South Africans put older aircraft on the block

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South Africa has put up for sale a significant number of older aircraft to make way for the BAE Systems Hawks, Saab JAS39 Gripens and AgustaWestland A109s the country's armed forces are procuring.

The aircraft up for disposal include 18 Dassault Mirage F1 and 12 Atlas Cheetah fighters, nine Impala trainers, three single-seat Impala light ground attack aircraft, two Boeing 707s and 10 Atlas Oryx helicopters, together with large quantities of associated ordnance.

The receipts from this sale may help pay for 15 million litres (3.3 million gallons) of jet fuel lost from Louis Trichardt air force base. South African news reports yesterday said the fuel has been leaking into the water table from a cracked pipe for as long as 15 years.

The loss was first admitted last week, though rectification work has been under way for two years.