List of aircraft of the South African Air Force

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Roundel of South African Air Force.svg

The following is a list of current and historic aircraft of the South African Air Force. Note that aircraft type photographs do not necessarily represent aircraft of the same mark or actual aircraft belonging to the SAAF.

Current aircraft[edit]

Class Aircraft Photo Country Type Variants Number in service
Fighter Saab Gripen SAAF-Gripen-001.jpg  Sweden Multirole fighter C and D (single and twin seat) 26[1][Note 1]
Trainer British Aerospace Hawk SAAF-BAE Hawk-001.jpg  United Kingdom Lead-in fighter trainer Mk120 24[Note 2]
Pilatus PC-7 MkII Astra Falcon 4.JPG   Switzerland Trainer PC-7 MkII 60 Delivered. 35 aircraft upgraded with Pilatus avionics (final upgraded airframe [2025] delivered 16 May 2013) after local supplier originally contracted under Project Ithambo went out of business in 2009. Seven aircraft lost due to accidents. Remaining 18 aircraft not upgraded (Known as PC-7 Astra's) currently offered for sale by Armscor (Sep 2013)[2]
Helicopter Atlas Oryx Oryx no. 1234.JPG  South Africa Medium transport helicopter MKI and MKII 39[3]
Denel Rooivalk Denel Rooivalk flying 2006.jpg  South Africa Attack helicopter Mk I 11[Note 3][5]
MBB/Kawasaki BK 117 SAAF-15 Squadron-BK117-001.jpg  Japan
Utility helicopter BK 117 3-6[6][Note 4]
Agusta A109 Agusta no. 4001.JPG  Italy Light utility helicopter A109LUH 29[3]
Westland Super Lynx Lynx no. 193.JPG  United Kingdom Maritime helicopter Mk300 4[Note 5]
Transport Lockheed C-130 Hercules Hercules b.jpg  United States Medium transport C-130BZ 9[3][Note 6]
Douglas C-47TP Dakota Dakota C-47 at Ysterplaat Airshow, Cape Town.jpg  United States Maritime patrol / transport /
electronic warfare
C-47TP 10[Note 7]
Cessna 208 Caravan no. 3005.JPG  United States Light utility / observation 208B 11[Note 8][9]
Beechcraft Super King Air King Air ZS-LAY.jpg  United States Light transport King Air 200/King Air 300 4
Pilatus PC-12 PC-12KAPA.jpg   Switzerland Light transport PC-12 1[Note 9]
CASA C-212 Aviocar Doppler overberg.jpg  Spain Light transport 212-200 / 212-300 4
737-based Boeing BBJ ZS-RSA B737-300 SAF (4318930775).jpg  United States Presidential transport 1
Dassault Falcon 900 Falcon 900A ZS-NAN.jpg  France VIP transport 1
Dassault Falcon 50 Swiss Air Force Dassault Falcon 50 T-783 in its hangar at Belp.jpg  France VIP transport 2
Cessna 550 Citation Venda Air Force Cessna 551 Citation II-SP Lofting.jpg  United States VIP transport 2

Historic aircraft[edit]

Aircraft types no longer in service.

A to J[edit]

