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Defence & Aerospace

Commercial business delivers 777 freighters after securing separate order for 737 MAXs

By: Rebecca Campbell     15th January 2021 US-based global major aerospace group Boeing marked the advent of the new year with the delivery of three 777 Freighter (777F) aircraft to Qatar Airways Cargo. One of the aircraft concerned was the 200th 777F to be delivered. With this delivery, Qatar’s 777F fleet now numbers 24 aircraft. The... 

UK defence scientists develop robot to autonomously detect and map toxic chemicals

By: Rebecca Campbell     14th January 2021 The UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has developed a prototype of a robot that can autonomously detect, report and map dangerous chemicals spread over large areas. Designated the Merlin, the robot was developed in partnership with independent UK... 

Boeing awarded contract to increase space station power supply with new solar arrays

By: Rebecca Campbell     14th January 2021 US aerospace giant Boeing has been contracted by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) to construct six new and additional solar arrays for the International Space Station (ISS). These will increase the ISS’ power supply by 20% to 30% and so allow it to undertake greater... 

Boeing awarded contract to increase space station power supply with new solar arrays
Photo by Nasa
The International Space Station

Airbus reports sharply reduced deliveries but a net gain in airliner orders last year 

By: Rebecca Campbell     11th January 2021 Europe-based global major aerospace group Airbus has reported that its total commercial aircraft deliveries last year were 34% lower than in 2019. However, this significantly reduced number was in line with the manufacturer's adaptation plan, announced in April, to cope with the effects of the... 

European missile group wins major order from UK

By: Rebecca Campbell     7th January 2021 Pan-European missile group MBDA has been awarded a £550-million contract to produce a new missile system for the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD). The missile, called Spear by MBDA and Spear3 by the UK MoD, is the first of its type to have been developed: a network-enabled miniature cruise missile.... 

European missile group wins major order from UK
Photo by MBDA
An artist’s impression of an F-35B launching a swarm of Spear3 missiles

Airbus set to conclude major defence contract with India

By: Rebecca Campbell     6th January 2021 One of India’s leading newspapers, the Hindustan Times, has reported that the Indian Air Force (IAF) is to acquire 56 Airbus C295 medium tactical transport aircraft in a deal worth $2.5-billion. The transaction is likely to be signed in the near future. The deal is with Airbus Defence and Space,... 

Airbus set to conclude major defence contract with India
Photo by Airbus Defence and Space
A radar-equipped C295 of the Portuguese Air Force on a test flight over Spain.

Cele confirms SANDF will help police patrol Garden Route beaches 

By: News24Wire      6th January 2021 Police Minister Bheki Cele has revealed that South African National Defence Force members have been roped in to assist the police to keep bathers away from beaches along the Garden Route in the Western Cape. Cele was visiting the Garden Route on Wednesday morning. He said people are still... 

Cele confirms SANDF will help police patrol Garden Route beaches
Police Minister Bheki Cele

Bad weather nano-UAV successfully developed in UK for army use

By: Rebecca Campbell     4th January 2021 UK-based global major aerospace and defence group BAE Systems and British specialist uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) small and medium enterprise (SME) UAVTEK have partnered to develop a nano-UAV for military use that can operate in severe wind conditions. Known as the Bug, the nano-UAV successfully... 

Bad weather nano-UAV successfully developed in UK for army use
Photo by BAE Systems
A Bug nano-UAV before being hand-launched

Military Ombud assessing whether to investigate SANDF's R200m Covid-19 drug deal 

By: News24Wire      14th December 2020 A panel is set to determine whether the Military Ombud should investigate the defence department's R200-million deal to import an unregistered Covid-19 drug, Heberon Interferon-Alpha-2B, from Cuba. News24 has seen a letter confirming the Ombud's consideration to investigate the case after it... 

Technology group Rolls-Royce on track with plans to reposition itself and cut costs

By: Rebecca Campbell     11th December 2020 UK-based global major industrial technology group Rolls-Royce reported on Friday that it still expected to turn cash-flow-positive during the second half of next year and was still targeting at least £750-million in free cash flow (not counting disposals) as soon as 2022. It was also expecting to... 

Technology group Rolls-Royce on track with plans to reposition itself and cut costs
Photo by Rolls-Royce
A mock-up of Rolls-Royce’s next-generation UltraFan very large civil aerospace engine

Arms deal corruption case against Zuma postponed 

By: Reuters     8th December 2020 The corruption case against South Africa's former president, Jacob Zuma, and French arms dealer Thales related to a $2-billion arms deal has been provisionally postponed to February 23 next year, the Pietermaritzburg High Court said on Friday. It is the latest delay of trial proceedings for Zuma,... 

Drone Council seeks to help the industry by influencing govt

By: Rebecca Campbell     4th December 2020 Although South Africa was, only a few years ago, the leader in Africa in the development, deployment and operation of uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs, also known as remotely piloted aircraft systems or RPAS, or more simply called drones), a number of African countries had since overtaken it in... 

