Zimbabwe Air Force Training 2024/2025
Zimbabwe Air Force Training 2024/2025 – Details of Zimbabwe Air Force Training 2024/2025
The Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) is the air force of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. It was known as the Rhodesian Air Forceuntil 1980.
Zimbabwe Air Force Training 2024/2025
In the two years since independence the air force, which was heavily involved in counterinsurgency operations against Matabeleland dissidents in 1982, worked to maintain combat effectiveness. An extensive training program designed to bring Africans into the service aimed at providing the new personnel a high level of proficiency. The task was a difficult one: of a total authorized manned strength of 2,900, less than 900 were pilots and technicians, and -qany of these were trainees. Four hundred others, all of them Pnm-Africans, continued to serve in the volunteer reserve. In 1982 more than thirty fixed-wing combat aircraft and thirty-seven helicopters as well as transport and training aircraft were divided amlong seven operational squadrons. Air units were located primarily at New Sarum Air Station near Harare and at Thornhill near Gweru. They also had access to numerous smaller civilian and military airstrips around the country, including several equipped with hard-surfaced runways.
Most of the veteran white pilots and technicians serving in the air force at independence had been trained primarily by Britain and, after UDI, by South Africa. In the early 1980s a new generation of airmen was receiving most of its instruction in Zimbabwe. The air force had received offers of training from a number of countries, including Pakistan, Romania, the United States, Canada, Egypt, Nigeria, and Britain. The high command, however, was examining the cost-effectiveness of such training in terms of its relevance to aircraft in Zimbabwe’s inventory and to the air force’s organizational patterns and operational concepts.
The Air Force School of Flying Training operated at Thornhill where Number Six Squadron, equipped with propeller-driven SIAIMarchetti SF.260s, was oriented entirely to flight training. In 1982 carefully selected recruits aged seventeen to twenty-five went through a one-month basic training course followed by six months of general military classroom instruction. Only after that point did ground school begin; it was followed by 225 hours of flight training-including twenty-five hours of weapons familiarization and fifty hours in jetsafter which the cadet received his wings. In 1982 five African pilots who had previous flight training from Romania and Cuba had received their wings. The rest of some 100 pilots in the force were white, although roughly half the pilot trainees at that time were blacks.
The School of Technical Training was located at New Sarum air base. After independence an extensive air force campaign was launched to recruit young Africans with high grades and ability in mathematics or science. Recruits were supposed to undergo a two-month regimental basic training program followed by four months of extensive course work in sciences and technical subjects. At that poirt the recruit was to become an apprentice specializing in air frames, engines, radio and radar electronics, aircraft electrical systems, mechanics, or metalwork. If after thirty months of apprenticeship a trainee’s performance was deemed unsatisfactory, he was to be dismissed from the service. If succesful, h e could receive further instruction and experience for thirty months before becoming a journeyman.
In the two years after independence, some specialized training was done abroad in Britain, the United States, and other countries to relieve overburdened Zimbabwean fiacilities. The air force suffered from a dearth of trained technicians lured away by lucrative opportunities in the private sector and in other countries. To retain its technically qualified people, the air force required recruits to sign a contract binding them to serve for ten years. In addition a law passed in 1981 prohibited veterans who left the service from working for a private Zimbabwean company until six months after their discharge.
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