On Tuesday, the day before AAD opened, the South African Air Force held its annual Airpower Capability Demonstration (ACD) at the Roodewal Weapons Range near Makhado. The demonstration involved most types of the SAAF and included live weapons firing, such as Rooivalks firing rockets and both Hawks and Gripens releasing Mk 81 250 lb bombs.
Firefighting capability was displayed by Oryx helicopters, and the demonstration included a combat search and rescue scenario.
ACD is part of the SAAF’s force preparation efforts as the South African government focuses increasingly on peace and security in the wider continent. That has required the SAAF to be increasingly prepared for deployed operations. The policy of greater engagement in stabilisation processes outside South Africa has seen Oryx and Rooivalk helicopters perform with distinction on UN duties in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Speaking to guests at the ACD, SAAF deputy chief Maj Gen Gerald Malinga paid tribute to the soldiers and airmen who have been “performing their duties internally and externally with honour”.