How to Join the South African Air force | Requirements and Document Needed

How to Join the South African Air force | Requirements and Document Needed, This page will help you apply for the South African Air force (SAAF) and also let you know the entry requirements and other documents required from you. If you are interested in working for the South African Air force (SAAF), this page will give you a step-by-step guide on how to apply successfully.

The South African Air force (SAAF) is one of the armed services of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) whose primary responsibility is to keep the airspace of South Africa clean at all times. This section of the armed forces embarks on special missions and operations to keep the country safe and secured.


SAAF focuses on protecting the airspace of the Republic through the conduct of air operations.


The vision of the South African Air force (SAAF) is to deliver its best to keep the airspace safe.


There is a general entry requirement for joining the air force as everyone must be fit to serve in a military environment. Each mustering in the SAAF, also known as occupational class in the public service and trade in the technical environment of civil aviation, has requirements for specific educational qualifications, additional personal attributes, and a willingness to serve under the working conditions of that mustering.

The minimum general entry requirements for the Military Skills Development Program (MSDS) are that you must be:

  • A South African Citizen (No dual citizenship)
  • Age between 18 and 22 at the time of joining (Completed Grade 12 or N3 with 6 subjects including two languages) or
    not more than 26 if in possession of a 3-year tertiary qualification (Degree, National Diploma or N6 with N4 and N5 prescript)
  • Preferably single
  • Comply with medical fitness requirements for appointment in the SANDF
  • Currently, in Grade 12 or completed Grade 12 or equivalent with subjects specific to a career selection
  • Not be area bound
  • Must not have a criminal record
  • Comply with medical fitness requirements for appointment in the SAND
  • Comply with all other prescribed requirements for appointment in the SANDF
  • Must be willing to relocate and participate in deployments both in South Africa and abroad if required to do so
  • Be recommended by a selection board.
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To join the South African Air force (SAAF), follow the steps below:

STEP 1: Visit South African National Defence Force SANDF Website.

STEP 2: Click on ‘Application Form’

STEP 3: Click on ‘Download’

STEP 4: Download and save.

NOTE: Applicants must download the SAAF Application Forms 2022 listed from SANDF website, fill them out, and submit them to the address listed on each application form.

The SAAF offers several varied and exciting careers, both in the air and on the ground. The following occupational directions are available.

  • Aircrew – Pilot or Navigator
  • Aircrew – Other
  • Command and Control
  • Aviation Maintenance
  • Engineering/Apprenticeship
  • General Maintenance
  • Technical Support
  • Reserve Squadrons


Applications complying with the minimum requirements will be subjected to further screening. Candidates identified will then be invited to partake in a selection process.

The selection process entails the following:

Psychometric evaluation:
The aim is to assess the candidates’ aptitude and potential to develop in the position that was applied for. The nature of these tests will depend on the position applied for.

Selection Board (formal interview):
A Selection Board will be conducted in order to assess the applicants’ interest in the position applied for, as well as their interest in the Defence Force in general. The interview will also focus on self-confidence, leadership potential, and communication skills.

Medical Evaluation:
A comprehensive medical evaluation will be conducted by appointed military medical practitioners in order to assess the applicants’ medical history and current medical status. All applicants must be declared fit for military training before commencement.

Criminal Records:
Fingerprints of applicants will be sent to the Criminal Record Bureau for verification. Records of convictions will be evaluated based on the severity thereof and how recently the offense occurred.

Offer of Employment
Successful applicants will receive an offer of employment. Candidates who are not successful will be informed by correspondence. It is unfortunate that not all applicants who are recommended for training will receive an offer of employment due to the large number of applications received.

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Basic Military Training is compulsory to all uniform personnel of the SA National Defence Force and is presented at the Air Force Gymnasium Boston (AFB Hoedspruit), over a period of approximately 13 weeks.

The following subjects will, amongst others, be presented during the training period:

  • Drill
  • Military law
  • Military ceremonies
  • Buddy aid
  • Physical training and Soldiership

Serving in the air force is far more than just having a job, it is a way of life.
Serving in the air force means more than just having a job. When not on duty, your behavior has also to be beyond reproach as civil society looks up to you. You have to set an example at all times. Volunteers are required to pledge that they will uphold a strict Code of Conduct.

What you do constitutes a vocation when you serve in the air force. You invest most of your time in the air force and in a real sense you become identified with the air force. Your whole personality development is associated with what you do and how you do it.

Viewing your work as a vocation, of which the ultimate function is the preservation of a worthwhile way of life for all the inhabitants of South Africa, permits you to find meaningfulness and a sense of accomplishment.

Serving in the air force requires particular psychological and physical attributes and the intellectual potential for developing the unique competencies required in the air force. Not everybody has these attributes, and it is a selected few who will qualify for an appointment in the air force.

Individuals who join the air force are required to have certain basic attributes, while each mustering (or occupational class) includes additional attribute requirements. For example, electricians must not be color-blind, as they have to identify wiring in circuits by color codes. Exclusion from one mustering does not disqualify you from being considered for another.

The SAAF needs all-rounders who will be able to accept the responsibility of leadership. Leadership in the air force is split between officers and other ranks. The officer is required to make considered judgments and warrant officers and non-commissioned officers lead and motivate their subordinates. They form the backbone of the air force and support the officers.

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As a junior NCO and junior officer, you function at a level in the air force where you are responsible to do what is required of you.

At the same time, you are required to develop as an officer or NCO, and you are given the opportunity to undertake new tasks in addition to your normal tasks for which you were trained.

Ability depends on yourself; you either have it or not, -and in both instances, you can improve yourself if you are prepared to develop yourself and make full use of the learning opportunities provided. At an early stage in your career, it is essential to gain experience in the workplace, for this provides the credibility needed to earn respect in senior positions.

Experience is gained through optimum exposure to a variety of situations. It is not gained overnight. You develop more rapidly at an early age when you are still in a formative phase. Later it becomes more difficult to adapt to the military way of life.

For more information, please contact the
SAAF Recruitment Office:

SA Air Force Headquarters
Air Command
(Directorate Human Resource Services)
Recruitment Office
Private Bag X199

Fax: (012) 312 2138

Phone: (012) 312 2148 / 2609

Department of Defence Career website:

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