The Department of Defence annual report for 2014/14 indicates the SA Air Force flew just over five thousand hours in the year under review.
The figure of force employment 5,026.49 hours is 555 more than was reported in the previous financial cycle and again by far the majority of this – 4,276 – was funded by the Joint Operations Division.
No information is given on total flying hours which for the 2013/14 year were 18,454. This equated to just over 87% of planned flying hours, down by more than 5,100 on the 2012/13 financial year.
As far as air defence, the major role of the SAAF, is concerned the latest annual report notes the airborne arm of the SANDF has to provide helicopter and combat support capability as well as other air capabilities ranging from medium transport (including a VIP squadron), maritime and transport, light transport, reserves, air combat and 24 hour air command and control.
“The SAAF continued to achieve significant operational successes. With a concerted effort the SAAF managed to provide support to the Joint Force Employment Requirement and limited force preparation support to other services and divisions.”
No information is provided on actual hours flown by squadrons, including 21 responsible for VIP transport, with training capability for the 2014/15 financial year rated at a 72% achievement of target in respect of general education, training and development of air force personnel.
Information on air defence capabilities is deemed “classified” and not provided in the report which does list one “service unique” air defence planned exercise. This is Winter Solstice which aims to provide a combat readiness level. “Output objectives were achieved in accordance with the required aim utilising the PC7, Oryx, Rooivalk, A109, C130, C208, Gripen and Hawk aircraft.”
Command and control elements which took part in Winter Solstice were two tactical mobile radars, one Umlundi radar, co-located control capabilities, domestic support equipment and communications support. Protection and intelligence personnel were also deployed as part of the exercise.