No pilot school for Overberg base

2012-07-18 19:09

Johannesburg - There will not be a Gripen fighter weapon school at Air Force Base Overberg in the Western Cape, the defence department said on Wednesday.

"The SA National Defence Force notes with concern the insinuations [that it will] partner with Saab to establish [the school]," department spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini said in a statement.

"We would like to place on record that there has never been any discussion between Saab and the SANDF."

Last week, defence and security company Saab announced on its group website that it was investing in an advanced training centre for experienced fighter pilots at Air Force Base Overberg.

Dlamini said the report that the school would be established in Overberg was "devoid of truth".

"The Air Force Base Overberg is a sensitive security establishment of the SANDF and will remain solely in the hands of the SANDF," he said.

  • mundu.olewega - 2012-07-18 19:34

    No worries, there are no "experienced fighter pilots" available to be trained either.

      Wesley Bischoff - 2012-07-18 20:52

      Actually there are, as there were about 15 jets (including Gripens) flying around Century City and Cape Town a few months ago, at Ysterplaat Air Base.

      mundu.olewega - 2012-07-18 21:36

      The key word was "experienced". Just flying around in a plane doesn't make them experienced.

      en.gineer.359 - 2012-07-19 01:33

      How do you define experienced? The majority of the current Gripen pilots have been flying jets since the days of the Cheetahs and Impalas. From the mid 90's.

  • brandon.golding - 2012-07-18 20:28

    Is Saab offering to establish and fund a fighter weapons school AKA Top Gun, for Gripen pilots at AFB Overberg, at a time when the SANDF is hamstrung by budget constraints to a point where training and flight hours are severely curtailed - and the SANDF says 'No!'??

      Wesley Bischoff - 2012-07-18 20:49

      Morons -.-

      en.gineer.359 - 2012-07-18 20:59

      No. The Top Gun school was/is meant for all Gripen operators. Meaning all countries who fly Gripens would have their pilots walking in and out of Overberg. There is still very sensitive equipment down there, and the international clients who use the base for testing probably aren't happy with the idea as well.

      brandon.golding - 2012-07-18 21:35

      So Gripen operators from around the world will come here for advanced training and a few Red Flag exercises (huge training benefit to SAAF), all of whom are prospective future clients in terms of extended training and facilities as well as possible Denel clients once we have decided on any local weapons system and avionic upgrades - and we reject this for fear of possibly making the 2nd Under Deputy Minister of Defense for Burundi feel slightly uncomfortable? Mmm...or does someone have a finger/hand/arm/full-upper-torso in another arms deal they're trying to keep under wraps?

      en.gineer.359 - 2012-07-19 01:39

      All you've pointed out already happens, without this school. The SAAF had a red flag type exercise in Sweden this year (Lion Effort), and pretty much kicked ass. Denel has already integrated the A Darted missile onto the Gripen, so the door is already open for future clients. The school would have been nice....but its not a number 1 priority.

  • sam.brink.92 - 2012-07-18 20:50

    He he , I'd rather believe SAABs version, maybe the didn't get the memo at the SADF:)

  • raymond.billson - 2012-07-19 11:29

    en.gineer.359 you bring a sense of qualified reporting back to a very chaotic and volotile theatre of operations. Thanks and well done for the updates.

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