Solidarity court case against Denel postponed

By: Rebecca Campbell     3rd December 2020 Trade union Solidarity on Thursday expressed regret that the contempt of court case it had brought against State-owned defence industrial group Denel had been postponed until January 27. The court ruled that the Denel board had to be given time to respond to the affidavit presented by the union.... 

Solidarity union members to protest at Denel on Wednesday

By: Rebecca Campbell     1st December 2020 The Solidarity trade union has announced that its members who are employees of State-owned defence industrial group Denel will stage a protest march at the group’s head office in Irene, Centurion, south of Pretoria, on Wednesday at noon. The protest is to express their dissatisfaction over lack... 

Airbus Helicopters naval UAV programme achieves major milestone

By: Rebecca Campbell     1st December 2020 Europe-based aerospace and defence group Airbus has reported that its VSR700 optionally-piloted vehicle (OPV) helicopter has successfully made fully autonomous approaches and landings and subsequent take-offs from a platform that simulated the movement of ships at sea. The platform is mounted on... 

Airbus Helicopters naval UAV programme achieves major milestone
Photo by Airbus
The VSR700 OPV just before landing on the moving platform; note that the pilot does not have his hands on the controls.

Brazilian aerospace group delivers first modernised radar plane to Brazilian Air Force

By: Rebecca Campbell     30th November 2020 Brazil-based major aerospace and defence group Embraer announced on Friday that it had delivered the first modernised E-99M airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft to the Brazilian Air Force (abbreviated to FAB in Portuguese). The E-99M (M stands for modernised) is known to Embraer as... 

Brazilian aerospace group delivers first modernised radar plane to Brazilian Air Force
Photo by Embraer
The first upgraded E-99M for the Brazilian Air Force

South African UAV industry body seeks to be able to influence government

By: Rebecca Campbell     24th November 2020 Although South Africa was, only a few years ago, the leader in Africa in the development, deployment and operation of uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs, also known as remotely-piloted aircraft systems or RPAS, or more simply called drones), a number of African countries had since overtaken it in... 

New South African aviation and defence show announced for next March

By: Rebecca Campbell     20th November 2020 South African aerospace and defence show organiser AAD Expo has announced that it has organised a new event, Aerospace and Defence Trade Show (ADTS) 2021, which will be held at Lanseria International Airport from March 24 to March 26 next year. AAD Expo is normally responsible for the biennial... 

SANDF wants power to manage its own facilities

By: News24Wire      19th November 2020 The South African National Defence (SANDF) is edging closer to managing its own military facilities which could also see an end to high lease costs estimated to rise to around R1-billion “in less than ten years”. On Wednesday, DWF commander Major General Joseph Ledwaba briefed Parliament’s... 

International Space Station marks 20 years of operations

By: Rebecca Campbell     13th November 2020 November 2 marked the 20th anniversary of the arrival of the first crew on board the International Space Station (ISS). More than 15 countries have worked together to build it, and, since the first three-man crew (Russians Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev, and American William Shepherd) boarded... 

UK industry/academia consortium to develop advanced and novel sensing technologies

By: Rebecca Campbell     6th November 2020 UK-based global major aerospace and defence group BAE Systems and the University of Birmingham in England have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create an Advanced Sensing Technologies Consortium (ASTC). This consortium is part of the UK’s State-funded National Quantum Technologies... 

South Africa eases defence firm Denel's bailout terms 

By: Reuters     6th November 2020 South Africa's government has eased the terms of a R576-million bailout given to state defence company Denel for the financial year that ends in March 2021, officials told Reuters. Denel, which makes military equipment for South Africa's armed forces and export, has faced a liquidity crisis and... 

South Africa eases defence firm Denel's bailout terms

Youth robotics training programme successfully completed during Covid-19 lockdown

By: Donna Slater     5th November 2020 Paramount Labs – the research and innovation division of aerospace and technology company Paramount Group – in partnership with the South African Air Force (SAAF), has successfully completed its newly-launched robotics training programme with the first group of young students who enrolled as part... 

Youth robotics training programme successfully completed during Covid-19 lockdown

Rolls-Royce spearheading project to transform aeroengine inspections and maintenance

By: Rebecca Campbell     3rd November 2020 UK-based global industrial technology group Rolls-Royce has announced the launch of a project to revolutionise the inspection, maintenance and repair of aeroengines. The project is named Reinstate and is supported by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), a UK public-private partnership aimed... 

Opinion: Defence industry nowhere to be seen in science, technology and innovation policy

30th October 2020 In this opinion article, Dr Mthobisi Zondi argues that the South African government cannot implement critical science, technology and innovation (STI) policy while excluding the defence industry, which he describes as a capable sector with immense potential. The importance of science, technology... 

