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10 mars 2014 1 10 /03 /mars /2014 19:45
28 Squadron takes NSRI crew aboard for maritime flight training

Maritime flight training for NSRI - Picture Robert Fine, NSRI


10 March 2014 defenceWeb


28 Squadron is widely recognised as one of the hardest working units in the SA Air Force (SAAF) with its more than 50-year-old C-130BZs routinely providing logistic support across the country and the continent.


One of its other missions is search and rescue and training in this aspect of operations with the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) recently took place a long way from the squadron’s home base at AFB Waterkloof.


A pair of BZs made AFB Ysterplaat their temporary base for maritime flight operations training. NSRI crew members Robert Fine and Mahboob Ebrahim were invited to join the crew aboard one of the BZs.


The mission the NSRI crew joined started early at Ysterplaat and after a flight briefing the aircraft departed for a location just off Saldanha Bay/Langebaan lagoon. Two specially deployed SANDF “casualty” vessels were on the sea in the area for the aircrew to spot and then deploy life rafts as near as possible.


“On arrival in the area, the C-130 started a search pattern and once the ‘casualties’ were located, the flight pattern was changed so that multiple smoke markers could be dropped in close proximity. The markers would assist with wind direction and enable the pilot to line up the aircraft on final approach. Once in position a life raft is pushed out of the back of the aircraft with a small parachute deploying to break its fall. It automatically inflates on hitting the water,” said Fine.


The C-130BZ has a range of about 2 700 nautical miles and an eight hour endurance. The four-engined aircraft can run search operations up to 1 300 nautical miles offshore with an hour on station depending on weather conditions and other variables. Different size life rafts can be dropped depending on the number of people needing rescue. Additional life rafts are carried aboard in case the initial drop is unsuccessful.


28 Squadron, under the command of Colonel Jurgens Prinsloo, has nine C-130BZs on its inventory to fulfil tasks ranging from logistic support for SANDF continental peacekeeping and peace support operations, humanitarian operations, search and rescue, support to the SA Army and general airlift.


The squadron is the SAAF’s main medium heavy airlift squadron and last June it marked its 70th anniversary at the same time as the 50th in-service anniversary of the C-130BZ.

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14 mars 2013 4 14 /03 /mars /2013 17:45



14 March 2013 by Kim Helfrich- defenceWeb


The South African Air Force’s (SAAF) only dedicated airlift unit, based at AFB Waterkloof, marks its 70th anniversary in June. At the same time it will also mark the 50th year of service of the venerable Hercules C-130BZ with the SAAF.


The third number that will be commemorated is 100, to mark the centenary of Lockheed Martin, the US aerospace company responsible for the design and manufacture of the C-130, now in its J model.


Immediately after being formed at Almaza, Egypt, on June 1, 1943, 28 Squadron was split into two, with A Flight based at Castel Benito in Italy and B Flight based at Ras-el-Ma in Morocco, both operating Avro Ansons, according to the Unofficial SAAF website.


By August that year Wellingtons and Dakotas had joined the fleet. The squadron also operated detachments in Sicily and Algeria and it was only at the end of the war in Europe that the squadron consolidated operations at Maison Blanche, Algeria.


In September 1945 the squadron returned to South Africa and was based at AFB Swartkop from where it shuttled South African troops home from North Africa and Europe (the “Springbok Shuttle”) during 1945 and early 1946 using Dakotas. At this time, they also operated the Anson, DH Rapide and a single Avro York.


VIP flights were an important part of 28 Squadrons taskings, with various Dakotas and Venturas fitted out with improved accommodation. From 22 September 1948 to 25 September 1949, two contingents participated in the Berlin Airlift, flying Royal Air Force aircraft. In 1949, nine De Havilland Devons were added to the VIP fleet followed by De Havilland Herons in 1955, while the York was disposed of in 1952. When the Dakota could no longer be used to fly VIPs to Europe, a Viscount was acquired in 1958.


Seven C-130B Hercules were acquired in 1963 and when the squadron moved to AFB Waterkloof it left its Dakotas behind to join 44 Squadron at Swartkop. In February 1968 the VIP flight was reconstituted as 21 Squadron (taking with it the Viscount), while the C-160Z Transall was acquired in 1969 and operated with the squadron from January 1970 until they retired in 1993. Three ex-US Navy C-130F aircraft were acquired in 1996, with a further two ex-US Air Force C-130Bs following in 1998. The F models were only flown for a short period before being retired, but the squadron continues to fly the nine C-130B Hercules all upgraded to C-130BZ configuration.

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14 mars 2013 4 14 /03 /mars /2013 17:45


Picture: Frans Dely/Lockheed Martin


14 March 2013 by Kim Helfrich - defenceweb.co.za


It could be termed “a call to action” or even a friendly warning but the meaning is clear – unless those tasked with planning for the equipment needs of the SA Air Force (SAAF) don’t start now, the country is going to find itself grounded when it comes to airlift.


