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South African Air Force facts for kids

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South African Air Force
Ensign of the South African Air Force.svg
The SAAF Ensign
Active South African Air Force 1 Feb 1920
Country South Africa
Branch Air Force
Role Air supremacy, Air defense
Size 226 Aircraft
11,245 (Active personnel)
831 (Reserve Personnel)
Part of South African National Defence Force
Motto(s) Latin: Per Aspera Ad Astra (Through adversity to the stars)
Battle honours
  • East & North Africa: 1940-41/1941-43
  • Madagascar: 1942
  • Italy: 1943–1945
  • Balkans 1943–1945
  • Korea: 1950-1953
Chief of the Air Force Lt Gen Fabian Msimang
Aircraft flown
Attack Rooivalk
Fighter Gripen C/D
Patrol C-47TP, Lynx 300
Trainer PC-7, Hawk
Transport C-47TP, C-130BZ, Oryx, Agusta A109, CASA 212, Cessna Caravan

The South African Air Force (SAAF) is the air force of the South African National Defence Force.

The South African Air Force goes back to 1912, when the Union Defence Force (UDF) was created. The UDF had included the South African Aviation Corps (SAAC), which was part of the Active Citizen Force (ACF). On 1 February 1920, the South African Air Force was created. The SAAF fought in several battles during World War II, the Korean War, and the South African Border War.


The South African Air Force has about 226 aircraft and 11,245 active military personnel. The aircraft are mostly European-made. However some, such as the Denel Rooivalk and the Atlas Oryx were designed and built in South Africa. The Swedish Saab JAS 39 Gripen is the standard aircraft of the Air Force.

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Fuerza Aérea Sudafricana para niños

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