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Three Members Complete The First OTC On Hawk Mk 120

By Amn Tebogo E Kekana, Ad Astra Magazine

Three SAAF members, Majors Catherine Labuschagne, Jacques Mouton and Capt Lancelot Mathebula completed the Operational Training Course (OTC) on the Hawk Mk120. The course started in 2003 on Impalas. Due to the Impala being phased out, they could not complete the course on time.

According to Lt Col Lance Wellington (Officer Commanding 85 Combat Flying School, AFB Makhado) The Hawk Mk120 was not available until May 2008. The students completed the basic conversion in 2006 and were thus given a refresher on air combat, ground and tactical flying. The three were required to fly 1600 hours to qualify as Wingmen.

The OTC syllabus consisted of 87 flights at an average of one hour five minutes flying hours per flight. That does not include a thirty-two flight aircraft conversion and monthly continuation training.

“The Hawk Mk120 is without doubt the most technologically advanced Lead in Fighter Trainer in the World. That’s why it needed thorough trained personnel. 85 Combat Flying School is proud to be able to train fighter pilots on it because it is an excellent training platform”, stated Lt Col Wellington.

85 Combat FS does not only train OTC students, they are also responsible for training Hawk Mk120 flying instructors, flight leaders, strike navigators and leaders, pilot attack instructors and Hawk Mk120 and Gripen technical personnel.

The Operational Training Course (OTC) dates back to the 70s and fighter pilots have been trained for OTC ever since. OTC equips fighter pilots with modern tactics of Air Combat, Ground Attack and Tactical Flying. The training uses the most effective technical systems for ground and flight courses.

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