The SAAF maintains it can operate its ageing fleet of C-130BZ Hercules until 2020 but this doesn’t mean work on replacing these venerable workhorses shouldn’t start now. This is the view of Dennys Plessas, Lockheed Martin Vice President Business Development Initiatives, Europe, Middle East and Africa.


“A start has to be made on planning to replace the BZs,” he told journalists in Pretoria this week.


He acknowledged the South African defence budget, in common with many western countries, was under “extreme stress”. He noted that at a cost of between R693 and R780 million for the basic aircraft, it would be better to look at acquisition “sooner rather than later”.


With timeframes for delivery of up to five years from the date of initial contractual agreement to acquire new aircraft, this certainly makes sense. Plessas pointed out that fine-tuning of contracts and all documentation could take up to a year.


“When this, along with actual build time, fitting of customer specific requirements and testing is taken into account, there is not really too much time left for the SAAF to start serious work on the C-130BZ replacements.”


The SAAF C-130s are operated by 28 Squadron at AFB Waterkloof and this year notch up a remarkable 50 years of service. This Plessas sees as not only a tribute to the flying and maintenance skills of the SAAF and the maintenance and repair abilities of Denel Aviation but also the ruggedness of the aircraft.


“It has proven itself as a willing workhorse all over the world and has, over the years, been adapted to any number of missions.”


It’s origin as a pure airlifter has been boosted by the addition of mission capabilities including air-to-air refuelling, VIP passenger transport, firefighting, maritime patrol and reconnaissance, paradropping and even an armed version.


Airlift and maritime patrol are two red light areas of operation facing the SAAF and Plessas believes the C-130J can do these jobs as well as others.


“This would eliminate the need to acquire extra platforms and because the SAAF is a long-time user of the C-130, at least half the infrastructure needed for new Lockheed Martin platforms is already in place. I see an almost seamless transition to the C-130J if the planners decide it is the most suitable platform.”


This was further borne out by William Swearengen, Air Mobility Systems Studies Principal at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.


He and his team have completed a number of studies pertaining to the use of the C-130J by the SAAF. These include maritime patrols and air-to-air refuelling.


Working from AFB Waterkloof, the new generation airlifters, when suitably equipped, could refuel 2 Squadron Gripens on sorties across the continent. They could also provide full coverage, using a single aircraft, of South Africa’s exclusive economic zone and its priority fishing areas also from Waterkloof, obviating the need to duplicate facilities for maintenance at either AFB Ysterplaat or Port Elizabeth.


These studies show the latest generation Hercules will be a true multi-mission platform and when the possible inclusion of high-tech passenger capsules is added, the C-130J can be tasked in yet another area of operations the SAAF is battling to fill adequately.


Both Plessas and Swearengen point out the modular system of roll-on/roll-off components for different missions do not all have to be done at once.


“These are all already in service and development costs have been paid by the US Air Force. This means no extra cost and with all the necessary fitment options already on the C-130J they can be acquired as need and finance dictate adding more value to the multi-mission role of the aircraft,” they said.


28 Squadron has nine C-130BZs on its inventory to fulfil tasks ranging from logistic support for SA National Defence Force continental peacekeeping and peace support operations, humanitarian operations, support to the landward force, and general airlift. Indications are three, at most four, aircraft are airworthy at any given time.


Time to start working on C-130BZ replacement is now

The C-130BZs were scheduled to be replaced by Airbus’ new generation A400M airlifter, but this order was cancelled due to delays in production, and cost escalations. A deposit of R3.5 billion, paid to Airbus as a risk taking partner in the A400M programme, has been refunded to government but has not been allocated to aircraft acquisition. Indications are at least part of the refund went to the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Programme.

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29 mai 2012 2 29 /05 /mai /2012 07:34

C-130 Hercules source defenceWeb


28 May 2012 Thales


28 May 2012 – Thales has been successfully selected by the South African Department of Defence, South African Air Force and ARMSCOR (Armaments Corporation of South Africa Ltd) for a five years Through Life Support [TLS] of all Thales avionics equipment on-board several fleets of aircrafts.


Under the terms of the multi-year contract signed with Armscor, Thales will support a large variety of avionics equipment on board the aircrafts: TopDeck suite for the C-130BZ Tactical Transport aircrafts, avionics equipment (visualization, navigation and air data computers, …) for the Rooivalk Combat helicopters, TopFlight avionics systems for the Hawk Lead-In-Fighters and avionics suites for the Super Lynx helicopters.


Merry Michaux, Vice-President, Military Aerospace Customer Support and Services Managing Director at Thales said: “This program represents another major step for Thales involvement in South Africa. We are very proud to have been awarded this new contract, which demonstrates our understanding of the customer’s requirements and the development of a successful long term logistics support plan for all South African Air Force fleets. Under this extended perimeter contract, Thales will deliver a Global Logistics Support Services Solution to Armscor, encompassing, among other items, management of obsolescence, of strategic stocks of components, technical support and assistance. Such a long term and transverse approach will enable the customer to fully benefit from Thales expertise in the support domain, under a shared mastering of costs and risks.”

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1 février 2011 2 01 /02 /février /2011 00:29
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