Publication: Mail and Guardian Issued: Date: 2006-05-24 Reporter: Leon Engelbrecht Reporter: Sapa

SA Air Force Takes Delivery of Two New Hawk Planes



Mail and Guardian




Leon Engelbrecht, Sapa

Web Link


The South African Air Force on Wednesday took delivery of its first two Hawk Mark 120 lead-in fighter trainers.

The air force will receive 10 of the aircraft from Denel and BAE Systems in the next few weeks.

Parts of the aircraft are locally manufactured, others imported and the assembly is done in South Africa under British supervision.

All 24, ordered in 1999, will be delivered by late next year.

Speaking at the delivery ceremony at Denel's aircraft factory in Kempton Park, BAE Systems Hawk manager Mike Rennardson said that in taking delivery of the two aircraft, SA joined 19 other countries that had chosen the Hawk to train their fighter pilots.

"As you can see, some significant progress has been made on the programme. The first aircraft have been completed, inspected by the [air force] and Armscor and will be delivered to their new home at Air Force Base Makhado today [Wednesday]."

The two aircraft departed for Makhado [formerly Louis Trichardt] shortly after noon on Wednesday.

Project officer -- and pilot of one of the two aircraft -- Lieutenant Colonel John Bayne said flight time would be 30 minutes to 35 minutes.

"We are delighted to be departing Denel today [Wednesday]. The unit [85 Combat Flying School] is eagerly awaiting our arrival. It is a wonderful day."

With acknowledgment to Leon Engelbrecht, Sapa and Mail & Guardian.