62 SAAF aircraft slated for AAD


The South African Air Force will deploy as many as 62 aircraft to this year’s edition of the African Aerospace & Defence show, now a week away.

Show organisers say the SAAF aircraft include several SAAB Gripen advanced light fighters and Rooivalk combat support helicopters. The latter will fly, thus ending a grounding, for “technical reasons” in effect since last November. In addition, the US Air Force is also sending a large number of aircraft including a large Boeing C17 Globemaster III transport and a giant Lockheed Martin C5 Galaxy.

The organisers say the SAAF will deploy three Gripen, three BAE Systems Hawk Mk120 lead-in fighter trainers, three Denel M1 Oryx medium utility helicopters (MUH), three AgustaWestland A109M light utility helicopters (LUH), three Eurocopter BK117 LUH, two Rooivalk, four AgustaWestland SuperLynx 300 maritime helicopters, two Lockheed Martin C130BZ Hercules, at least one CASA 212, one Cessna C208 Caravan, four Douglas C47TP transports and up to 25 Pilatus Astra PC7 MkII trainers. The Silver Falcons will also be at the show as will a SAAF Museum Dassault Mirage III and a piston-powered C47.

Much of the US equipment headed for SA has never been displayed in the country before. American aircraft headed for AD include perhaps two C5, one C17, a C130J Super Hercules and an Alenia C27J Spartan. Lockheed Martin is currently marketing the C130J as a replacement for the C130BZ while the Spartan is often punted as a solution for Project Saucepan, the SAAF requirement for a new light transport/maritime patrol and security aircraft.

The US is also bringing a number of helicopters to AAD, including the massive Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion heavy utility helicopter, the Boeing CH-46 Sea Knight MUH and a HH-60 Pave Hawk combat search-and-rescue as well as MH-60 Night Hawk special forces variants of the Sikorsky Black Hawk families. Also in the fray will be a Bell OH-58 Kiowa and the latest edition to the US Army’s vast helicopter fleet, the Eurocopter UH72A Lakota LUH.

Also on display will be the AAI RQ-7 Shadow unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the General Atomics MQ-1 Predator and the Boeing Scan Eagle. Land vehicles on show will include the BAE Systems M2 Bradley tracked infantry combat vehicle, the General Dynamics Land Systems M1126 Stryker 8×8 armoured personnel carrier and the Cadillac Gage M1117 4×4 armoured security vehicle. A M997, the ambulance version of the AM General High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV or “Humvee”) family will also be on display.

The show organisers add that a Zimbabwe Air Force Hongdu/Nanchang JL-8/K8 Karakorum fighter trainer will also attend AAD along with a Casa C212.

Aircraft on static display are to include a further Alenia C27J Spartan, an Antonov AN-72 “Coaler” from the Ukraine and a Eurocopter EC120B. Bombardier will display a Lear 45XR as well as a Challenger 300, while Gulfstream will display a G550 and Airvan Africa three of their products. Paramount Group will display a Boeing 727 and a Falcon 7X, while BCDA will show off an Embraer Phenom 100, Phenom 300 and a Legacy 650. Elite Jet will have a McDonnell Douglas DC9 and Airquarius a Fokker F28 Fellowship. NAC will be display a Beechcraft Super King Air 350, a King Air 1900 Missionator, King Air Blackhawk MODS, a Diamond DA20 as well as a surveillance variant of the Pacific Aerospace PAC 750.