Combat pilots - secret's out

2010-11-18 22:46

Pretoria - The air force's "secret" about the number of qualified Gripen fighter pilots was recently made public in great detail by its own officers during a briefing.

The sudden secrecy regarding the numbers is probably the result of the growing persecution complex, which has been siphoning downward from the defence ministry, experts said on Thursday.

During a recent visit to 2 Squadron at the Makhado air force base, where the Gripens are based, the air force held a comprehensive briefing regarding its fighter pilots.

Brigadier General John Bayne, director of combat systems in the air force explained at the first solo flight of locally-trained Gripen pilots that the first six South African pilots were trained by the SAAB aviation and defence company in Sweden.

SAAB is the manufacturer of the Gripens.

Lieutenant Colonel Musa Mbhokota, the squadron's operations officer, said at the same occasion that the squadron will train a further three Gripen pilots next year.

Coincidentally, Mbhokota is one of the six who were trained in Sweden.

Solo flights

On this occasion three pilots, including the first female Gripen pilot, and a navigator conducted their first solo flights.

This brings the total number of trained pilots to nine, with another three to follow next year.

Brigadier General Wiseman Mbambo of the air force refused to say how many pilots there are at a Parliamentary briefing on Wednesday.

He said such a disclosure would involve "a threat to national security".

Lately similar excuses have been offered by the defence ministry as the reason why details about VIP flights and those of President Jacob Zuma also can't be disclosed.

According to military expert Helmoed-Römer Heitman, it is clear that the air force has no policy regarding what is classified and what not.

"Senior officers now look like fools because there's no proper, logical policy regarding what they are allowed to say. In this case they might be a little embarrassed to say there are only nine Gripen pilots.

"It's almost like a revival of the era of General Magnus Malan (former minister of defence) when no-one was allowed to release information without permission.

"Under Mosiuoa Lekota (former minister of defence) this practice gained new momentum, and now it appears to be common practice to avoid uncomfortable answers by invoking 'national security'," Heitman said.

Bayne said at a recent briefing that the air force has already received 16 of the 26 Gripens on order.

  • PANNEVIS - 2010-11-18 23:29

    So who will pilot the other fighters? Just as well, because they can't afford fuel.

  • U1 - 2010-11-19 01:45

    Another world class screwup.

  • Loren - 2010-11-19 02:11

    We once had a great military..... sadly that is no more! We used to make all of our own weapons & equipment & our guys were at the top of the list of special forces. Now it's a joke! So sad

      Zion - 2010-11-19 05:54

      Loren, I used to belong to that great army we once had and man I was proud of myself and that great fighting force. Sadly we should not associate the two: That army stepped down and this New South Africa army stepped into its shoes. The shoes never fitted. Those were the days when we had some pride in ourselves and country.

      liesl - 2010-11-19 08:49

      Absolutely agree with you both. It is sad ... we had all that expertise, knowledge, experience and skills - there was no logical reason to lose it.

      pointblankza - 2010-11-19 08:57

      Um, we had such a brilliant army because we were at war stupid. We spent billions every year on that war. That is why the ANC took over a bankrupt country... South Africa needs the billions for upliftment not weapons.

      Suckerz - 2010-11-19 09:17

      Pointblanka, who is your dealer coz where-ever you got your whacky graas from, I want some... The ANC took over AND bankrupted the country. Like the Healthcare, Policing and Education, the SANDF got the shaft from our govt, my ignorant friend. South Africa has SPEND billions of Rands funding Corruption, coz as we all know, Corruption does not come cheap. So our AIRFARCE PILOTS left for overseas coz the money is better and planes are safer.

      goonahj - 2010-11-19 09:31

      It may have been a great military - but it was racist one. One that only care for a fraction of the population

      Delarey - 2010-11-19 09:53

      And being at war automatically makes you a great army?? Dumbass! Frelimo had a great army? FAPLA? Any of the African states that are perpetually at war?? Oh yes I forgot the Zimbabwians were great at raping and plundering in the DRC. Please go back to drooling in the corner with that pointy hat on your head!

      Weezychest - 2010-11-19 11:11

      Pointblankza and Thangy Even if the previous goverment left us little bankrupt, the new goverment has done a better job bankrupting this country more. I havent seen a country with a black goverment thriving. Look at the way the States are going. They have seen the light and realized what a mistake they made. We use to have the best ground forces in the world and now what?

      pop101 - 2010-11-19 11:39

      @Pointblankza, you don't have to be in war to have a brilliant army. It's all about war readiness - which I'm sad to say is a scary thought if you think about the SANDF. Yes, we spend a lot of money on that war, but it didn't leave the country bankrupt as you suggest. Remember, we were sanctioned from every corner of the globe, hence we had to develop and make due with what we had. Some of those developed weapon systems are today being sold to "rogue" nations to benefit the ANC fat cats. My guess is they already pocketed (from selling weapon systems) the same amount of money that the whole Bushwar cost SA. I do however agree with you that the money should be spend on upliftment and not weapons. @Tangy - give/show me the facts and I will accept it unconditionally. Will you do the same if I show you how much money was wasted post 1994.

