SAAF to hold Air Capability Demonstration

SAAF to hold Air Capability Demonstration

The South African Air Force will mark the return of the Rooivalk attack helicopter in style when it hosts an Air Capability Demonstration (ACD) next week. The first of the bi-annual exercises will be held at the Roodewal weapons range on Thursday 12 May 2011.

The Rooivalk has undergone a major revamp by Denel Aviation to bring its structure, systems and avionics up to a single standard acceptable to the airforce. The first five aircraft were handed back to the airforce at the end of March.

Amongst the line-up of participating aircraft are Hawk and Gripen jets, C-130 Hercules, Casa and Cessna C-208 transports as well as Oryx and Augusta A109 helicopters. The demonstration is meant to illustrate the employment of air power by means of academic profiles.

Various simulated exercises which includes a South African Army element comprise scenarios ranging from mortar attacks, light artillery drops, air supplies, counter attacks by jet fighters, photo reconnaissance to fire fighting. A Department of Defence media release states that “this serves as a splendid opportunity for the Air Force to demonstrate its strength and ability to secure the South African air space and the citizens of the country.”

It is also the only time invited dignitaries and guests are able to witness live weapon firing at close range. The Unofficial SAAF Website will be in attendance and will, of course, be reporting on the event with photographs.
The Roodewal Weapons Range is situated in the Northern Province, roughly halfway between Polokwane (previously Pietersburg) and AFB Makhado, near the town of Louis Trichardt.

By Dean Wingrin