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Aircraft Stats:

Powerplant: 4 x 19,000 lb P&W JT3D-7 turbofans
Speed: 886 kph, 55mph mph
Range: 9 265km, 5,755miles
Seats: Vari
Length: 45.60m, 152ft 11in
Span: 44.42m, 9ft 9in
Empty Weight: 66 406kg, 146,400lb
Max T/O Weight: 151 315kg, 333,600lb
Period of Service: 1986 - 2007

None specified

None specified

No incidents found

Boeing 707-328C

Status: Retired
Manufacturer: Boeing
Country of Manufacture: United States
Role: Inflight refuelling/Special missions/Transport

The aquisition of three Boeing 707's in March 1982 was the result of a ten year project undertaken to provide the SAAF with a dedicated air-to-air refuelling capability and it fell upon 60 Squadron to undertake this responsibility when the unit was reformed at AFB Waterkloof on 16 July 1986. The fleet grew to five aircraft with the acquisition of two more Boeings in 1990 and 1992 respectively. An electronic warfare and early warning capability was added to the unit's primary responsibility.

The squadron provided a highly effective force multiplier to the Buccaneers of 24 Squadron, 1 Squadron's Mirage F1AZ's, Cheetah E's of 5 squadron and continued to do so for 2 Squadron's Cheetah C and D variants.

With the reduction of a potential threat against South Africa, 60 Squadrons duties were expanded to include both a transport and a humanitarian role. In recent times the Boeing 707's of 60 Squadron have become well known to South African troops on peace support missions in Africa. The boeing's range has also made it effective in patrolling South Africa's maritime resources with flights as far south as Marion Island and Antartica. The squadron's contribution was rewarded with the awarding of it's Colours during a parade at AFB Waterkloof on 7 October 1994.

The Squadron were active ambassadors flying the South African flag across the world. During 1995 the unit displayed a Boeing 707 at the IAT RAF Fairford in the United Kingdom with huge success. Other visits abroad included the mission in July 1994 to fetch the crew of Shackleton 1716 that went down in North West Africa, visits to Moscow in 1995, Rio de Janeiro in 1996, Haiti in 2004 and the United Kingdom in 1996 and 1999. In 2001 and 2002 the squadron provided support to the German Tornado deployments to TFDC Overberg from Ongolstadt, Manching in Germany. During 2006 the squadron was involved in the Gripen development programme with a 707 flying to Sweden to conduct in-flight refuelling trials.

Operations wound down with the last operational Boeing 707 flight flown on 10 July 2007 to Bujumbura, Kinshasa and Kindu. Aircraft 1415 was flown to AFB Makhado on 3 October 2007 and 1419 was flown to the SAAF Museum, Swartkop, on 2 November 2007.

Above source: SAAF Museum

While it has been rumoured that the side-cheeks on the B-707's (including 1419) contained Side Looking Airborne Radar (SLAR), the Boeings never carried any form of SLAR or, for that matter, any form of radar apart from the standard weather radar in the nose.

The cheeks housed the Automatic ELINT Emitter Locating System (AEELS) systems only. According to Jane`s, the SAAF ELINT 707s also used the Elta 8300 ELINT suite.

Supplier: Israel, recipient: South Africa.
4 second-hand Boeing-707 transport aircraft.
Ordered 1985, delivered 1986.
2 modernized to tanker and 2 to ELINT aircraft.
Source: SIPRI Arms Transfers Database


SAAF Boeing 707 1415 on approach to RAF Mildenhall. Taken in 1989, possibly of AF-619 (1419). Taken in 1995. AF-617 (1417) in 1995. AF-617 (1417) in 1995.