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Map of SAAF Bases

Move your mouse over each base on the map above for more info.


Images for this base:

Swartkop in 1953.

AFB Swartkop (now AF MDW)

"Primus" (First)
Status: Current
Co-ordinates: Lat: 25? 48' 3   Long: 028? 09'
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Satellite View

AFS Zwartkop was established in April 1921 and was South Africa's first air force base and is home of the SAAF Museum. The base is located on the western side of the main (tar) runway.

Following the original selection of land for a planned aerodrome, for what eventually became Swartkop, in about 1920 a private farm called Zwartkop was expropriated by the Government of the day. This farm had itself been named after a nearby prominent hill. The Dutch spelling of Zwartkop was retained for the Air Station that was subsequently developed. On April 1, 1949, the Dutch spelling was dropped in favour of the English and resulted in Air Force Station (AFS) Swartkop. On February 1, 1968, the AFS was upgraded to a fully fledged Air Force Base (AFB).

The Base was reprocaimed an Air Force Station on 1 March 1999. The SAAF commenced vacating the base in 1999, with the intention of leaving only the SAAF Museum behind and the base being known as 'Zwartkop', an extension of AFB Waterkloof. The SAA Historic Flight moved to the airfield and the airfield has been proclaimed a heritage site.

The SAAF then changed it's mind and decided not to vacate its operational units.

The site then became known as AFB Swartkop, with the SAAF Museum occupying the northern side of the base, while the active SAAF units occupy the southern end of the base. 

However, the official name for the entire base/premises is Air Force Mobile Deployment Wing (AFMDW), incorporating 17 Squadron, the Museum, the old Snake Valley on the Eastern side and the old Gym (Valhalla) on the opposite side of the road. Thus, AFB Swartkop is no more and the unit badge it that of the AFMDW.

The SAAF Memorial is located on Bays Hill, on the northern side of the Base.

The base is also responsible for the Ellisras Reporting Post (plus FACP Centurion, FACP Lohatla and FACP Potchefstroom).

Squadrons at this base:
104 Squadron, 17 Squadron, Airspace Control Unit, SAAF Museum Historic Flight

Aircraft at this base:
A109 LUH, Alouette II (Museum), C-47 Dakota (Museum), CL.13B Sabre Mk 6 (Museum), CN 235, D.H.87B Hornet Moth (Museum), DHC-1 Chipmunk T MK 10, Explorer, Fi-156c-7 Storch, Harvards (Museum), Mirage IIIBZ (Museum), Mirage IIICZ (Museum), Oryx, P-51D Mustang (Museum), P166S Albatross (Museum), Prentice T Mk 1, Provost T Mk 52 (Museum), S-55C (Museum), SA-330L Puma (Museum), Shackleton MR.3 (Museum), Spitfire Mk IXe (Museum)

Other Bases:
AFB Ysterplaat Detached (Cape Town IAP), Air Force Base Bloemspruit, Air Force Base Durban, Air Force Base Hoedspruit, Air Force Base Langebaanweg, Air Force Base Makhado, Air Force Base Overberg, Air Force Base Pietersburg, Air Force Base Waterkloof, Air Force Base Ysterplaat, Air Force Mobile Deployment Wing, Air Force Station Port Elizabeth, Air Force Station Thaba Tshwane, N/A, Other, SAAF Gymnasium, TEK Base