Mayday for SA’s air force
Unserviceable aircraft, along with a lack of training, money and crew have placed the world’s second-oldest air force in a deep stall and it may be too late to avoid a disaster
If you’re looking for a bleak tale of the true state of our air force — the second-oldest after the Royal Air Force — consider the debacle that played out recently at the Lohathla army base that covers 158,000ha in the Kalahari in the Northern Cape.
It began with a veld fire at around 10am on October 7, in the nearby iron-ore mining town of Kathu. Thanks to high winds in the area, which typically whip up to around 70km/h, the blaze spread quickly and reached the combat training area by about 2pm. At that point the fire jumped the base’s perimeter fences, destroying equipment and vehicles worth millions of rand, killing six soldiers and resulting in severe burns for three others. ..
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