood relief in Western Cape, evacuating 62 persons and delivering two tons of relief aid. In 2009, flights were conducted in Eastern Cape to assist local municipalities with drought relief. In 2009, 1 213 hours of external support flights to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Sudan and the Central African Republic took place,” the ENE document says.
“In 2008/09, helicopters were deployed at Kamina in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (435 hours) and 110 protection service personnel were deployed to Burundi in support of government initiatives. South African Air Force reserves generated 15.2% of the force employment flying hours, in support of the South African National Defence Force’s one force core growth strategy. South African Air Force support for government initiatives included local and international exercises with the South African Army, the South African Navy, the South African Police Service, the Singaporean Defence Force, the navies of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, the United States, and the Namibian Air Force, and provided casualty evacuation standby services for the British Army held at the South African Army Combat Training Centre at Lohatla. The South African Air Force hosted the 2008 Africa aerospace and defence exhibition in Cape Town.
“In April 2009, the South African Air Force assisted the Electoral Commission by flying personnel and ballot papers to election sites during elections. Humanitarian operations included medical and casualty evacuation flights, fire fighting operations, and search and rescue flights, including the rescue of 20 civilians off a bulk carrier in July 2009. The South African Air Force participated in the Southern Africa standby brigade exercise held in the Lohatla and Walvis Bay areas in September 2009.
“In the first half of 2009/10, the South African Air Force’s commitments to the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup were honoured, offering an opportunity for it to gain experience in
preparation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Aircraft flew a total of 459 hours, three interceptions were done by Hawk and Astra aircraft to permit civilian aircraft to fly within the designated airspace, 18 106 authorisations were requested and 5 381 pilots were screened. In preparation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the South African Air Force scheduled 6 air defence exercises at different venues between July 2008 and April 2010. The fourth in this series was conducted in Nelspruit in August 2009 and 2 more are planned.

The Independent newspapers this week reported on of the exercises will be held between April 23 and 26. “While similar air security exercises have been run in each province, the April practice will test the entire country at once,” the paper says. “This is going to be the make-or-break exercise, but I’m positive we can do it,” Colonel Elma de Villiers, a senior staff officer at the SA Air Force’s Command Post told the papers.

The flying restrictions, yet to be published, include a 50 nautical mile (about 95km) restricted zone around airports and a five nautical mile (about 9km) effective no-fly zone around stadiums. The no-fly zones will be enforced by military aircraft, while the focus in the broader restricted area will be on identifying pilots and aircraft. Pilots wishing to fly in the 50nm zone must apply to the air force for a security screening code at least 48 hours before flying, said De Villiers.



But this security clearance would be valid for six months, so pilots vetted for the April exercise need not apply again for the actual June-July World Cup period. Once cleared, pilots must apply for authorisation 24 hours before individual flights, including their intended route and times of departure and landing. Shorter notice would be possible in case of emergencies.
“This worked very well during the World Cup Draw,” said Francois Marais of Sport Helicopters at the V&A Waterfront. “If it runs the same, it’ll be fine.” The militarised no-fly zone around stadiums would be in effect two hours before and after matches, said De Villiers.