The following musterings are available:
- Air Space Control Operator
- Air Traffic Controller
- Air Traffic Service Assistant
- Mission Controller
- Radar Operator
The requirements to be accepted in air traffic control in the SAAF are as follows:
- Must be a South African citizen
- Age: Not younger than 18 and not yet 24 when starting Basic Military Training
- Classified medically fit for duty by the Institute for Aviation Medicine
- Be recommended by a selection board
The academic requirements are:
- Completed Grade 12 with English as a passed subject.
- Mathematics (NSC level 4) and Geography essential.
18 months training at Air Space Control School at AFB Waterkloof, including Basic Military Training at Air Force Gymnasium.
Air Space Control Operator
Mission Controlers are assisted by Air Space Control Operators who operate the radar, man the operations room and make meteorological observations.
Air Traffic Controller (ATC)
Air traffic controllers regulate the orderly departure and arrival of aircraft at an airfield and ensure that they are seperated by safe distances and heights en-route. When aircraft approach an airfield for landing, they vector them towards the runway in order thet they may continue with a visual approach or intercept the radio beam of the Instrument Landing System (ILS). At some airfields the ATC talks them down by using Ground Controlled Approach (GCA) radar.
Air Traffic Service Assistant
Air traffic control assistants assist the ATC in routine aspects of their tasks and also provide ground control information to aircraft on the ground. Future Air Traffic Controllers are selected from the ATC assistants.
From the moment a fighter takes off on an interception, it is directed to the target by the mission controller until it picks up the target on its own radar or makes visual contact with the ‘bogey’ (unidentified or hostile aircraft). Mission controllers also play an integral part in compiling an Air Situation Picture. This forms the principle element regarding the SAAF’s in-flight command and control capability during both peace and war time situations. This is done by means of mobile and static radars that are situated around South Africa.
As Mission Controllers are part of the executive of the combat team they too are appointed as officers.
They are responsible for the production of an accurate and updated air situation picture by means of tracking and identifying all air movements which penetrate the RSA’s airspace. The aircraft recognition process starts as soon as the first blip (a target reflected on the radar screen) appears. Aircraft are identified by means of electroninc media, flight plans and radio messages.
Information Communication Technology Management
The primary objective of Telecommunications is to have a secure and reliable telecommunications infrastructure, which can provide a wide range if Information Communication Technology (ICT) services necessary for efficient command and control of the weapon systems and support of other functions of the SAAF.
The following are provided and managed by the ICT Management section: Static Microwave Networks, Information Technology capability of the SAAF, Tactical/Static ICT capability, Electronic PABX capability (telephone services), Cable Infrastructure in support of all voice and data services.
Communication personnel can further qualify themselves as air operators’ (maritime), Mobile Airborne Operations Team (MOAT) operators as well as jumping MOAT Operators.
Ground Command and Control Management
The Ground Command and Control Management operational role is to serve the SAAF and Joint Operations for tasking, aloocating and controlling all air operations, except for in-flight Command and Control. It consists of Command Post Officers and Command Post Assistants whose primary role is to provide the necessary information for the allocation of own-forces to the various theatres and provide the relevant own-force information necessary for the general planning to conduct air operations.