      Other Justin - 2010-11-19 12:36

      @Thangy, I think you and your friend pointblankza need to get your facts strait, being bankrupt does not mean having a useless army, it has to do with pride, attitude, sacrifice and patriotism, not money. Unfortunately the current army is a disgrace, not because of their equipment, because they have some of the best, but because of their attitude. Just remember, we might have given the ANC government an almost bankrupt country, but the white government handed the ANC the most developed and largest economy in Africa and that is with sanctions. Don't just look at the one side of the coin, there are two sides. Unlike the other African nations and their liberation movements, the ANC, in general, inherited a golden egg wich needed polishing, and that my friend is fact, look it up. The problem with this country is not it's people, but it's government, change the government, save the country.

      Zion - 2010-11-19 13:24

      Just by the way: During the bush war our kill ratio was about 25:1, bearing in mind that some of our soldiers died by causes other than at the enemies hands. The ratio is one of the best so far for that particular type of warfare.

      Worldwise - 2010-11-19 13:30

      @ Goonahj. You don't know what you're talking about. Did you ever serve in that so called racist military? The military in apartheid years was the most non racist entity in South Africa you chop. Blacks, whites coloureds and Indians served in it and fought side by side during that war. Look for a picture of the hated Koevoet unit on google and you might just see more black than white soldiers in the same pic. But I suppose the ANC, which killed more blacks in the townships by necklacing etc. (20 000 people) than the SADF killed anywhere during the war has brainwashed you too.

      Mr.Glum - 2010-11-19 15:04

      @goonahj. You are probably a foreigner or too young to know about the military under the apartheid era. I was there, and also did annual camps for another eight years. The then SA army was in no way racist and soldiers from all races served side by side. All those serving had high morale and were patriots.

      Hope123 - 2010-11-19 18:40

      You are just blank,point.

      Hope123 - 2010-11-19 18:43

      @Point very blank: I was in a different army and country - Rhodesia. And you won't believe, Mugabe also inherited a bankrupt country. I remember when I was getting R2 for every $1 I brought to SA. Yep - bankrupt.

      Leb - 2010-11-19 21:22

      Yep Mr.Glum. People of all colours definitely fought side by side, becuase I remember our own black army soldiers beating us up during the apartheid struggle. Lekker stupid ne

      goonahj - 2010-11-20 09:00

      @Worldwise & Mr Glum No need to defensive (pardon the pun).Yes I was too young to serve in the Military during the good ole days as you may put it. I never said that there was no non-whites in the military. Yes there was probably plenty of black, indian and coloured soldiers fighting along side the white soldiers. You claim to be in the army back then, so can you please ask yourselves these questions and answer objectively. Did your non-white "brothers in arms" get the same benefits as you did. How many non whites soldiers were able to progress in the ranks of the military? How many of them held senior positions in the army and were able to lead troops that had white men under their command. I am willing to listen. No one has brainwashed me. I can think for myself. Apartheid is part of our history - no use sugar coating it. We must learn from it and move on. History cannot be changed, but the lessons learnt should guide us in the future. Sadly our present Governement seems to be repeating some of the mistakes of the past.

      oxygen - 2011-01-09 19:22

      @ Zion KILL RATIO ?!?

  • chrhattingh - 2010-11-19 03:16

    6 Trained pilots and 3 trainee pilots to fly the 16 delivered Gripens??!! It appears that there is much less opportunity for kickbacks in the training of pilots than in the procurement of military hardware. Rommel

      Oryx_ZA - 2010-11-19 09:38

      no no no....u have got it ALL wrong. We need 16 planes for 8 pilots, so that they can crush at least one and be a back up plan....and they will crash one

      GTFO - 2010-11-19 13:31

      We can use the extra one for kamakazi....

  • Ozman - 2010-11-19 05:37

    Each combat ready fighter aircraft should have a minimum of three trained pilots, if a combat ready aircraft is used in a military situation and used efficiently to its full potential the aircraft should fly 5 combat missions in a 24 hour period, that’s refuelling and rearming. Furthermore it will require a ground crew of +- 30 trained personnel. You do the maths.

      raymond.billson - 2010-11-19 16:56

      ozman - yes a no brainer - just for the show....

  • zip reeper - 2010-11-19 05:40

    never mind the pilots. the Gripens are antiquated jokes, and what 'enemies' are they going to fight? the enemies are the corrupt politicians who benefited from the Arms Deal, which should still be probed, if Zuma (of all people!) is serious about corruption.

