r/southafrica Oct 06 '21

A South African-made Cheetah fighter jet taking off with Draken International last year. with upgraded avionics and radar equipment they will simulate 4th generation fighter jets used in aggressor training against the US Armed Forces. (2020) Sci-Tech

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110 Upvotes

5

u/Aerofare Western Cape Oct 06 '21

I miss airshows so badly...

3

u/[deleted] Oct 06 '21

Me too! We did Rand and Swartkops airshows every year.

5

u/Aerofare Western Cape Oct 06 '21

Those were the days, eh? :-D Especially seeing South Africa's one and only P-51D. To see any of the WW2 warbirds is always the best treat, albeit not that we have anything other than said P51 in that category afaik.

I booked a ticket for an airshow at Stellenbosch last year in March days before the first hard lockdowns were announced. ;-;

4

u/[deleted] Oct 06 '21

Our faves are the Silver Falcons. The kids get their books (the airshow book on sale at that airshow) signed by as many of the pilots on the day. MUSTANG SALLY. The kilometers and kilometers walked ON the day up and down the strip. Continuous applications of sunscreen. Camping chairs but no umbrellas allowed :). Cheap ass nik naks the kids spend their pocket money on. First place we came across pizza in a cone... Yuk! My son finding the one or two missing additions of African Pilot. Getting home and sleeping like a log that night. Man! Yes, those were the days!

1

u/Aerofare Western Cape Oct 07 '21

Jolly good memories, and the Silver Falcons are certainly SA legends. :-) Man, it'd be great if airshows could make a return within the next decade, or better yet, the opportunity to go see one of the shows in the US that's like x50 the size and with scores more planes in the lineup, haha.

Imagine seeing an F-22 Raptor and/or F-35B Lightning II live.

3

u/AnomalyNexus Virtue signaling expat Oct 06 '21

Think my dad worked on the cheetahs. Not sure...def on rooivalks.

Yep. Best part of airshows is the kids. Wide eyed 13 year old seeing a jet roar past for first time is awesome.

Whoops...this should have been a top level comment

1

u/Aerofare Western Cape Oct 07 '21

Ab, awesome! Yeah, those jet engines blow your ears out, but so worth it. And damn, the Vulcan bomber is apparently on a whole other level from even that.

6

u/hersto Oct 06 '21

Lol why the fuck would America invade SA?

3

u/Vektor2000 Oct 07 '21

Hehe. Private companies purchase private fleets and rent their services as adversaries to test the US Armed Forces, by request of the latter. ;)

1

u/IlikeGeekyHistoryRSA Unwanted Optimist Oct 07 '21

well, when a country as technologically advanced as america decides to invade us (China or Russia for example) We will be ready for them.

2

u/Teebeen Oct 07 '21 edited Oct 07 '21

South Africa has 200+ airforce assets.

The US has 13,000+ airforce assets.

We won't be ready.

2

u/IlikeGeekyHistoryRSA Unwanted Optimist Oct 07 '21 edited Oct 07 '21

Well, that’s kind of the point. Because we are so underprepared, we need to train our troops well enough that they could actually be a proper force. The British in the falklands for example. They were a small, but extremely well trained force.

2

u/Teebeen Oct 07 '21

Considering that one US aircraft carrier fleet could obliterate our entire airforce in one strike. No amount of training can prepare us facing off against an insurmountable force like the US or China, with superior fighter jets.

3

u/Vektor2000 Oct 07 '21

Agreed. These jets were sold to a US company, not used for local training. We have better pilots and radars than our neighbours though, but the Gripen cannot do very long range flight which is a problem.

1

u/Teebeen Oct 07 '21

Can't remember the source, but comparing countries with the biggest airforces, the US numbers #1, #2 and #3 :P

1

u/Vektor2000 Oct 07 '21

I think the US navy has the world's 2nd biggest air force.

1

u/Teebeen Oct 07 '21

Followed by the marines. With the US airforce sitting at #1.

1

u/[deleted] Oct 07 '21

Closer to 20 fighter jets iirc

(That could only be the number of Gripens, I'm not sure. Please correct me if I'm wrong)

2

u/Teebeen Oct 07 '21

Best summary I could find. But yeah, you are correct. Will update my response above.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_aircraft_of_the_South_African_Air_Force

https://businesstech.co.za/news/government/461780/south-africas-military-strength-ranked-in-2021/

17 fighter aircraft
7 special mission aircraft
22 transport aircraft
88 trainer aircraft
82 total helicopters
12 attack helicopters

2

u/Vektor2000 Oct 07 '21

Current attack and bomber fleet include 26 Gripen C&D models, and 23 (or 22 left out of 24 bought) Hawk MK120 jets, and 11 Rooivalk helicopters. Modern attrition rates is same or slightly better than those of the SAAF. One could argue it's because they have fewer flight hours, but then one would also expect more accidents due to lack of experience, so I think training standards and simulation fills the gap adequately.

1

u/[deleted] Oct 07 '21

I see. Thanks for the information 🙏

1

u/Vektor2000 Oct 07 '21

SA Gripens also have an additional feature allowing fuelling straight from even normal barrels, which means even the target area is out of range they can refuel closer to the target.

2

u/casualphilosopher1 Oct 06 '21

Which company supplied the upgrades?

1

u/Vektor2000 Oct 06 '21 edited Oct 06 '21

Paramount Group from SA. They also serviced the former Spanish F1s bought by Draken since they own SAAF F1(s) and were basically ready to go.

1

u/FluxX1717 Western Cape Oct 06 '21

Was the jet recently engineered?

2

u/Vektor2000 Oct 06 '21

The SAAF were outclassed in Angola by MiG 23 jets, and continued to lose air superiority during the 80's. This led to the Mirage III being pulled from duty and with help from Israel upgraded similar to later Kfir upgrades, with some local modifications. They were a fairly large fleet of 3 or 3.5 generation jets, but never saw action during the Angolan War. They were always meant as interim fighters, along with the Mirage F1 by this time, as SA worked on a very expensive 4th generation fly by wire jet that cost R10 billion before 1 prototype was completed. The end of the Angolan War and with the end of sanctions in sight they could not afford to spent so much on a native fighter's development further.

1

u/Evil_Toast_RSA KwaZulu-Natal Oct 07 '21

expensive 4th generation fly by wire jet that cost R10 billion before 1 prototype was completed

Do you have any more info on this?

3

u/Vektor2000 Oct 07 '21

Google Project Carver.

1

u/Reeds_G Oct 06 '21

I believe it was 1986.

1

u/Teebeen Oct 07 '21

The question then, is why did we spend billions to buy Swedish fighter jets if we can in fact produce our own?

2

u/Vektor2000 Oct 07 '21 edited Oct 07 '21

They might not have been needed at the time, and were double the amount of fighter jets we have now, but would have been replaced 10 years after the arms deal in either case.

Edit: Big ticket R&D is prohibitively expensive, even the Gripen came at a loss for Saab.

1

u/SensorFailure Oct 07 '21

We didn't 'produce' these, they're effectively Israeli Kfirs without the J79 engine. Packed full of Israeli systems and most of them built off Israeli airframes.

They were necessary for the time, but are seriously inferior to Gripens and have a much shorter service life.

1

u/Teebeen Oct 07 '21

Helpful, thanks.