Manufacturer Aircraft Years in service Photo
Aeritalia AM.3C Bosbok 1973–1992 Aermacchi AM-3C Bosbok at Bundaberg Airport Vabre.jpg
Aeronca Aircraft KCA  ? Aeronca K (N18872).jpg
Aeronca Aircraft 50C Chief 1940-? Aeronca 50-C Chief (2835381594).jpg
Aeronca Aircraft 65C Chief  ? AeroncaC65overSF1941 (4546908659).jpg
Aérospatiale SA365N Dauphin 1994–1998 Swiss Dauphin helicopter 1.jpg
Airspeed Ltd. AS-6J Envoy 1936–1940 Airspeed AS.6 Envoy G-AHAC Private Charter RWY 1948 edited-2.jpg
Airspeed Ltd. AS-10 Oxford Mk I 1940-? Airspeed AS-10 Oxford I, UK - Air Force AN2100620.jpg
Airspeed Ltd. AS-10 Oxford Mk II  ?-1950 RAF Airspeed AS.10 Oxford II Brown.jpg
Atlas Cheetah C 1992–2008 Cheetah C no. 342.jpg
Atlas Cheetah D 1992–2008 Atlas Cheetah static display.jpg
Atlas Cheetah E 1986–1992 SAAF-Cheetah E-001.jpg
Atlas MB326M Impala Mk.I 1966–2005 Impala Mk I no. 531 a.JPG
Atlas MB326KC Impala Mk.II 1974–2005 War museum Impala MK II.jpg
Atlas Atlas C.4M Kudu 1976–1991 Atlas C4M Kudu-001.jpg
Auster AOP-3  ? Auster Mk III ExCC.jpg
Auster AOP-5 1945–1961
Auster AOP-6 1953–1966
Auster AOP-9 1957–1967
Avro 504K 1919–1930
Avro 504N 1927-?
Avro 594 Avian IIIA  ?-1935 StateLibQld 1 162403 Bert Hinkler's Avro G-EBOV at Camooweal, 1928.jpg
Avro 616 Avian IVM 1929–1936
Avro 616 Sport Avian  ?
Avro 621 Tutor 1930–1938 Avro 621 Tutor K3215 Shuttleworth ABIN 15.06.68 edited-2.jpg
Avro 652A Anson GR1 1940–1947 Avro Anson 652A MkI crop img3.jpg
Avro 652A Anson T1  ?
Avro 685 York C1 1944–1952 York-i.jpg
Avro Shackleton MR.3 1957–1984 1982-10 Shackleton 1717 c.jpg
Beechcraft C-45 Expeditor 1945
Beechcraft B-80 Queen Air 1975–1992
Bristol Boxkite 1911-?
Boeing Boeing 707 1986–2007 SAAF-707-328C-1419-001.jpg
Bristol Blenheim I 1939–1940 RAFBristolBlenheimWWIIColour.jpg
Bristol Blenheim Mk IV 1939–1942
Bristol Blenheim V 1941–1943
Bristol Beaufort I 1941–1944 Beaufort b.jpg
Bristol Beaufort Mk IA/II/IIA 1943–1944
Bristol Beaufighter Mk II, VI, X 1943–1944 Aircrew of No. 16 Squadron SAAF and No. 227 Squadron RAF sitting in front of a Bristol Beaufighter at Biferno, Italy, prior to taking off to attack a German headquarters building in Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia, 14 August 1944. C5894.jpg
British Aircraft BA-4 Double Eagle 1939–1940 B. A. Double Eagle.jpg
Britten-Norman BN-2A Islander 1994-?
Bücker Bü 131A/B/D Jungman 1936–1939
Bücker Bü 133 Jungmeister 1939-?
Canadair CL-13B Sabre Mk.6 1956–1980 Sabre 350.jpg
CASA CN-235 1994-2012
Cessna C-34 Airmaster  ?
Cessna 185A, 185D, 185E Skywagon  ? SAAF Cessna 185A Skywagon.JPG
Cessna 320 Skyknight 1965–1967
Cessna 336 Skymaster  ?
Cessna 411  ?
Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina IB/III 1943–1946
Consolidated B-24J Liberator B.Mk.VI 1944–1945 Royal Air Force Transport Command, 1943-1945. CNA2784.jpg
Curtiss H-75A-4 Mohawk 1941–1942
Curtiss P-40B Tomahawk 1941
Curtiss P-40C Tomahawk IIB 1940–1942