      Geo Farmer - 2010-11-19 06:58

      Well said,Boet!!!! The CORRUPT ANC REGIME is South Africa's biggest enemy and all us law abiding citizens(black/white/brown/pink/yellow) must do all in our power to fight this scourge in our midst.The time has come to start a central database with all these corrupt dealings so these sleazebags will one day answer to the citizens,and made to pay for all their wrongdoings.FORWARD THE REVOLUTION!!!!!

      TinyT - 2010-11-19 07:16

      The Gripens are not antiquated nor are they jokes!

      molefeP - 2010-11-19 07:40

      You don't know much about modern combat aircraft do you?

      Worldwise - 2010-11-19 08:22

      Hey Zip Reeper, where did you get your info about the Gripens being antiquated? If you know anything about fighter aircraft you will know that the Gripen is a 4th generation fighter. The world is mainly running 2nd and 3rd generation fighters except for Europe and America. Try looking it up in Janes' fighter aircraft, a world renowned publication for the military. Unfortunately these fighters are only as good as their personnel, so its a travesty that the ANC can allow one of the best fighters in the world to be undermanned by pilots and ground crew.

      swimma - 2010-11-19 08:23

      The Gripen is certainly not antiquated! It is one of the finest aircraft in its class! It is much more advanced than the F16, which was also under consideration. As for our ability to field sufficient crew for these aircraft, thats another matter. As Ozman states, for a fleet of 26 aircraft, we should have around 100 trained pilots.

      Hardtail - 2010-11-19 08:24

      TIny and Molefe? neither do you guys...tsk....

      liesl - 2010-11-19 08:52

      We should have a 100? And we have 9? Oh dear, it's going to take a while to train the rest ....

      pointblankza - 2010-11-19 09:00

      @Hardtail, if they didn't they wouldn't have replied. Moron.

      jawjabber7 - 2010-11-19 13:55

      Dear Zipper Head. You, sir, have just won my inaugural"Idiotic comment of the day" prize. The Gripen was introduced in 1996. Now consider arguably the most modern operational fighter to date, the F-22, which was introduced in 2005. Compare that with the F-15 (1976), F-16 (1978), Mig-29 (1983) and Su-27 (1984), you will see that it is indeed an advanced modern combat system. "Flush out your headgear, new guy"

      Whitefedup - 2010-11-19 17:36


      Arthur Phili - 2010-11-20 12:16

      This new comment system is failing, people like malcomx are making absurd statements with no basis. Moderators, people will start responding in kind. He is inciting abuse. He is an Internet troll. Everyone who reads this, "Report my comment" so the moderators can become aware of this problem. If people don't want to work for an agreed salary they should not undertake employment. The minimum wage is set, they can go to authorities if they are indeed underpaid. As far as sexual abuse goes, the truth is during farm invasions sexual abuse, torture and so forth takes place. What you are implying is that sexual abuse by farmers is a daily occurrence, though I think its incidence is very low if at all an occurrence. Like in the USA, I think rape against black woman, is mostly committed by black men. There were 194,270 white and 17,920 black victims of rape or sexual assault reported in 2006. Out of the 194,270 cases involving white victims, 50.6% had white offenders and 16.7% had black offenders, while the 36,620 black victims had a figure of 43% black offenders, the remaining being of other or unreported race, with a negligible number of white offenders.

  • Ozman - 2010-11-19 05:43

    Each combat ready fighter aircraft should have a minimum of three trained pilots, if a combat ready aircraft is used in a military situation and used efficiently to its full potential the aircraft should fly 5 combat missions in a 24 hour period, that’s refuelling and rearming. Furthermore it will require a ground crew of +- 30 trained personnel.

  • Wernerkwane - 2010-11-19 06:14

    Q How many pilots do you have? A That ees clasified! Sounds to me like he didn't know! he is to busy committing tender fraud to bother with little things how many trained pilots they have!

  • djc - 2010-11-19 07:04

    The fact that they can take off and land a Gripen does not mean that they are combat ready. It takes many hours of training and practice to get combat ready and you then have to fly on a regular basis to remain combat ready. To have a pilot that can only take off and land a fighter aircraft means absolutely nothing, they are only good for airshows and flypasts.

  • djc - 2010-11-19 07:09

    The fact that they are solo on a Gripen means that they can take off and land the aircraft and that is far away from being combat ready. It takes many hours of training and practise to get and remain combat ready. At the moment they are good for airshows and flypasts, but I suppose to look good is what its all about at the moment.

