Unit Emblem 21 Squadron


21 Squadron


Welcome to 21 Squadron, the VIP air transport Squadron of the South African Air Force. Home to some aircraft types such as the Boeing BBJ, Falcon 50 and 900 as well as the Citation II. The squadron conducts VIP missions across the globe. It is the pride of the South African Air Force and the nation as a whole.



21 Squadron was founded on 8 May 1941 at Nakuru, Kenya. The Unit was first equipped with Maryland medium bombers and included members of 11, 15 and 16 Squadrons. Later in the war the unit was equipped with Baltimore and Marauder bombers.

During the period 1941 to 1945 the Squadron undertook operational flights in North Africa and Italy and was awarded 12 Battle Honours during this time.

The unit was disbanded in 1945.

January of 1968 saw the Squadron reformed and stationed at AFB Swartkop as a VIP air transport Squadron. Equipped with a Viscount (Kasteel) and 3 VIP Dakotas (Rustig, Elandsberg and Fleur), which were subsequently replaced by Mercurius and Merlin IV aircraft, the unit operated at AFB Swartkop until it moved to AFB Waterkloof in 1981.

n 1987 the squadron was moved from the Western side of the base to the Eastern side from where it is still operating today.

During September 1982 the first falcon 50 aircraft was acquired and a Citation II leased by the SAAF and stationed at the Squadron. This aircraft was later bought by the SAAF. Another Falcon 50 was acquired in December 1985, as well as a Falcon 900 in October 1991.

During 1994 a TBVC states owned Citation II also became a member of the Squadron’s fleet and, after 28 years, the HS125’s were finally withdrawn from service. The flagship of the Squadron, a Boeing BBJ, was acquired in 2002 and added to the unit’s fleet.

The Squadron’s gold and green badge dates back to the unit’s bomber operations during the war, having a bomb, Springbok head and roman numerals for 21 embraced by a set of silver wings. The Squadron motto: "ONOORWINLIK"


SA Coat Of Arms on Falcon 900



21 Squadron is seen as the "window" of the South African Air Force, as we are the only representatives of the Air Force that many dignitaries may ever meet. It is therefore of utmost importance, and expected by the Officer Commanding, that members of the Squadron are always immaculate and impeccable in their actions and approach

The Squadron is responsible to AFB Waterkloof for supplying members for regimental duties as well as for duty crew.

Introduction courses are presented at the Squadron


 Value System


To Conduct VIP Air Transport Mission


To be the preferred provider of VIP Air Transport in Southern Africa


The mandate of 21 Squadron is contained in "CABINET MEMORANDUM 2/94: USE OF MILITARY AIR TRANSPORT BY POLITICAL OFFICE BEARERS, SENIOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AND DEPARTMENTS (MS/S/501/10)" which served before the Cabinet committee for Security and Intelligence Affairs dd 30 November 1994 and approved by the Cabinet on 7 December 1994.

21 Squadron Aircraft

21 Squadron operates two Citation II’s, two Falcon 50’s, one Falcon 900 and one Boeing BBJ.


 Citation II



Built by Cessna, the C550 Citation II is a light business jet powered by two Pratt & Whitney JT15D engines. The aircraft is very robust and reliable and has a maximum weight of 13,300 lb. It is especially well suited to operations in Africa.


 Falcon 50



Built by Dasault in France the Falcon 50 is a medium business jet powered by three Garret TFE731-3 engines rated at 3 700 lb of thrust each. The aircraft has an all up weight of 40 780 lb and accommodates 10 passengers up to cruising levels of approximately 49 000 feet. It measures 18.5m (length) by 18.8m (wingspan) by 6.9m (height).

The Falcon 50 is used for trips ranging in the region of 3000nm to 4000nm.


Falcon 900


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Also built by Dasault in France the Falcon 900 is a medium business jet powered by three Garret TFE731-5AR engines rated at 4 500 lb of thrust each. The aircraft has an all up weight of 46 500 lb and accommodates 14 passengers up to cruising levels of approximately 51 000 feet. It measures 20.2m (length) by 19.3m (wingspan) by 7.5m (height).

The Falcon 900 is also used for trips ranging in the region of 3000nm to 4000nm.


 Boeing BBJ


Built by the Boeing Aircraft Company in the USA this aircraft caters for the needs of customers that have to travel long distances non-stop in unparalleled comfort. It is powered by two CFM56-7B3 engines rated at 27 000 lb thrust each. The aircraft has an all up weight of 171 000 lb and accommodates 18 passengers up to cruising levels of approximately 41 000 feet. It measures 33.6m (length) by 34.3m (wingspan) by 12.6m (height).

The BBJ is used for trips up to a range of 6000 nm.


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