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With the end of the war in Angola and South Africa's new political dispensation meant rationalisation and downsizing. With no real threat, the future role of the SAAF was envisioned as one of humanitarian assistance throughout Southern Africa. The 'peace dividend' cut deeply into the SAAF. The result was that only one squadron was retained in each role, with more than one if the role was in the broader interests of South Africa.

A considerable number of aircraft types were phased out of service. All the Mirage III versions, with the exception of those converted into the Cheetah, were withdrawn, together with the Mirage F1 CZ, Buccaneer, Canberra, Super Frelon, Bosbok, Kudu, Transall, Skymaster and P-166 Albatross.

Pumas were replaced by the Oryz, while the Harvard was replaced by the PC-7 MkII Astra. The Cessna Caravan fulfilled the light transport tasks of the Kudu, while the Dakotas were upgraded to 'Turbo Dak' status.

Many of the squadrons were closed, including 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 12, 16, 22, 24, 25, 27, 31 and 40 Squadron. Numerous bases and depots were closed, including AFB's Pietersburg, Port Elizabeth and Potchefstroom, Klippan Control and Reporting post and 402 Aerodrome Maintenance Unit.

In order to make up for some of these losses, 60 Squadron was reactivated in the late 1980's with Boeing 707's for use in the Elint, air-to-air refueling and long-range transport roles.
The SAAF into the Future