  • Exunitate - 2010-11-19 07:20

    This whole situation magnifies the total inefficiency, mismanagement and plain stupidity of our so called "government". In their frantic efforts to destroy everything the previous government achieved by getting rid of all the knowledgeable, trained and efficient whites they reduced this country to the laughing stock of the world

  • Arthur Phili - 2010-11-19 07:29

    Only 9? I think the treat of the flying penguin army to the South is now at an all time high! We really do need fighter pilots now more than ever! What threat is there, that we need these expensive planes and pilots who will leave the country to fly commercial jets elsewhere?

      Worldwise - 2010-11-19 08:32

      Arthur, do you stop paying your medical aid and life insurance because you are healthy and do you cancel your armed response because there are no suspicious characters in your street? The world is unpredictable and can change very quickly. When it does change suddenly you had better have what you need and it better be combat ready. It takes 5 to 8 years to have a combat system like fighter aircraft, submarines and ships ready with all their support systems and personnel. You got that time when the situation changes suddenly? Check out history and how Britain was brought to its unprepared knees by being unprepared for world war 2 after deciding that world war 1 was the war to end all wars and reducing their military to a token force. The Brits will never make that mistake again!

      Arthur Phili - 2010-11-19 09:14

      You have to evaluate the threats, South Africa has bigger problems than possible wars. I'll venture to say HIV has killed more people than all of South Africa's wars till now. I'd rather see the money spent on social development, in order to avoid a civil war, which is a much bigger concern for me. If there is need for advanced fighters, then we're up against an enemy outside of Africa, if this enemy happens to be Russia, China, USA, UK, EU alliance etc then we should invest our money in a white flag. I think with a few billion, we could go in to an alliance with an EU country and outsource our need for fighter planes.

      jawjabber7 - 2010-11-19 14:00

      Apparently you, sir, have missed a little agreement our (current) government has with both the AU and the UN as PEACE KEEPERS. In order to do that you require a COMBAT READY FORCE. I put some things in capitals, in case you miss the point.

      Arthur Phili - 2010-11-19 21:17

      @malcolmx Jou koppie raas baie erg. That means you are bat shit crazy. Your racist rhetoric has to stop. Race is not even mentioned in the article! Where the hell do you get 10 virgins from Vietman from? I left South Africa because of people like you in the government, I hope South Africa opens its eyes, because sharing a country with people like you who sees everything in terms of black and white can only end badly.

      LGVS - 2010-11-19 21:41

      @malcolmx You are the racist my friend. I am lilly white and not ever planning on leaving SA. Not even as a result of assholes like you. Knock that chip off your black shoulder and become human. My heritage is as South African as yours.

      Arthur Phili - 2010-11-19 22:09

      @jawjabber7 Alright, which of the African civil wars we get involved in as peacekeepers, did they need fighter pilots for and why do we need cutting edge tech we can not afford or use?

      jawjabber7 - 2010-11-20 09:39

      Every peace keeping action we get involved in should have air superiority, which requires either (a) active combat in order to obtain it, or (b) a strong enough deterrent to keep the enemy out of the air. Apparently you have never heard of asymmetric warfare. It appears you have absolutely no knowledge of how "wars" or peace keeping actions are run.

      Arthur Phili - 2010-11-20 12:26

      I don't see any need for an air force with advanced fighter planes in Africa. If everyone was literate, had access to good health care, clean water electricity, state pension and so forth, then start building on the nice-to-haves like an brand new air force. In which African war, was fighter planes used by African nations against each other? This expense seems to me unjustifiable, all you have to do, to convince me that we need this planes is to show me the enemy or potential enemy it could be used against? In my opinion we can use 15 year old tech and still be alright.

      Worldwise - 2010-11-21 13:45

      Arthur, during the Angolan conflict Mig 23's were used against the South Africans. Due to this loss of air superiority the South Africans had to adapt their tactics and the war was much more difficult. Fighter aircraft have been used in many other African wars, just not reported on. Do some research and you will see. Try Biafra with Nigerian fighters pumelling civilians. An enemy or potenetial enemy is usually unknown and unforseen, the world changes rapidly and you had better be ready. Like what happens when you are braaing and the armed robbers enter your yard. You couldn't forsee that either.

      Worldwise - 2010-11-21 13:48

      Arthur, you want to send your son to war with 15 year old tech and assure him he'll be alright? No ways pal, give your military only the best if you don't want a bloody nose. Orn you would like to see your son come home from a war.

  • Clifford - 2010-11-19 07:31

    This ridiculous outfit that hes adopted the title 'Defense Force' cannot have any more pilots as they need more than a few planes in reserve for when we hear the standard indigenous utterance "Eish! ees broken"

  • bill - 2010-11-19 07:40

    A few years ago there was a Danish political party which capaigned that it would scrap the defence force and buy a sound system which would announce " we surrender". I think it is time for us to consider this option!