Curtiss P-40E Kittyhawk IA 1942–1944
Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk Mk.III  ? Royal Air Force- Italy, the Balkans and South East Europe, 1942-1945. CNA2491.jpg
Curtiss P-40M Kittyhawk IV 1942–1948
Curtiss P-40N Warhawk 1943–1948
Dassault Mystere Falcon 20  ?
Dassault Mirage IIIBZ 1964–1990
Dassault Mirage IIICZ 1963–1990 Mirage IIICZ.jpg
Dassault Mirage IIIDZ 1967–1986
Dassault Mirage IIID2Z 1974–1986
Dassault Mirage IIIEZ 1965–1986
Dassault Mirage IIIRZ 1967–1990
Dassault Mirage IIIR2Z 1974–1990
Dassault-Breguet Mirage F1AZ 1975–1997 Mirage F1AZ no. 218 c.jpg
Dassault-Breguet Mirage F1CZ 1975–1992 Mirage F1CZ.jpg
de Havilland DH-4 1919–1927
de Havilland DH.9 1919–1942
de Havilland DH.9J 1920–1937
de Havilland DH.60 Moth/DH.60G Gypsy Moth/DH.60G III Moth Major 1939-?
de Havilland DH.66 Hercules 1934–1943
de Havilland DH.80A Puss Moth 1939-?
de Havilland DH.82A Tiger Moth 1939–1958
de Havilland DH.83 Fox Moth 1939-?
de Havilland DH.84 Dragon 1939-?
de Havilland DH.85 Leopard Moth 1939–1943
de Havilland DH.87B Hornet Moth 1939–1940
de Havilland DH.89A Dragon Rapide 1939-?
de Havilland DH.89B Dominie 1941-?
de Havilland DH.90 Dragonfly 1939-?
de Havilland DH-94 Moth Minor 1939-?
de Havilland DH-98 Mosquito F Mk II 1943–1945
de Havilland DH-98 Mosquito PR Mk IV/F Mk VI/PR Mk IX/PR Mk XVI 1944–1945
de Havilland DH.100 Vampire FB.5, FB.6, F.9 1950–1978 SAAF Vampire.jpg
de Havilland DH.115 Vampire T.11, T.55 1953–1978 Vampire 263.jpg
de Havilland DH.104 Dove 5 1949–1965
de Havilland DH.114 Heron 2 1955–1962
Desoutter Mk II  ?
Dornier Do-27B 1958–1975
Douglas DB-7B Boston Mk.III 1941–1943 Douglas Boston 24SAAF Libya.jpg
Douglas C-47 & DC-3 Dakota 1943–? War museum Douglas C-47.JPG
Douglas DC-4-1009, C-54 Skymaster 1966–1994 Skymaster.jpg
English Electric Canberra B(1)12 1963–1991 Canberra no. 458 a.jpg
English Electric Canberra T.4 1964–1991 Canberra no. 458.jpg
Fairey Battle B, T, TT 1939–1942
Fairchild F-24G, R Argus III 1939-?
Fieseler Fi 156C-7 Storch 1946-? Fieseler Fi156C-7 Storch.jpg
General Aircraft ST-4 II  ?
General Aircraft ST-25 Universal  ?
Gloster Gauntlet 1939–1943
Gloster Gladiator Mk I 1939–1940
Gloster Gladiator Mk II 1940–1941
Gloster AS.31 Survey 1933–1942
Gloster Meteor F.3 1946–1949
Hawker Hartbees Mk.I 1935–1940 WAAF and RAF trainee ground crew work together on a Hawker Hart in Pretoria, South Africa.jpg
Hawker Hart B/T 1936–1943
Hawker Hind B/T 1938–1944
Hawker Audax 1937–1944
Hawker Fury Mk I 1936–1942
Hawker Fury Mk II 1939-?
Hawker Hurricane Mk. I 1939–1940
Hawker Hurricane Mk IIA/B/C/D 1939–1945
Hawker Siddeley HS-125 400B Mercurius 1970–1999 Mercurius ZS-JIH.jpg
Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer S.Mk.50 1965–1991 Buccaneer 422.jpg
Henry Farman F-27 1915-?
Junkers A-50 Junior  ?
Junkers F-13  ?-1944
Junkers Ju52, 3m 1939–1953 Junkers Ju52 3m ZS-AFA.jpg
Junkers Ju86 K-3 1939–1941
Junkers Ju86 Z 1939–1945

