The South African Air Force (SAAF) is temporarily training pilots for the Royal Air force of Oman (RAFO) at AFB Langebaanweg, its central flying school in the Western Cape, after winning a competitive bid for the military contract.

The RAFO signed the agreement with the SAAF after evaluating numerous bids from air forces around the world, and nine students and an instructor from the RAFO arrived in late 2014 at AFB Langebaanweg to commence a 16 month pilot’s course.

Oman’s own fleet of 12 Pilatus training aircraft have been affected by corrosion and other problems and are currently undergoing a year-long overhaul at the Pilatus factory in Stans, Switzerland, and as a result the RAFO looked to outsource its training to other countries.

Chief of the SAAF, Lt Gen Fabian Msimang, publically announced that the SAAF had begun its relationship with the air force of Oman at a recent Wings Parade, in a welcome address in which he also complemented Captain Hamood of the RAFO.

He noted that the selection of the SAAF over many other air forces was “an achievement which we need to celebrate.”

Brigadier General Marthie Visser of the SAAF told South Africa’s defenceWeb that the RAFO wanted to build closer ties with South Africa by sending its personnel for training, and that an MoU had been signed for the implementation of potential future arrangements.

South Africans have long been associated with the Sultan of Oman’s Armed Forces, with many ex-SAAF pilots having flown for the Sultanate as fighter pilots and instructors over the decades.