  • mdmunro - 2010-11-19 07:41


      Exunitate - 2010-11-19 08:46

      Please don't try to expedite that because we'll have no planes left after the first exercise.

      liesl - 2010-11-19 08:55

      fortunately we're not fighting a war right now .. well except the war against crime, and for THAT war 9 or 100 pilots is not going to make too much of a difference. So I think they have time ... :)

  • mdmunro - 2010-11-19 07:42


  • Badger - 2010-11-19 07:45

    If we go to war our 6 pilots will have 6 TomaHawk missiles right in their ring before they can say "Mayday" Eish, but that is National Security!!!

      jawjabber7 - 2010-11-19 14:02

      You, sir, are an uninformed idiot. The Tomahawk is a cruise missile intended to attack static, land-based, hardened targets.

  • Picasso - 2010-11-19 08:03

    Why not sell the rest of the planes, and put the money in a trust to fund maintenance on police vehicles.

      liesl - 2010-11-19 08:56


  • Quentin - 2010-11-19 08:31

    Look at it this way - more aircraft than pilots is perhaps a good thing in the New SA. If a kite gets snagged for some problem there is always another to fly while it takes months to find the fault on the snagged aircraft!

  • jan.hitge - 2010-11-19 08:38

    I know, everyone is always against america cause they are arrogant... at least they are not afraid to let people know what you will be up against. Operations Commander 242 Airlift Pilot 3,108 Bomber Pilot 759 Test Pilot 110 Fighter Pilot 3,491 Generalist Pilot 221 Helicopter Pilot 431 Trainer Pilot 335 Recce/Surv/Elect Warfare Pilot 676 Special Operations Pilot 579 Tanker Pilot, C-12 CTP 1,468 Airlift Navigator 777 Bomber Navigator 970 Test Navigator 26 ....and the list goes on and on

      Bratt - 2010-11-19 16:53

      as does the BS in your case.

      artreyuartaz - 2010-11-21 06:59

      oh come on that's nothing. Our 6 pilots will take them all on before having to refuel! More seriously though, gone are the days when the SA pilots could match the likes of the Israeli air force. What is never mentioned is that a large percentage of SA's best pilots and ground crew now work and fly for the Australian air force! Now why is that I wonder!

  • Goose - 2010-11-19 08:41

    hahaha Half the population can hardly afford to feed themselves, most can hardly read a book or sign their name yet the retarded offspring populating Luthuli House think they are doing a fantastic job. If this defence spend fiasco of R40 billion was halved, SA could have built ALL the schools it needs and kitted them out 100% and still had change which could have been pumped in to train more teachers. Eish...Eish....Eish!!!! Africa...say no more.

  • Quentin - 2010-11-19 08:42

    Somethings else to consider: 1. How long does it take for the Gripen to reach it's operational ceiling when scrambled compared to the F15 and F16. 2. How up to date is the Weapons Delivery and Navigation systems compared to their counterparts. 3. Can we use Air to Air missiles from the EU and the US are has the weapons delivery software platform been "tailored" to fit the profile of only the Engwe missiles and local bombs made in SA? 4. How efficient is the Aircraft fuel wise - ie: How long can it stay in the air before it has to refuel either in air or on the ground. 5. Have the ballistic missile software algorithms been tested for repeatability and accuracy? 6. How good are the electronic counter measures compared to similar aircaft? 7. How much does it cost to maintain this aircraft - I am sure a Mig would be a lot cheaper to maintain.

      bill - 2010-11-19 09:57

      What is this algorithms thing? We in the ANCYL say it is an imperialist plot to undermine our glorious leader, His Excellency, comrade general Julius.

      pop101 - 2010-11-19 11:58

      I like your analysis - and what I've read is that the Gripen compares quite well (if not better) if measured against the latest F16's. However, if price is brought into the picture - the Gripen is a dead loss. Why didn't we just buy a couple of older F16's, which is still a lot better fighter than everybody else have in the southern Africa region. I can only shake my head as to how they got the idea of buying these expensive Gripen planes.

      quinton.v.eeden - 2010-11-19 15:26

      there is no word in Pedi for algorithm you bleddie agent!

  • Perisher - 2010-11-19 08:43

    Three Gripen's per pilot.

  • mal.emmer - 2010-11-19 08:44

    There are a number of solutions to the jet lag (gap between pilots and their planes) problem- We could nationalise the defence force; We could fill the planes with fool; We could exempt BEE candidates from the flying tests; We could have another tea and cake conference and pay for a report; We could create a national pilots tax; We could run and hide.

  • Quentin - 2010-11-19 08:46

    Lastly two questions: What is the Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) on this aircraft? What is the Mean Time To Repair (MTTR) this aircraft in the SAAF with our personnel compared to our European counterparts.

      jawjabber7 - 2010-11-19 14:40

      Looks like someone just wrote Maintenance 3! Well done, boet!

