September 1, 2011 saw the annual display of South African Air Power at the Roodevaal bombing range in Limpopo. The event was hosted by the Chief of the Air Force, Gen Gagiano and, in part, supported by Saab.
VIP's, journalists and high ranking officials were flown in and joined the crowd of officers, soldiers and other guests already seated on the large spectator stand.
The show opened with a keynote address from General Gagiano and a tactical run through of the upcoming activities by General Bayne, Director Combat Systems. The “enemy” was approaching from the north and the show opened with a dogfight between two Gripen fighters and an “enemy” aircraft. After that the helicopters arrived in force with troops and vehicles air dropped in to the battle, supported by Rooivalk attack helicopters. Hawk aircraft did strafing attacks and finally a four-ship of Gripen aircraft arrived and ended the “conflict” by putting 16 live Mk82 bombs into the target. An action packed hour was over and the South African Air Force had convincingly displayed its capability to defend the country.
The South African Air Force Air Capability Demo in images
Image: General Gagiano addressing the audience before the show.
Image: Gripen fighter at a low pass in front of the crowd.
Image: The enemy is close and troops are landing.
Image: Troop landing protected by Rooivalk attack helicopter gunnery.
Image: Troops in place starts shelling the target. Noisy.
Image: Rooivalk joins in with rockets.
Image: Gripen fly by after bombing the target and ending the display.
Image: The first Gripen attack. Two bombs on target. Look closely and you will see two more inbound.
Image: A final fly-past where Gripen demonstrates parts of the countermeasure capabilities by ejecting flares.
Images: All images from the South African Air Force.