|Test Flight and Development Centre|
BAe Hawk Mk.120 at the TFDC
|Role||Aircraft test flying and development|
|Aircraft Operated||Various (current types include BAe Hawk Mk.120 and Cheetah C)|
|Home Base||AFB Overberg|
|Date Founded||10 August 1975|
The Test Flight and Development Centre is a unit of the South African Air Force. It is currently a test flight and evaluation centre.
Due to South Africa's apartheid policies of the time, a number of countries instituted an arms boycott against it in the 1960s. This forced the SAAF to create an indigenous flight testing and development capability to research new technologies and methods and update old ones, and in this light a former graduate of the Empire Test Pilots' School (ETPS) was appointed the SAAF's Chief Test Pilot in 1967 and tasked with improving and expanding the air force's test flying and evaluation capabilities. In 1974 another ETPS graduate took over, and was tasked with creating a specialised test flying and evaluation unit within the SAAF. The end result was that the Test Flight and Development Centre was officially established on 10 August 1975 at AFB Waterkloof.
Over the next few years until the imposition of the mandatory United Nations arms embargo against South Africa in 1977, additional pilots were sent to the ETPS and to EPNER in France to gain flight test experience and expertise. By 1979, the TFDC had grown large enough to merit the allocation of one of the hangar complexes at AFB Waterkloof, and in 1980 it established a satellite unit at Van Ryneveld Airfield in Upington to conduct weapons release tests. Once the Overberg Test Range near Bredasdorp on the southern Cape coast had been completed, the TFDC moved to an adjacent airfield, now known as AFB Overberg.