Hawks, Gripen planes 'met requirements'

2013-09-02 19:08
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pretoria - The Hawks and Gripen aircraft acquired through the 1999 arms deal have proven highly deployable and adaptable, the Seriti Commission of Inquiry heard on Monday.

The aircraft were flexible enough to meet requirements, said SA Air Force (SAAF) combat systems director Brigadier General John William Bayne.

"The Gripen we acquired was what was termed the export baseline. In other words, it was not the same aircraft that the Swedish air force flew originally... This aircraft was designed and adapted for worldwide climatic conditions," he said.

"It was designed to operate in different environments and different equivalent areas... The Gripen is well-suited for the African battle-space for the future to support the country as strategic natural asset."

He said people had questioned the SAAF buying aircraft from Sweden, where the climate and operating conditions were different.

The aircraft were thoroughly tested before they were acquired, and were flown in harsh conditions, including snow and rain.

The Gripen was the SAAF’s only full-fighter aircraft, while the Hawk was primarily a fighter-trainer aircraft.


Bayne said the SAAF had taken over full ownership and delivery of the Hawks, and that ownership of the Gripen was expected to be concluded only in early 2015.

"There was adequate proof that the system [the Hawks] met the requirements."

The Gripen had completed 85% of its tests and evaluation, but there were still steps which needed to be completed before the SAAF took full ownership.

On Monday morning, the commission heard that the SAAF had to adapt to all budget cuts to fit in with the realities.

Bayne said that after the 1994 elections, South Africa was seen as a highly successful and peaceful country, and that this had played a role in budgeting, particularly the budget cuts in 1997.

He said the risks of putting a young pilot into a high performance and high cost aircraft had been considered when it came to the costs of continuing the three-tier training system.

President Jacob Zuma appointed the commission, which is chaired by Judge Willie Seriti, in 2011 to investigate alleged corruption in the 1999 multi-billion rand arms deal.

The commission resumes on Tuesday morning, when Bayne will give evidence on the utilisation of the systems.

Read more on:    saaf  |  jacob zuma  |  willie seriti  |  arms deal

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


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.


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.