Military


Ysterplaat Airbase

Air Force Station Brooklyn and 9 Air Depot were disbanded on 31 March 1944. All the activities on the station then fell under 3 Air Depot. Lt Col J.A.B. Sandenberg then took over command of 3 AD on 1 April 1944. Activities on Brooklyn scaled down so much that the airfield was nearly presented to the private sector. Only a big investment of capital into the station prevented this.

In 1946, 300 Harvard aircraft were crated by 3 AD and shipped from Cape Town. On the positive side the country's first jet aircraft, a Meteor III was assembled at the base during that year. The first flight took place on 14 May 1946.

With the disbandment of 11 Air Depot in 1947, No 2 Flight and 3 Air Depot Stores amalgamated on the suggestion of Capt D.F. Cohen, and was known from then on as Air Force Station Ysterplaat Stores.

17 Squadron, known as the "City of Cape Town Squadron", was founded anew on 4 October 1947 on Ysterplaat. 7 and 27 Squadrons were founded in 1951 as Active Citizen Force Squadrons. The squadrons were equipped with Harvard and Ventura aircraft respectively. Although 6 and 22 Squadrons were not based at Ysterplaat in the early fifties, the unit was still responsible for their maintenance. The first Vampires arrived in 1949 and were assembled there.

On 20 April 1953 the Air Navigation School (ANS) moved to Air Force Station (AFS) Ysterplaat. ANS never had its own aircraft. Navigators were initially trained on Venturas and later in Dakotas from 25 Squadron. ANS moved to Langebaanweg in 1981 but Dakotas are still used for training flights. In 1957 35 Squadron moved from Durban to Ysterplaat. The first two Shackletons arrived in the Cape on 19 August. After that, 17 Squadron was re-established at Langebaan at the end of 1957, then moved to Ysterplaat in July 1961. At that time 17 Squadron were equipped with helicopters.

In October 1962 the Aircraft Maintenance Unit was founded and 11 Air Depot was established as a lodger unit. In the same year 17 Squadron was subdivided into 3 flights of which one flight remained at Ysterplaat as a Helicopter Conversion Unit to provide basic training to helicopter pilots and flight engineers. This unit was transferred to Bloemfontein in 1977, after being renamed in 1971 to 87 Advanced Flying School. 402 Air Field Maintenance Unit received unit status in 1964, as a lodger unit of Ysterplaat.

The current AFB Ysterplaat was officially founded on 1 February 1968, after the railways laid down their ownership of the land on which the base is situated. 16 and 25 Squadrons were founded on the same day with 16 Squadron taking over the core of the old 17 Squadron and 25 Squadron playing a transportation role. In a certain sense 25 Squadron took over the wartime role of 22 Squadron, as well as the task of the Station flight which previously flew Dakotas from Ysterplaat. On the same date 88 Maritime Operational Training School, then known only as Maritime Operational Training School, was founded. Their task was to train flight crew for the maritime squadrons of the base, which were 27 and 35 Squadrons. t was also decided that all the Harvard's would from then on be part of Central Flying School Dunnottar and the last of these aircraft left the Cape on 14 February 1977.

On 6 July 1968 the Ysterplaat Officer's Mess burnt down. Construction of the new mess started immediately and the new mess opened its doors not log afterwards. The WO's Mess was also replaced with as excellent new building which was taken into use on 5 December 1984.

27 Squadron's Dakotas were replaced by Albatrosses in 1968. In the following year 17 Squadron first moved to Durban and later to Pretoria. 22 Flight was equipped with Westland Wasp helicopters and received squadron status in 1976. Alouette III helicopters were added to the squadron's inventory in 1978.

11 Air Depot moved to Epping and the opening of their new premises took place on 8 November 1979. With the founding of 30 Squadron, (Frelons and Puma helicopters) in December 1980, 16 Squadron was disbanded and the A-flight moved to Port Elizabeth. 22 and 30 Squadron thus operated from Ysterplaat with respectively Wasps and Alouette III's and lastly with Pumas and Super Frelon helicopters. 35, 27 and 7 Squadrons operated from DF Malan Airport as squadrons form Ysterplaat, with respectively Shackletons, Albatrosses and Impalas. Other flying units under command of the base were 109 Squadron at Mosselbaai and 110 Squadron at Ysterplaat. 93 Tactical Aerodrome Unit's home base is also AFB Ysterplaat.

Besides the emergency and humanitarian aid work that Ysterplaat's squadrons are famous for, great work is also being done in the technical - and especially the production field, whereby the base is starting to obtain fame for its modern equipment and skilled craftsmanship. The base received the SAAF's Operational Efficiency Award for Support Sections in 1983 as well as 1984. The production capacity of 2 Aircraft Service Unit was extend to that of a depot and it was decided to establish 2 Air Depot on 1 November 1984. 88 MOTS and closed and 80 ANS came back from CFS Langebaanweg, as they were still using Dakotas for training. 35 Squadron took over the roles of 25 and 27 Squadrons and thus comprises a maritime and a transport flight. 22 and 30 Squadrons amalgamated in 1991 and is known as 22 Squadron and equipped with Alouette and Oryx helicopters.

402 Aerodrome Maintenance Unit is now combined with 400 Aerodrome Maintenance Unit which falls under 4 AD. With the closure of Southern Air Command and AFB Port Elizabeth, 108 Squadron was also placed under control of AFB Ysterplaat.



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