Air Force Base Ysterplaat
|Aerial view of Ysterplaat, taken in 2005|
|IATA: none – ICAO: FAYP|
|Owner||Government of South Africa|
|Operator||South African Air Force|
|Location||Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa|
|Commander||Col. Kobus Butler|
|Elevation AMSL||49 ft / 16 m|
Air Force Base Ysterplaat (ICAO: FAYP) is an airbase of the South African Air Force. It is located in Cape Town, on the southwestern coast of South Africa. The name Ysterplaat is Afrikaans; it means Iron Plate in English.
The base's motto is Fortiter In Re (Resolute in Deed).
- 22 Squadron - Helicopter squadron
- 35 Squadron - Transport/Maritime patrol squadron
- 110 Squadron - Light transport (reserve)
- 505 Squadron - Security services
- 80 Air Navigation School
- 2 Air Support Unit detached - Maintenance support
- South African Air Force Museum - Historical (detached from HQ at AFB Swartkop). Home to the last flying Avro Shackleton.
The site of AFB Ysterplaat was originally used as a civilian airfield, known as Maitland Aerodrome, from as early as 1929. African Air Transport (AAT) opened at Maitland in 1938, and was involved in training pilots for the Union Air Training Group's pupil pilot training scheme. With the coming of World War II, AAT moved to Tempe and Maitland was taken over by the SAAF. On 24 October 1941 AFS (Air Force Station) Brooklyn, as it was then known, opened as an SAAF unit. 3 and 9 Air Depots were transferred to Brooklyn for the repair and assembly of aircraft. In the first year of its existence, 790 aircraft were assembled at Brooklyn, consisting of 254 Airspeed Oxfords, 154 Miles Masters, 148 Avro Ansons, 79 Harvards, 78 Fairey Battles, 63 Martin Baltimores, nine Bristol Beauforts and five de Havilland Dominies. Curtiss Kittyhawks and Hawker Hurricanes were also assembled at a later stage, but by the end of the war, the depots were now disposing of aircraft for scrap or exporting them. In 1946, the first jet aircraft to reach South Africa, a Gloster Meteor III, was assembled and flown at Brooklyn. On 1 April 1949, AFS Brooklyn was renamed AFS Ysterplaat.
More jets were assembled at Ysterplaat from 1950 in the form of the de Havilland Vampire FB Mk.5s, which were the SAAF's first operational jet fighters. Unit status was upgraded to an Air Force Base (AFB) on 1 February 1968. Although the base has long been the centre of the SAAF's maritime patrol activities along the Cape coast, due to increased budgetary restrictions, the base was scheduled to be downgraded to an Air Force Station (AFS Ysterplaat) on 1 April 2003, but as of August 2004, this had not yet happened. The SAAF is considering converting the base into a civilian airport with a military presence, but no decisions have been taken as yet.