SAAF Air Power Capability Demonstration Roodewal 2013.05.09
By Willie Bodenstein
The first of two air power demonstrations planned for 2013 was held at Roodewal north of Polokwane in Limpopo was downscaled from previous demonstrations. The most noticeable absence was Gripen. The SAAF and other supporting units again proofed that even in this tough economic times where defence budgets worldwide are under severe pressure the SAAF is still capable of fulfilling their mandate and is a force to be reckoned with.
Before the action could start protocol had to be observed with short messages of welcome to the invited guests, thanks to all involved and a summary of what was to be expected by Generals Bayne, Malinga and van Heerden the demo started with an Oryx doing a Bambi water drop. Roodewal is not only a bombing and weapons testing range but also a conservation area with a number of game three of which observed the action from up close.
A Oryx dropped three pathfinders to establish the strength of the enemy and to report back.
A Gecko Special Forces vehicle and personnel armed with mortars was then deployed from an Oryx to engage the enemy until the full might of the friendly forces could be mustered.
A Fire Force then arrived in two Oryx Helicopters, one section being inserted in the conventional way, the other abseiling down into the scene of the battle that was by then in full swing.
Two Rooivalk Attack Helicopters joined in the fray launching rockets at the enemy position before offering fire support with their 20 mm canon.
Two Hawks arrived and strafing the enemy position with their guns then dropped a series of bombs after which the enemy forces withdrew. and the friendly troops under the watchful eyes of the Rooivalks evacuated.
Mission accomplished the friendly forces were evacuated whilst the Rooivalk Helicopters kept a look out in case the enemy should regroup.
Many thanks to the SAAF for the opportunity to at first hand witness that despite defence budget cuts they and all the supporting units are still a force to be reckoned with.