K - Z[edit]

Manufacturer Aircraft Years in service Photo
Klemm Kl 25  ?
Koolhaven FK-46  ?
Lockheed 14 Super Electra  ?
Lockheed 18-08 Lodestar 1940–1944 SAAF-Lodestar-001.jpg
Lockheed 414 Hudson 1940-?
Lockheed B-34 Ventura PV-1 1942–1960 SAAF-Lockheed PV1 Ventura-001.jpg
Lockheed PV-1 Ventura GR-5 1943–1960
Lockheed C-130F Hercules 1997–1998 SAAF C130 BZ Hercules of 28 Squadron.jpg
Martin 167 Maryland Mk I 1940-?
Martin Maryland 167F Mk.II 1940–1942 Royal Air Force Operations in the Middle East and North Africa, 1939-1943. CM1326.jpg
Martin Baltimore I 1942-?
Martin Baltimore II 1942–1943
Martin Baltimore IIA 1943
Martin Baltimore III 1941-?
Martin Baltimore IIIA 1943
Martin Baltimore IV 1943–1945
Martin Baltimore V 1944
Martin B-26A Marauder I 1942-?
Martin B-26C Marauder II 1943–1944
Martin B-26G Marauder III 1943–1945
Messerschmitt Messerschmitt Bf 109 1940–? Bf 109F SAAF KJ-? on ramp.jpg
Miles Aircraft M.2H Hawk 1943-?
Miles M.5 Sparrowhawk 1939–1941 Miles M.5 Sparrowhawk G-AGDL Ringway 24.04.48.jpg
Miles M.14A Magister 1940-?
Miles M.19 Master II 1941–1945
Miles M.33 Falcon  ?
Nord Nord C160Z Transall 1969–1993 Transall 335.jpg
North American Harvard Mk.IIa (AT6C), Mk.III (AT6D) AT6C, T6G 1942–1995 Harvard 7699 c.jpg
North American Mustang P-51C IIIB, P-51D IV, P-51K IVA 1945, 1951-1952 F-51Ds 2 Sqn SAAF Korea May 1951.jpeg
Northrop 8A-5 Nomad I 1941–1944 Northrop A-17 front three-quarters view.jpg
Paterson No 2 Biplane 1913
Percival P3 Gull VI 1940-?
Piaggio Albatross P166S (P166-BL1) 1969–1993 SAAF Piaggio P166 02.JPG
Pilatus PC-6 Porter 1994–1998
Pilatus PC-7 1994–1996
Piper J-3 Cub  ?
Piper J-4 Cub Coupe  ?
Piper PA-23 Aztec 250 1981–1992
Piper PA-28 Cherokee 140 1981–1992
Rearwin 6000M Speedster 1939-?
Rearwin 7000/8500/9000L Sportster 1939-?
RAF BE-2C 1915–1917
RAF BE-2E 1915–1921
RAF SE-5A 1919–1931
Ryan ST-A 1939-?
Shorts S-25 Sunderland GR-5 1945–1957
Sikorsky S-51 1948–1968 Sikorsky S-51 no. 1A c. 1954.jpg
Sikorsky Whirlwind S-55C 1956–1968 Sikorsky Whirlwind A5.jpg
Simmonds Spartan 1925
Stinson HW-75  ?
Stinson SR-5A/10C Reliant  ?
Sud Aviation Alouette II SE-3130 1960–1973 Alouette II 22 a.jpg
Sud Aviation Alouette III SE3160, SA316B 1962–2006 Alouette III 58.jpg
Sud Aviation SA-321L Super Frelon 1967–1990 Super Frelon no. 313.jpg
Sud Aviation Puma SA330C, SA330H, SA330J, SA330L 1969–1997 Puma no. 132.jpg
Supermarine Spitfire Vb 1942–1944 Spitfire VBs 40 Sqn SAAF over Tunisia 1943.jpg
Supermarine Spitfire Vc 1942–1944 JG959 AX-N.jpg
Supermarine Spitfire VIII 1943–1944 Royal Air Force in the Middle East, 1944-1945. CM5723.jpg
Supermarine Spitfire IXb/c/e 1943–1954 Spitfire Mk.IX PT672 Evelyn b.jpg
Supermarine Spitfire PR IXe 1947–1954
Swearington Merlin IVA 1975–1985
Taylorcraft BC/BL/BL-65 1939-?
Tipsey S-2 Trainer 1939-?
Vickers Armstrong 264 Valentia 1940–1943
Vickers Armstrong Wellesley 1940–1941
Vickers Armstrong 417 Wellington MkIII/429 Wellington MkVIII  ?
Vickers Armstrong 440 Wellington MkX/458 Wellington MkXI 1942–1945
Vickers Armstrong 455 Wellington MkXII/466 Wellington MkXIII  ?
Vickers Armstrong 474 Warwick MkV 1945–1946
Vickers Armstrong 781D Viscount 1958–1991
WACO various  ?
Westland Scout 1976–1990 Westland Scout-001.jpg
Westland Wapiti 1931–1943
Westland Wasp HAS 1 1963–1990


