U.S. military participates in AAD 2010 expo in South Africa

by Staff Sgt. Bryanna Poulin
7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — More than 150 aircrew and personnel from the U.S Air Force and Army took part in the Africa Aerospace & Defence 2010 exhibition held at Air Force Base Ysterplaat, Cape Town, South Africa, last week to build on an ongoing partnership between the U.S. military and South Africa National Defense Forces.

AAD 2010 is one of the premier events of its type in the world, and U.S. military participation aims to enhance cooperation and standardization with South African

AAD 2010 has given U.S. military leaders a chance to meet other air chiefs from across the globe and showcase a variety of equipment, said Maj. Gen. Margaret H. Woodward, 17th Air Force commander from Ramstein who led U.S. Department of Defense representation at the event.

“This has been a terrific event in that it’s raised the partnership level between the United States and the South African National Defence Forces,” General Woodward said. “We really appreciate the South African leadership in bringing together so many different countries to this multi-lateral event. It’s given us … the opportunity to meet with so many different air chiefs from around the continent, so not only are we able to work to build upon our South African relationship, but in addition, relationships with air chiefs from all around the continent.”

During the exhibition, U.S. forces conducted aerial demonstrations and displayed various military aircraft and ground vehicles from bases in the U.S., including a C-130J Hercules, a C-17 Globemaster III, HH-60 Pave Hawk and OH-58 Kiowa helicopters.

“We’re very proud to showcase our U.S. Air Force aircraft and the incredible Airmen who make it come together,“ General Woodward said.  “The attention the C-17 and C-130J have received is a spectacular example of what the U.S. Air Force has to offer.”

The AAD exhibition is the largest display of defense-related air, land and sea
capabilities on the African continent, attracting the most advanced technologies from around the world. It also  serves as a major platform for South Africa’s defense industry and other international visitors to showcase their best technology and innovations, said Maj. Gen. Hugh Paine, South African Air Force chief of force preparation.

More than 300 exhibitors from 31 countries displayed their products to more than 17,000 trade visitors and 30,000 public spectators at this year’s event, which ran  Sept. 21 to 25.

“It’s a pleasure to have American forces here, bringing out equipment that many people don’t get to see,” General Paine said. “It’s been very successful … our
biggest show so far.”

For U.S. military members, events like AAD 2010 provide an opportunity for better regional understanding and insight while encouraging follow-on initiatives such as military-to-military familiarization events and combined exercises and training opportunities.

“The U.S. military and South African National Defense Forces enjoy an established partnership built on mutual trust and interests, and the work by both sides that went into putting this event on will only enhance our military-to-military
cooperation,” General  Woodward said.

General Paine agreed, describing the relationship between U.S. military and South African National Defense Forces as, “a partnership that’s grown over the years. (AAD 2010) gives us an opportunity to do some benchmarking, and it gives an opportunity for military-to-military interaction, which is always very good.”