      Mr.Glum - 2010-11-19 15:37

      Easy with the techno-jargon boet, some people don’t even understand woodwork.

      Quentin - 2010-11-19 19:35

      Well JawJabber at least I do not hide under an pseudomn and insult every one here. The CORRECT definition for thrust is lb with a little f at the bottom. Not lbf. Hence I typed lb/f.

      jawjabber7 - 2010-11-20 09:42

      It's actually called a "pseudonym", but whatever... keep digging! And you are WRONG AGAIN. "The CORRECT definition for thrust is lb with a little f at the bottom". No, sir... "lb with a little f at the bottom" is the one of the units we measure force or thrust in. It is not the "definition" of thrust.

  • ethne2 - 2010-11-19 09:15

    Hauw, I am impressed with the knowledge of some of these writers. I know nothing about aircraft except that somehow they manage to stay in the sky - most times - in spite of their weight. But I now understand why the government did not want us to know how many pilots we have in our airforce. It is embarassing to say the least!! What I really want to know though is why did the ANC spend so much money in the arms deal when there is not the staff to use this expensive equipment and this applies not only to the airforce but the navy also? Then, why are the trips that Zuma HAS ALREADY MADE dangerous for us to know about? For goodness sake, no one can attack already done flights!!! future trips are the ones that can be attacked including if they are holiday trips. What is the ANC hiding again????? This is like the apartheid years when the press was supressed/jailed for printing information the government did not want the public to know about. eish, eish, eish, eish, eish, someone help us please!!

  • ethne2 - 2010-11-19 09:28

    Hauw, I am impressed with the knowledge of some of these writers. I know nothing about aircraft except that somehow they stay in the sky - most times - in spite of their weight. No wonder the government did not want us to know the no of fighter pilots, it is embarassing !!! What I want to know is why did we have to spend so much money in the arms deal since we don't have the manpower either in the air force or the navy to operate this equipment?? Also, what is the danger in knowing about flights Zuma has ALREADY DONE?? You can't attack those flights they are finished and klaar. Future flights could be a danger to know, even if the flights are to parties and holidays but as a taxpayer I do like to know how my money is used. ANC is like the apartheid government, introduce the 'silence bill' by keeping the public in the dark and lock up anyone who discloses information. eish eish eish eish, someone help us please!!

  • Quentin - 2010-11-19 09:32

    I see that the latest F16 has a power to weight ratio greater than 1. The latest engine thrust with afterburner on is 32000 lb/f. It can accelerate vetically breaking the sound barrier from take off to reach 50 000 feet in one minute. It is also equipped with a synthetic apeture radar. The maximum thrust from the Gripen is 18100 lb/f with afterburner on.

      Ditto - 2010-11-19 10:36

      @Quentin, there is still vacancies for the Gripen. Interrested?

      Worldwise - 2010-11-19 13:57

      Quentin, you are writing way above the average persons attention span. I know what you are talking about and can calculate MTBF etc. but the average public person believes that his car needs to be serviced after so many km and not after so many hours because the dealer told them that. You are speaking to the sheeple. If you want to discuss this on a pilots forum go to and read some sense. You wont have to put up with idiotic comments by MalcolmX either, who appears to be a troll.

      jawjabber7 - 2010-11-19 14:53

      I'd like to have some of what you are smoking! Breaking the sound-barrier in a vertical climb? Starting from a scramble? Aren't you thinking of the space-shuttle, my boy? You shouldn't just take everything you read on Wikipedia at face value. The "50,000 ft/min" is an INITIAL climb rate. As the aircraft climbs, the speed of the climb slows down. Also, lb/f is not really used to measure anything, much less thrust. Maybe you meant lbf (or POUND-Force)? Further, try and climb to 50,000' in full afterburn and you'll melt all those nice little Titanium bits trying to hold your "32000 lb/f" together.

      jawjabber7 - 2010-11-19 15:00

      Boet, listen to what Worldwise is saying. Reaching supersonic speeds in a vertical climb from a scramble? Aren't you thinking of the Space Shuttle? Pounds per foot? What does that measure? Don't you maybe mean "lbf" or Pounds-FORCE? Just because Wikipedia says the F16 has a climb rate of 50,000 ft/min, it doesn't mean it will reach 50,000' after a minute. The number shown is an initial climb rate. The climb will slow as the air thins. Also, try climbing to 50000 on full afterburner and all those nice Titanium bits containing your thrust will let go.

      jawjabber7 - 2010-11-19 15:02

      Boet, listen to what Worldwise is saying. Reaching supersonic speeds in a vertical climb from a scramble? Aren't you thinking of the Space Shuttle? Pounds per foot? What does that measure? Don't you maybe mean "lbf" or Pounds-FORCE? Just because Wikipedia says the F16 has a climb rate of 50,000 ft/min, it doesn't mean it will reach 50,000' after a minute. The number shown is an initial climb rate. The climb will slow as the air thins. Also, try climbing to 50000 on full afterburner and all those nice Titanium bits containing your thrust will let go.

