16 Squadron, based at AFB Bloemspruit and the SA Air Force’s (SAAF) only combat support rotary wing unit, has been awarded the Sword of Peace.
The award for exceptional achievements in the humanitarian field went to the Rooivalk squadron for its work in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Locally designed and built Rooivalk combat support helicopters are attached to the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) attached to MONUSCO, the single largest United Nations mission currently deployed, and have been active in supporting troops on the ground protecting civilians from rebels and other armed insurgent groups.
In past years the Sword of Peace has gone to other helicopter squadrons including 17 based at AFB Zwartkop and 19 at AFB Hoedspruit for search and rescue work during floods in South Africa and neighbouring Mozambique. The SAAF’s only heavy lift squadron, 28 based at AFB Waterkloof, has also received the award for humanitarian work done, mostly outside of South Africa.
The Directorate Command and Control Systems was named Directorate of the Year with the Permanent Flying Unit of the Year award going to 35 Squadron and its C-47TPs based at AFB Ysterplaat.
The Royal Air Force (RAF) Training Award was presented to 85 Combat Flying School based at AFB Makhado with the Safety, Health, Environment, Risk and Quality Award going to the Limpopo base, which is also home to 2 Squadron.
The Aviation Safety Award, for the unit making the greatest contribution to aviation safety in the air force was presented to 22 Squadron, also based at AFB Ysterplaat flying Oryx and Super Lynx helicopters.
Other awards presented at the Prestige evening held ahead of Air Force Prestige Day at AFB Waterkloof went to AFB Langebaanweg (Fire and Rescue Service Award), 6 Air Servicing Unit at AFB Hoedspruit (Air Servicing Unit of the Year), 503 Squadron serving AFB Zwartkop and AFB Zwartkop West (Protection Squadron of the Year), JARIC (Joint Air Reconnaissance Intelligence Centre) at AFB Waterkloof (Operational Support Unit of the Year), 10 Air Depot in Thaba Tshwane (General Support Unit of the Year and the SAAF Command and Control School was named Training Unit of the Year.
AFB Overberg, home of the Test Flight and Development Centre (TFDC) was named overall SAAF Base/Unit of the Year.