Tenders out for support of two SAAF aircraft types


Armscor tenders to supply product support for two aircraft in the SA Air Force (SAAF) fleet currently await response from prospective bidders.

One tender, to ensure 21 Squadron’s pair of Falcon business jets remain airworthy and ready for VIP use, was issued on 10 January with a closing date of 4 February. The tender is in two parts: the first for maintenance and support for the French designed and built Falcon 50 (ZS-CAQ) and the Falcon 900B (ZS-NAN), with the second covering ground support and testing.

The second product support tender is for a supplier to ensure 41 Squadron’s complement of Cessna 208 Caravans keep flying and product service systems (PSS) are properly in place and operational.

Given there are more aircraft – eight – involved than the pair of bizjets, more time was allowed by the State-owned defence and security acquisition agency for bidders to respond. The tender was issued on 14 December and bids have to reach Armscor by 3 February.

The SAAF C208 fleet started out as 12-strong with four written off. When they were acquired in 1988 they operated with civilian registration numbers, later changed to SAAF tail numbers (3001 to 3012).

The fixed landing gear, single engine workhorses are short haul regional and utility aircraft. Some were fitted with a daylight reconnaissance system which, in 2007, saw 11 C208s modified to meet Project Koiler specifications with Argos 410-Z day/night observation pods.

The now 33-year-old aircraft compare – age-wise – with the Falcon 900B (31 years in service) and the first Falcon 50 to enter the SAAF fleet 40 years ago.