      Quentin - 2010-11-19 19:02

      Actually seeing is believing. I was in Israel in the 80's and have seen the F16's being scrambled. Vertical climb from the edge of the runway. We were later told that they had an extensive study underway as the pilots were blacking out for milliseconds at a time.

      jawjabber7 - 2010-11-20 09:56

      So you went to one of their airshows as a kid? Sure, there are many aircraft capable of vertical or close-to-vertical take-off, but did you wait at 50,000' with a stopwatch and timed them as they came through? Pilots black out all the time. GLOC even occurs in a level turning fight. What is the relevance of that to reaching the aircraft's ceiling in one minute?

  • chantal de pierres - 2010-11-19 09:58

    Why do none of you people know how to Google? all the information is out there if you look!

      Dr. Zeek - 2010-11-19 11:59

      google is oppposed to the national democratic revulsion, it's a colonialist tool and it is too kleva.

      artreyuartaz - 2010-11-21 07:02

      @Dr. Zeek: Excellent! :)

  • GV - 2010-11-19 09:58

    I'd comment, but in the interests of National security............

  • johanvanheerden - 2010-11-19 10:42

    Maybe people making comments on possible threats should looked to RSA neighbours and what military hardware they can put in the field. South Africa spends just under the international accepted threshold of 3% of GDP on the military. This is still the highest for SADC, because it is relative to each countries GDP. But countries like Angola and Zimbabwe has much more operational experience due to the 30 year civil war in Angola. Zimbawe gained experience from the conflict in the DRC. Angola can put a 100 000 men in the field, with state of the art equipment. One should also look at the diffrent military allainces within SADC (DRC, ANGOLA and NAMIBIA)and the diffrent national interest to make future theat assessments. I am sure that all the necassry threat assessments has been done and for now the RSA has no immediate threat, but the military must always be in force preperation mode so that they can be ready for active duty when required. It takes time to train personell and aircraft needs more than pilots, there are approximatly 12 support staff per aircrtaft.

      Andrè - 2011-02-09 15:45

      Operation Eagle...just across the border? That what you mean?

  • Rob - 2010-11-19 11:21

    At least if they crash one and the pilot survives they will have spare planes...

  • Roy - 2010-11-19 11:25

    I wonder how many pilots are going to be killed, just like the initial "token" pilot did? My heart to all those families of those killed in the Vaal.

  • Jc - 2010-11-19 11:33

    If Zuma didn't take the lucrative arms deal we would have gotten aircraft from America. The Gripens are still being integrated into the system and the climate. The question to ask is how may Gripens are operationable. Because some Gripens parts are being used to fix the few since it takes weeks to get the parts. Blame our wonderful president for taking the air force and crash landing them. The poor pilots have trained for years just to fly a few hours. They work hard everyday trying to use what resouces they have.

  • Ozman - 2010-11-19 11:41

    We must just bear in mind that the Swedes will only give the said pilots basic fighter training and how to handle the aircraft and systems, it will take another 3 to 4 years before pilots become totally efficient in the full potential of the plane.

  • Ozman - 2010-11-19 11:46

    Fighter pilots have to be extremely intelligent, to be able to process all the information received very rapidly to be able to perform the correct procedure, you must be switch on 100% of the time or you history mate.

  • Rory444 - 2010-11-19 11:57

    Now we just need an article on the Lynx choppers. The 4 in Cape Town bought for R1bn (R250mil each) and they can't maintain them. The Oryx costs R110mil each and we already have pilots, technicians and parts for those. Which would you buy if you where honest and had a brain??

  • Dr. Zeek - 2010-11-19 12:00

    What about the kak choppers and the subs without batteries/pranged and the terrible hawks and the unseaworthy frigates?

      malcomx - 2010-11-19 13:45

      The people who were suppose to operate this machines are all at c-max prison for trying to destabilise the country. the only threat to mzansi wont come from outside our boaders, but within our boarders!.carefull what you post here dr zeek!

      jawjabber7 - 2010-11-19 14:55

      To which "kak choppers" are you referring? The AW109 LUH is an awesome bird. And the Rooivalk has the potential to be a great combat system.

      pop101 - 2010-11-19 15:16

      Yes, the Rooivalk has the potential...note...POTENTIAL. Anywoo...only in Africa.

