Monday, January 19, 2015

Operation Sand : 1972 - 1978

In 1972, Rhodesians pilots and technicians were secretly seconded to the South African Air Force (SAAF) to fly Mirage III. The "operation Sand" was starting . They were initially assigned to the Flying Training School based in Louis Botha, Durban and flying on Impala, the South African version of Aermachi MB-326M. A first pilot detachment then joined the Squadron 2 to Waterkloof to operate on Mirage IIICZ. The first two pilots were Rob Dayton Ed Potterton. An air base was also built secretly Flyde Rhodesia to rapidly deploy Mirage if necessary. It was rarely used. In mid 1978, a whole squadron of Mirage was flown by the Rhodesians. The pilots and the planes seem to have sometimes been involved in ground strikes in Mozambique to assist Rhodesian ground forces and also scrambled when Zambians Mig crossing the border Rhodesia / Zambia.