AAD 2018 – Waterkloof AFB

report by: Thierry Letellier

Waterkloof is the South African Air Force‚Äôs (SAAF) busiest air force base (AFB). It is located in the town of Centurion in Gauteng Province. Previously known as Waterkloof Air Station, the base was officially opened in August 1938.  Besides military air transport services to the SAAF, the base has also been involved in commercial aircraft and humanitarian operations.

The squadrons at the base include 1 Air Servicing Unit, 5 Air Servicing Unit, 17 Squadron, 21 Squadron, 28 Squadron, 41 Squadron, 44 Squadron, 60 Squadron, 104 Squadron, 111 Squadron and 504 Squadron. The base also has, an electronic warfare centre, a joint air reconnaissance intelligence centre, The base has two runways (01/19 and 06/24), fuel supplies equipment and communication facilities. It can accommodate aircraft such as the PC-12M, Boeing 737-7ED (BBJ), 208 Caravan, Oryx, B200 Super King Air, 550/1 Citation II, Falcon 900B, Falcon 50, C 212 Aviocar, C-130B/BZ Hercules, CN 235 and A109 LUH.

The first event was held October 1975 as “Aviation Africa”, at Lanseria Airport near Johannesburg, South Africa under the sponsorship of the Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa. The same year, Lt. General Bob Rogers of the South African Air Force instituted an open day at AFB Waterkloof, in Centurion, which eventually turned into the Defence Exhibition of South Africa (DEXSA). In 2000, Aviation Africa and DEXSA combined to become AAD. In 2006, the exhibition moved to AFB Ysterplaat in Cape Town. It returned to AFB Waterkloof in 2012.

This year’s Africa Aerospace and Defence show is a year for anniversaries. The AAD show itself celebrates 20 years, while the hosting venue, Waterkloof Air Force Base, is 80 years old. Armscor is also commemorating its 50th anniversary in 2018.  The 2018 edition of AAD maintains the tradition of being the region’s premier defence security, and aviation event.

It is an ideal forum and marketplace, not only showcasing the latest developments in the technological capabilities and services that South Africa has to offer to a global audience, but also providing an environment in which companies from other nations can promote their products to the South African and regional markets.  A number of new products have been unveiled, notably from South African companies.

The African Aerospace and Defence Expo (AAD) is an aerospace and defence exhibition held every two years at AFB Waterkloof, in Centurion, Gauteng, South Africa. The exhibition combines a trade exhibition and an air show. Almost all available indoor and outdoor exhibition space at Air Force Base Waterkloof has been booked out by exhibitors ahead of the exhibition in September. National pavilions confirmed are Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France (a new pavilion), Germany, Italy, Namibia, Russia, Turkey, Poland, USA and UK. With Lithuania taking a national pavilion, this brings the total number of pavilions to 14 so far.

Managed on a rotation basis by a partnership comprising the Department of Defence (DoD), Armscor, the South African Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industry Association (AMD) and CAASA, AAD2018 took place between 19 and 23 September. The air show days on 22 and 23 September were open to the general public and expected to attract tens of thousands of people. Globalairpower would like to thank all the Organizers and the Public Affairs Office of AAD Airshow 2018; for their outstanding job.