      Quentin - 2010-11-19 19:09

      The Rooivalk is a dinasaur. The avionics suite has never worked properly and no-one in the world is going to buy it because there is no software support for NATO missiles and bombs. As it is SA is buying NATO bombs and missiles for the Gripen as SAAB wanted to charge them too much to change the software.

      jawjabber7 - 2010-11-20 09:50

      Quentin, a little spell check goes a long way... din - O - saur. As with regards to your statement- I bet there are a couple chopper pilots out at 16 Squadron that will differ with your assessment that "the avionics suite has never worked properly"? Where do you get your information, boet? Furthermore, first you complain that the Rooivalk doesn't support NATO weapons and then in the same breath you complain that the Gripen has to use NATO weapons. So which is it? Which do you hate most? Or are you just unhappy with everything and you try to show how much you "know" by shooting off random comments?

  • Nerfiller - 2010-11-19 13:11

    What about ground crews, aircraft technicians, avionics technicians and weapon technicians that are required to maintain these aircraft, bet there are just as few. Its easy strapping a dude to a rocket not so easy getting it to fly properly.

  • GTFO - 2010-11-19 13:30

    Nein!!!!!!! Only Nein!!!!! man if the US or China attacked us we would be dead dead dead!

      pop101 - 2010-11-19 15:16

      Nevermind US or China....what about Lesotho.

      artreyuartaz - 2010-11-21 07:05

      Oh man pop101, this is hilarious!

  • c - 2010-11-19 13:52

    Typical ANC circus! Buy the planes, take a huge bribe and then try to find it the pilots, eish!

  • ethne2 - 2010-11-19 15:37

    No man. The more I read all this stuff the more poep scared I become. This expensive technical airforce and navy equipment and no one qualified to use it. Just think of the air collisions, military men shooting each other as they can't aim straight, the crash landings etc. On top of that an overweight untrained army who would probably shoot themselves before they manage to shoot the enemy due to lack of training and the warships and subs out on that big wide ocean with untrained personnel. The ships will get lost man and we paid for them - big bucks! Hope this govt, by the time they have trained and adequate personnel in the defence force won't need to top up on equipment destroyed/lost during training. Heck no, that will be another arms deal scandal declared a national security matter not to be revealed by the press. Anyone for a drink to calm their nerves, I think I need one.

  • Mundu - 2010-11-19 18:30

    You guys are going to get your asses kicked when the 3rd force attacks with their 22 crop dusters. The SAAF will be running around trying to figure how to start the Gripens. What a Banana Republic!

  • antediluvian - 2010-11-19 19:33

    I am surprised that no one has yet asked the obvious supplementary questions. We are told that one of the twelve is female. That's not quite 50%, but it is a start. Of the other eleven, are 8 Black, one Coloured, one Indian, and one white? And what are the demographics for all pilots? And, of those, how many are South African, and how many mercenary? And who flies the President on his jaunts? There are so many questions, and so much embarrassment, but they don't constitute a threat to National Security.

  • Michael - 2010-11-19 23:07

    Read about the military debacle and other important issues, in laymans language right here... An eye opener of note...

      alfred - 2010-11-20 10:10

      You have small eyes. How about telling your adopted country and countrymen how you feel?

      artreyuartaz - 2010-11-21 07:09

      @alfred: How about you read some of those articles first.

  • Blip - 2010-11-20 06:08

    My goodness! There are enough pilots for about 30 minutes of aerial combat and then it's the end of SA's air cover! And all the remaining planes are useless if nobody can fly them. What a mickey-mouse air force!

  • Adriana - 2010-11-20 13:16

    There's nothing 'secret'about this story. Back on July 30 2008 the SA defence minister already admitted in parliament that air force had twenty operational fighter-pilots left;that the navy advertised for 126 new submariners including 59 technicians; and revealed that one of the brand-new German subs' engines was destroyed because of stupidity by its BEE-crew...that they'd just bought 24 new Hawk and 26 Gripen fighter jets but did not have enough skilled pilots left to fly them.. The ANC-government also bitched ab out the huge number of SA fighter-pilots and -technicians joining the Australian air force.The regime didn't want the white pilots but didn't want them working anywhere else, either, apparently.The commander of the 85th Fighter-Pilot school, the Nr Two Fighter Squadron's commander and his second-in-command at Makhado all left for countries which appreciated them much more. Over the past five years, South Africa lost a whopping 91 fighter-pilots and 822 jet-fighter technicians - all 'whites'. In 2008, Terror Lekota whined that these skilled people were 'being lured abroad by old colleagues in the struggle'.However the real crisis is caused by the huge number of skilled technicians lost in the braindrain - because aircraft cannot fly without technical support. And it's all caused directly by the ANC-regime's stupidly shortsighted anti-white hiring laws.

  • cornsterenator - 2010-11-20 15:52

    If you look at the bunch of clowns in the Souf Efriken Airfarce it looks more likely that they were trained at SAB and not SAAB. Or perhaps they were trained by the SABC?

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