The South African Air Force impressed yesterday at its air capability demonstration at the Roodewal bombing range in Limpopo.
The air force twice a year puts on a potted display, mostly for the benefit of students on the SA National Defence College`s Executive National Security Programme. It is important that the next generation of top SANDF planners and strategists have a firm grip of the tools they have available and the terminal effect of those weapons.
As described on defenceWeb, the demonstration started with a civil support aspect, showing a medical evacuation, firefighting and a supply drop. On the military side, the SAAF showed an air assault, close air support and battlefield interdiction, the latter involving some three BAE Systems Mk120 HAWK lead-in fighter trainers strafing a target with 30mm cannon fire and four more delivering several 120kg pre-fragmented time-delay bombs onto another target with great accuracy.
It was a delight to see the Project Winchester fighters in action, supported by two Project Ukhozi Saab JAS39D Gripen advanced light fighter aircraft. They certainly impressed, as did two Denel CSH1 Rooivalk attack helicopters who let targets have it with 20mm cannon and some 50 Forge Zeebrugge 70mm rockets. Good news also was that about six of the SAAF`s 11 Rooivalk are now of operational standard and that the type will shortly have its first deployment.
defenceWeb was also awed by the number of helicopters the SAAF deployed for the demonstration. It made for a thrilling sight – do have a look at the photo story posted last night.
Even more admirable was the flying skills on display. The transport aircraft, helicopters and fighters flew in very tight formations with no apparent evasive action or discomfort – a sure sign of self-confidence and skill.
Our sincerest congratulations to Chief of the Air Force Lt Gen Carlo Gagiano and every pilot, ground crew member and command-and-control expert who has helped hone our flying service to this level of sharpness.