Opinion: Defence industry nowhere to be seen in science, technology and innovation policy
Dr Mthobisi Zondi

Top UK companies highlight advanced technologies they are developing for future fighter

By: Rebecca Campbell     30th October 2020 Major British aerospace, defence and industrial technology companies BAE Systems (BAES), Leonardo UK (part of Italy-based global aerospace and defence group Leonardo SpA), MBDA UK (part of the pan-European MBDA missile group) and Rolls-Royce reported recently on some of the advanced technologies... 

Mboweni agrees to SAA's R10.5bn bailout; no funds for SABC, Post Office and Denel 

By: News24Wire      28th October 2020 South African Airways will get the R10.5-billion it has requested from government to fund its business rescue process. The monies will be made available from reductions from national departments and their entities as well as reductions from local and provincial conditional grants, according to... 

Mboweni agrees to SAA's R10.5bn bailout; no funds for SABC, Post Office and Denel

South African defence companies need partnerships with overseas OEMs to survive

By: Rebecca Campbell     26th October 2020 The low level of the South African defence budget means that local defence companies cannot survive on domestic orders alone. Not only that, but local defence research and development (R&D) spending has also gone down over the years.  “The decline in local defence spending in difficult defence... 

South African defence companies need partnerships with overseas OEMs to survive
Photo by Saab Grintek Defence
A Swedish Air Force NH90 helicopter dispenses infrared countermeasure flares from a Saab Grintek Defence Integrated Defence Aids Suite

Regional airline body calls for travel restrictions to be clear and consistent

By: Rebecca Campbell     23rd October 2020 The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) has warned the governments of the region that the continuation of “inconsistent and arbitrary” air travel restrictions (to counter the Covid-19 pandemic) were endangering economic recovery and future growth. As a result, almost five-million jobs... 

UK provides funding for ‘self-eating’ space rocket concept

By: Rebecca Campbell     23rd October 2020 The UK’s Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), an agency of the country’s Ministry of Defence, has committed £90 000 (about R1.92-million) to support the development of a potentially revolutionary ‘autophage’ rocket engine. Autophage literally means self-eating, and the rocket is being... 

Nasa’s new crewed space programme becomes more international

By: Rebecca Campbell     23rd October 2020 The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) has signed agreements with seven international partners to support Nasa’s Artemis crewed space programme and to establish a set of practical principles for space exploration cooperation between the signatory countries, which will be... 

SA parliament concerned about governance and finance challenges at Denel  

By: African News Agency      22nd October 2020 South Africa’s parliament said on Thursday it was concerned about the governance and financial challenges at state arms manufacturer Denel. In a statement, the portfolio committee on public enterprises said it had heard from Denel officials during a briefing that the struggling firm suffered an... 

SA parliament concerned about governance and finance challenges at Denel

Solidarity union blasts government over Denel 

By: Rebecca Campbell     22nd October 2020 The Solidarity trade union has accused government Ministers of failing to support each other, as well as defence industrial group Denel, regarding the future of the financially-beleaguered State-owned entity. In a letter to the Denel board of directors and a number of Ministers, notably Finance... 

Denel warns of big funding gap for key capabilities 

By: Reuters     21st October 2020 South African state arms firm Denel said on Wednesday it faced a funding gap of around R2.75-billion over the next five years for key capabilities. Denel, which makes military equipment for South Africa's armed forces and export, is in the grips of a liquidity crisis aggravated by the coronavirus... 

Airbus launches new jet trainer concept in Spain

By: Rebecca Campbell     20th October 2020 Europe-based global major aerospace and defence group Airbus has divulged, to the Spanish media, its vision of a future training and light attack aircraft, aimed initially at the future requirements of the Spanish Air Force. However, the new type’s designation is in English; it is called the... 

Airbus launches new jet trainer concept in Spain
Photo by Airbus
Artist’s impression of the AFJT

Airbus sets up partnership with fuel cell company to apply the technology to aviation

By: Rebecca Campbell     16th October 2020 Europe-based global major aerospace group Airbus announced on Thursday that it had entered into a strategic partnership with German hydrogen fuel cell developer and manufacturer ElringKlinger. This was part of Airbus’ zero-carbon emission aviation initiative. ElringKlinger has been active in the... 

Airbus sets up partnership with fuel cell company to apply the technology to aviation

Major UK groups highlight advanced technologies they are developing for future fighter

By: Rebecca Campbell     16th October 2020 Major British aerospace, defence and industrial technology companies BAE Systems (BAES), Leonardo UK (part of Italian-based global aerospace and defence group Leonardo SpA), MBDA UK (part of the pan-European MBDA missile group) and Rolls-Royce have reported on some of the advanced technologies... 

Major UK groups highlight advanced technologies they are developing for future fighter
Photo by UK MoD
An artist’s impression of a future fighter derived from the tempest programme
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