It is now two months since the South African Air Force grounded the Gripen fighter jets according to the military publication "Defense Web". Brigadier General Andries Mahapa, who heads the Directorate: Corporate Communication (DCC) of the SA National Defense Force (SANDF) confirmed the latest developments in SAAF.
South Africa has a total aircraft strength of 221 assets. This includes 82 total helicopters, 12 attack helicopters, 17 fighter aircraft, 7 special mission aircraft, 22 transport aircraft, and 88 trainer aircraft. South Africa bought a total of 26 Gripens in late 1997 but now just 13 are still active and two are used on a rotational basis and for training.
The grounding means that South Africa doesn't have a single fighter jet to protect its senior government officials or its borders. Now South Africa Airforce is relying on cheap drones and helicopters to monitor poachers, smugglers and protect the national key points such a parliament, national stadiums etc.
Defense budget cuts and poor performance of the SA Rand against particularly the US dollar is making spares increasingly expensive. The department requires nearly R2.5 billion to fix its fleet or else .....
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