THE AIRFORCE - RESERVE SQUADRONS
Air Force Reserve SquadronsThese squadrons (previously Air Force Reserve Squadrons, Volunteer Air Squadrons, or Commando Squadrons until 1995), fulfill an increasingly important role as the SAAF's capabilities are mainly being restricted by a lack of pilots and other technical personnel (Ad Astra, vol 17, no 8). These squadrons supplement the role of the light transport squadrons of the SAAF, thus allowing the SAAF to use additional pilots and aircraft at a reduced cost.
Members of these squadrons come from all walks of life, performing a diverse range of tasks. Some of these taks are performed over weekends, while most of their training is done over weekends as well. Each squadron is unique because the members have particular knowledge of the area of responsibility in which they operate. This local knowledge is very important when operating with the police in crime-prevention operations. Smaller and slower aircraft are generally used for reconnaissance, border patrol and police work, while higher performance aircraft undertake VIP transport roles.
The Army formed the Air Commandos in September 1963 and consisted of volunteers willing to help the Defence Force in the 'light air support' role. Command of the Air Commandos was handed over to the Light Aircraft Command of the SAAF on 1 October 1978 when it comprised 12 squadrons. In 1976, 112 Volunteer Air Squadron became 1 SWA Squadron in the then South West Africa in 1976 and participated in the Bush War. Number 114 Volunteer Air Squadron, an all ladies squadron, was established in 1976 at AFB Swartkop, but this unique squadron was disbanded in 1990 when it's members were transferred to 104 and 111 Squadrons. The number of squadrons and personnel has been reduced since 1990, which now consists of nine squadrons.
In 1998 the Volunteer Air Squadrons were renamed in that the squadron are now known by their squadron number only.
Of the nine squadrons spread around the country, three are coastal squadrons, two central and the remaining four are spread around Gauteng and the Northern Province.
||The main area of responsibility is Mpumalanga Province, mainly involved in crime prevention.||AFB Hoedspruit|
|102 Squadron||Area of responsibility is from north of Polokwane (Pietersburg) to the Limpopo River. The squadron has been extensively utilised for recce flights on the border between the RSA, Zimbabwe and Botswana.||AFB Makhado|
|104 Squadron||This squadron is utilised as a VIP/IP transport squadron, as well as doing recce flights in the Gauteng area.||AFB Waterkloof|
|105 Squadron||Main operations include coastal recce flights, command and control and telstar in crime prevention operations in co-operation with the police and Army.||AFS Durban|
|106 Squadron||Members of this squadron are spread over a wide area and assist the police in operations in the Free State.||AFB Bloemspruit|
|107 Squadron||Members of this squadron are spread over a wide area and assist the police in operations in the Northern Cape.||Kimberley (Under control of AFB Bloemspruit)|
|108 Squadron||Main operations include coastal recce flights, command and control and telstar in crime prevention operations in co-operation with the police and Army.||AFB Port Elizabeth|
|110 Squadron||Main operations include VIP transport, coastal recce flights, command and control and telstar in crime prevention operations in co-operation with the police and Army.||AFB Ysterplaat|
|111 Squadron||This squadron is utilised as a VIP/IP transport squadron, as well as doing recce flights in the Gauteng area.||AFB Waterkloof|