SAAF AIR POWER CAPABILITY DEMONSTRATION 28 MAY 2014
By Willie Bodenstein
Twice a year, usually in May and September the South African Air Force hosts an Air Power Capability Demonstration at the Roodewal Bombing Range between Polokwane and Makhado.
Brigadier General Vellem opened the proceedings welcoming dignitaries, guests and members of the media before introducing Lieutenant General Msimang, Chief of the SAAF. General Msimang stated that the South African National Defence Force will continue to play a role in the SADEC as well as in the establishment of the African Reaction Force.
Brig. Gen Vellem…………….Lt.Gen Msimang
General Msimang made specific mention of Rooivalk, calling it the pride of South Africa. Locally developed and produced Rooivalk has been hugely successful during its deployment as part of the UN Forces in the Congo. A Rooivalk in its all white UN paint scheme as well as an Oryx, another South African development, also in UN colours took part in the demonstration.
Rooivalk firing its 20mm cannon.
A Oryx in its all white UN colour scheme
The demonstration sketched a scenario where a force infiltrated our borders. A Path Finder Platoon of Parachutist was inserted to establish the strength of the force.
Followed by the insertion of support troops fast roping down from helicopters.
Fast roping from a Oryx
Support troops exiting a Agusta A109
During the troop insertion a SAAF helicopter was damaged and the pilot rescued by a BK 117 whilst a Rooivalk and Gripen flew cover.
A BK 117 airlifting the downed pilot…..Rooivalk offering covering fire
A C130 dropped supplies to the troops on the ground
Troops passing a supply chute
A Gripen flying top cover
An enemy aircraft that came to the rescue of its forces was engaged by two SAAF Gripen fighters and was neutralised.
Gripen fighters and an 'enemy' Hawk
The enemy was repelled and the troops extracted.
Fast roping extraction
A highlight of the weapons demo is the spectacular flare dispensing.
The SAAF Air Power Demonstration is a true reflection of the application of Air Power during a conflict situation and the SAAF and SANDF has shown its muscles in the various peace keeping initiatives that it is currently involved in.