Forces: June 24, 2002


The South African Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekotan, in a 21 June written reply to a question in the National Assembly, admitted that the Air Force was short 17 fighter pilots and 79 helicopter pilots. This is almost half its current needs, as 44 fighter and 157 helicopter pilots were required for the current complement of SAAF aircraft to be fully operational. Although the SAAF intends to recruit and train pilots for its new Gripen and Hawk fighter aircraft, and new helicopters. A new pilot training contract had also been introduced, requiring pilots to serve a period of at least 13 years after qualifying for their wings. - Adam Geibel


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