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SAAF Boeing 707 problems

Date: 1 May 2007

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For some time now, only two Bowing 707s of the five originaly acquired have been flying with the SAAF's 60 Squadron at AFB Waterkloof. These are primary used for logistical transport rather than their previous in-flight refuelling and electronic warfare tasks.

The latest official figures on the type have been sourced from the South African Department of Defence's 2005/6 Financial Year (FY) Annual Report. This states that in this fiscal year the two active 707s, 1415 and 1419, played an invaluable role transporting both freight and personnel in support of South African National Defence Force deployments in Burundi, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The report commented, however, that "reliability and mission dependability had deteriorated due to under-funding". This under-funding resulted in insufficient spares being acquired during the FY, giving only a 50% serviceability rate for the year.

Although 1417 is still officially in service, it is not flying. No final decision has been made as to its phasing out. Serial 1421 is scheduled for donation to the South African Airways Museum society, although authorisation is still awaited.

Serial 1423 had orginaly been earmarked for sale through Armscor, but this was abandoned so that it could be reduced to spares at Waterkloof in support of the two active Boeings. Once stripped, the hulk will be sold for scrap. The 707s will be replaced by yhe Airbus A400M when it becomes available later in the decade.

AirForces Monthly


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