  1. ^ 9 Gripen D twin seat and 17 Gripen single seat aircraft are being delivered between 2008 and 2012, the Gripens replaced the Atlas Cheetahs which were taken out of active service in early April 2008.
  2. ^ With the exception of South Africa's initial Hawk (SA 250) flight test and development aircraft, which was built in the United Kingdom, all of its other Hawks were assembled at Denel's aircraft factory at Johannesburg International Airport in Kempton Park near Johannesburg.
  3. ^ 1 lost to accident.[4]
  4. ^ Original aircraft were inherited from the Apartheid-era "homelands", the Ciskei having acquired 3 in 1983, Venda 2 in 1985, Transkei 2 in 1986 and Bophuthatswana 2 in 1987, making a total of 10 with an extra delivered from Brazil. Two of the aircraft have already been mothballed at AFB Bloemspruit. Attrition: 02/11/99 Bk117 384 Rolled over after emergency landing. March 2003 BK117 383 Involved in an accident, later declared Cat 5 and cannibalised. 20/08/03 BK117 389 Written-off during Exercise Blue Angel.
  5. ^ Operated from South African Navy Valour class frigates.
  6. ^ Upgraded with new avionics and glass cockpits under Project Ebb. Completed March 2008. 4 rendered inoperable due to an engine maintenance backlog and general funding issues in the Air Force.
  7. ^ Under Project Felstone, the first C-47TP "TurboDak" serial number 6835, was unveiled at Swartkops Air Force Base on 26 August '91. This aircraft took four years to complete. The Project was completed by 1997 with two production lines - one at AFB Swartkop and the other at AFB Ysterplaat. However, the fleet has been constantly refined and updated over the years. The latest version being a dedicated EW platform. 5 maritime patrol, 3 transport, 2 electronic warfare.
  8. ^ Fitted with Denel infrared observation system under Project Koiler in 2008. Two lost in accidents in 2011 and 2014.[7][8]
  9. ^ Mostly VIP transport.


  1. ^ DefenceWeb - Gripens arrive at last.
  2. ^ Martin, Guy (September 2013). "SAAF PC-7 Upgrade Complete". Air International 85 (3): 26. 
  3. ^ a b c "South Africa". defenceWeb. Retrieved 2014-06-25. 
  4. ^ "The South African Air Force". Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  5. ^ Final Rooivalk Handover Cements Relationship Between Denel and SAAF -, 13 March 2013
  6. ^ Isby, David C. (September 2013). "South African AW109's Grounded". Air International 85 (3): 41. 
  7. ^ "Caravan crash victims named". defenceWeb. Retrieved 25 June 2014. 
  8. ^ DefenceWb - SAAF C208 crash-lands
  9. ^ "Fact file: Cessna C208 Caravan". defenceWeb. 2010-02-01. Retrieved 2014-06-25.