THE AIRFORCE - SQUADRONS
17 Squadron"Pro Re Nata" (As the Occasion Arises)
Formed on 1 September 1939, 17 Squadron formed part of the Airways Wing at Swartkop, flying ex-SAA Junkers Ju-52/3m's, but was disbanded on 1 December that year.
The squadron was reformed on 8 October 1942 as a general reconnaissance squadron and arrived at Aden in January 1943 to fly Blenheim V's. In May that year they moved to Egypt soon thereafter converted to Ventura GR V's. In October the squadron moved to St Jean and Ramat David in Palestine for convoy escort duties and anti-submarine patrols. Detachments were also operated from Gibraltar and Bone in Algeria. In July the squadron moved to Sardinia. Late in 1944 the squadron returned to North Africa and in 1945, now based in Egypt, it began training for conversion to Wellingtons and Warwick GR Vs. Returning to South Africa in September 1945, the squadron was disbanded at Brooklyn (now Ysterplaat) on 31 March 1946, when they were flying the PV-1 Ventura.
The squadron was reformed in Cape Town on 1 June 1947 flying Ventura and Harvards. In 1955 the squadron was disbanded, but was reformed at Langebaanweg on 1 December 1957 to fly the three Sikorsky S-55s and the surviving S-51 for air-sea rescue duties. In December 1960 the squadron received the Alouette II and in mid-1961 moved to Ysterplaat. Alouette IIIs were received in 1962, with A flight stationed in Pretoria and B Flight at Bloemfontein, while C Flight and Training Flight remained at Ysterplaat.
In 1971, C Flight formed the nucleus for the reformed 16 Squadron. 17 Squadron and its two Flights eventually found it's home at Swartkop. A Puma flight was added in 1992, but in 1994 they were replaced by the new Oryx. However, the last two Pumas were only retired in 1997. Following the 1994 elections, 17 Squadron acquired the SA 365N Dauphin, formerly of the Bophuthatswana (Homeland) Defence Force, for VIP duties, before being disposed of.
The squadron currently flies the A109 LUH and Oryx helicopters.
Other Squadrons based at Zwartkop:
Airspace Control Unit, SAAF Museum Historic Flight
Other Current Squadrons:
1 Air Servicing Unit, 10 Air Depot, 10 Squadron, 101 Squadron, 102 Squadron, 104 Squadron, 105 Squadron, 106 Squadron, 107 Squadron, 108 Squadron, 110 Squadron, 111 Squadron, 140 Squadron, 142 Squadron, 15 Squadron, 15 Squadron - 'C' Flight, 16 Squadron, 18 Deployment Support Unit, 19 Squadron, 2 Air Servicing Unit, 2 Squadron, 21 Squadron, 22 Squadron, 28 Squadron, 3 Air Servicing Unit, 35 Squadron, 41 Squadron, 44 Squadron, 5 Air Servicing Unit, 500 Squadron, 501 Squadron, 502 Squadron, 503 Squadron, 504 Squadron, 505 Squadron, 506 Squadron, 508 Squadron, 514 Squadron, 515 Squadron, 516 Squadron, 525 Squadron, 526 Squadron, 6 Air Servicing Unit, 60 Squadron, 68 Air School, 80 Air Navigation School, 85 Combat Flying School, 87 Helicopter Flying School, 92 Tactical Airfield Unit, Air Force Command and Control School, Air Force Gymnasium, Air Publications Service Centre, Airspace Control Unit, Bushveld Airspace Control Sector, Central Flying School, Central Photographic Institute, Combined Auction Centre, Command and Control School, Electronic Warfare Centre, Ellisras Reporting Post, Fire Training School, Joint Air Reconnaissance Intelligence Centre, Lowveld Airspace Control Sector, Mobile Communications Unit, Rapid Deployment Air Operations Team 43, Rapid Deployment Air Operations Team 46, SA Air Force College, SAAF Band, SAAF Museum Historic Flight, SAAF Police, SAAF Telecommunications Centre, School of Cookery, Test Flight and Development Centre