Air force, navy 'just for show'

2010-03-04 08:53

kalahari.com

Cape Town - The expensive Gripen fighter jets, frigates and submarines which cost South African taxpayers billions of rands will mainly be on the ground and in port over the next three years, because there's no money to operate them.

The DA has called this a disgrace, while the department of defence's excuse is that its budget is hopelessly inadequate.

According to the department's strategic plan for the next three years, which was submitted to Parliament on Wednesday, their budgeting allows for the following:
- That the Gripens will spend 550 hours in flight in the current financial year, after which this will be scaled down to 250 flight hours per year for the next two years; and
- That the navy's 18 ships will have 10 000 hours at sea in 2011-2012 and 9 000 hours at sea per year in 2012 and 2013.

Operational capabilities

DA MP David Maynier said at a meeting between the parliamentary portfolio committee for defence and the department that it's clear "the defence force is being stripped of its operational capabilities".

"Look at maritime defence: Taking into account what we have at our disposal and the hours at sea which have been budgeted for, the navy's ships will spend 23 days at sea and 328 days in port. Perhaps eight ships - including the frigates at the submarines - would be more realistic: That would mean they'd spend 55 days at sea and 299 in port.

"Concerning the air force: We have 11 Gripens and 550 flight hours available this year, which means they are flying less than half of the hours required to comply with Nato (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) standards. Most of these hours will be used during the 2010 World Cup, and between July and the end of the financial year, these fighter jets will be standing in their hangars," he said.

"It gets worse in the following years: Once all 26 Gripens have been delivered, they'll spend an average of 9.6 hours in flight per year."

Helmoed-Römer Heitman, a defence expert, described this budget as ludicrous and said if this is the way the navy and air force are run, the defence force might as well shut its doors.

According to him, Nato requires that fighter pilots log 20 flight hours per month (240 flight hours per year per fighter pilot, compared to the air force's budget of 550 flight hours) to remain operationally functional.

Bought for show

"According to these standards our air force is only barely going to be able to keep two fighter pilots in business.

"As far as our navy is concerned, it is now clear that the frigates and submarines were only bought for show."

Thabang Makwetla, deputy minister of defence, said it isn't the department's fault and that the problem lies with the inadequate defence budget.

According to Professor Renfrew Christie from the University of the Western Cape, South Africa is currently spending about 1.2% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on defence, compared to 4.5% in 1989.

The World Bank recommends that a functional defence force should be allocated no less than 2% of the GDP.

Read more on:    military
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
 

Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Grabouw - 11:32 AM
    Road name: N2 Eastbound
    DELAYS between Sir Lowrys Pass and Grabouw
  • Friday Cape Town - 10:14 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Tab P7500 10.1" Tablet With WiFi & 3G

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 gives you a better experience for...

From R4999.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.