This page is part of © FOTW Flags Of The World website

South Africa Air Force Ensigns

Last modified: 2003-04-26 by jarig bakker
Keywords: south africa | air force |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors

[South Africa - Air Force - 1994] by Paige Herring, 16 March 1998 See also:


On 11 November 1994 the new South African military flag was adopted. The flag of SANDF, South African National Defense Forces: green with the national flag in the canton, and emblem in the lower fly (two swords, one anchor, and wings). The Air Force has the same but in light blue (a different emblem: a bird)
Jaume Olle, 24 Nov 1996

The flags of the SANDF are as described above but the Airforce has a gold eagle in castle emblem. All these flags are based on the designs used by the former SADF, with the naval ensign being modified slightly as indicated above. A history of the Flags of the Union Defence Forces and of the South African Defence Force 1912 - 1993 is available as SAVA JOURNAL 2/93.
Bruce Berry, 26 Nov 1996

Although the SAAF used the Royal Air Force ensign in its initial years, it was not a branch of the RAF or of the SA Army. It was in fact the second independent air force formed in the entire world.
Mike Oettle. 25 Apr 2003

SAAF 1994 ensign

With the change of government on 26 April 1994, the SAAF had no ensign. A new version was approved on 27 July 1994 and was taken unto use on 11 November 1994. The new design, as many prior designs, merely substituted the current national flag for the old one.
Sources: SAVA Journal 2/93, "Flags of the Union Defence Forces and of the South African Defence Force, 1912-1993;" SAVA Newsletter, 11/94."
Paige Herring, 16 March 1998

South African Air Force Ensign - 1940

[South Africa - Air Force - 1940] by Paige Herring, 16 March 1998

Prior to 1940, the South African Air Force (SAAF) used the British Royal Air Force ensign. In 1940, the SAAF adopted an air force ensign which retained the sky blue background of the RAF ensign but exchanged the Union Flag for the South African flag and placed the orange, white and blue roundel of the SAAF in the fly. The national flag retained its 2:3 proportion while the flag's proportion was a 1:2.

SAAF 1951 ensign

[South Africa - Air Force - 1951] by Paige Herring, 16 March 1998

In 1951, the SAAF adopted a new ensign. The new ensign established certain norms. The field of the ensign would be sky blue (later reclassified as steel blue), and the proportion would be 2:3. An orange springbok leaping across a blue and white roundel was placed in the fly.

SAAF 1958 ensign

[South Africa - Air Force - 1958] by Paige Herring, 16 March 1998

From 1958 to 1967 and from 1970 to 1981, a third ensign was used. This ensign was the same as the 1951 version, but a new SAAF emblem graced the lower fly. This emblem (also the insignia of the air force) featured a dark blue ground plan of the Castle of Good Hope outlined in white with a gold springbok leaping toward the hoist.

SAAF 1966 ensign

[South Africa - Air Force - 1967] by Paige Herring, 16 March 1998

The SAAF adopted a new ensign in November of 1966. This flag substituted the SAAF eagle for the third version's springbok emblem. The eagle was standing on a scroll which said 'Per Aspera Ad Astra.' However, in an order of 21 January 1967, the description omitted the scroll. As was the case for the Navy's second ensign, the design was not to go into effect until stocks of the earlier (springbok) version were depleted. On 26 March 1970, the springbok version first introduced in 1958 was readopted. The end result is that the fourth design of the SAAF ensign was never flown.

SAAF 1981 ensign

[South Africa - Air Force - 1981] by Paige Herring, 16 March 1998

On 3 March 1981, the SAAF approved a design that featured a new emblem and fimbriated the canton. The new ensign utilized a gold-outlined ground plan of the Castle of Good Hope in steel blue with a gold SAAF eagle in the center.

SAAF 1982 ensign

[South Africa - Air Force - 1982] by Paige Herring, 16 March 1998

This version lasted until 27 February 1982 when the emblem was changed to have a dark blue ground plan of the castle outlined in gold with the SAAF eagle in the center.