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Defence & Aerospace

Iata supports AU on reopening continent’s civil aviation sector

By: Rebecca Campbell     16th April 2021 The representative body for the global airline industry, the International Air Transport Association (Iata), has affirmed its support for the African Union’s (AU’s) campaign to safely restart commercial aviation across the continent. The campaign is called ‘Saving Lives, Economies and... 

Global commercial aviation sector must strengthen its cybersecurity and cyber resilience

By: Rebecca Campbell     15th April 2021 In a report drawn up in cooperation with the global commercial aviation sector, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has highlighted the need for the aviation industry to unify its approach to cybersecurity. The report is entitled ‘Pathways to a Cyber Resilient Aviation Industry’ and it was published... 

Airbus signs military transport aircraft servicing deal with Egypt

By: Rebecca Campbell     15th April 2021 Airbus Defence and Space, part of the Airbus group, announced on Thursday that it had signed a five-year services contract with the Egyptian Air Force (EAF), to support the latter’s force of C295 twin turboprop transport aircraft. The EAF operates the largest fleet of C295s in the world, with 24... 

Airbus signs military transport aircraft servicing deal with Egypt
Photo by Airbus
An Airbus C295 of the Egyptian Air Force

Russians report success in first stage of pulse-detonation engine test project

By: Rebecca Campbell     12th April 2021 Russia’s State-owned Rostec group has announced that its subsidiary, United Engine Corporation (UEC), had completed the first round of tests on a pulse-detonation technology demonstrator engine. The engine is being developed by UEC’s Lyulka design bureau and the project was launched in 2016. “The... 

Russians report success in first stage of pulse-detonation engine test project
Photo by Rostec
The pulse-detonation technology demonstration engine

EWT, Eskom use drones to deploy bird flight diverters

By: Donna Slater     12th April 2021 A drone-operated system that can deploy bird flight diverters, or so-called “flappers”, has been designed and developed in a partnership between the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s (EWT’s) wildlife and energy programme and Eskom. The diverters serve as markers that will improve the visibility of... 

Embraer releases information that allows its business jets to carry vaccines

By: Rebecca Campbell     9th April 2021 Brazilian aerospace group Embraer, which includes executive or business jets in its product portfolio, has announced that it has released technical information that will help users of these jets to optimise them for the transport of anti-Covid-19 vaccines. Currently, more than 1 400 Embraer... 

Embraer’s commercial jet business takes Covid strain

By: Rebecca Campbell     9th April 2021 Brazilian aerospace group Embraer, one of the world’s leading companies in the sector, has released its results for last year. (Embraer’s financial year is identical to the calendar year.) The financial results were released on a consolidated basis and according to International Financial... 

Core stage of Nasa’s biggest-ever rocket has passed final major test

By: Rebecca Campbell     9th April 2021 The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) has successfully conducted a second ‘hot fire’ test of the core stage of its new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. The SLS core stage, the prime contractor for which is Boeing, is powered by four Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-25 rocket engines.... 

New patrol vessel for Navy launched in Cape Town

By: Rebecca Campbell     9th April 2021 Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT), a subsidiary of the Netherlands-based Damen International Shipyards Group, recently launched the first (of three) Multimission Inshore Patrol Vessels (MMIPVs) for the South African Navy (SAN). These new vessels will replace the SAN’s now elderly offshore patrol... 

Ultra-sensitive radio images reveal star-forming galaxies in early Universe

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     7th April 2021 An international team of astronomers has published the most sensitive images of the Universe ever taken at low radio frequencies. The images were taken using the International Low Frequency Array (Lofar). The software needed to do this, specifically that which handles the direction-dependent... 

UK recognises Africa’s dynamism, restates commitments to global issues

By: Rebecca Campbell     2nd April 2021 In its recently published 2021 integrated review, the UK reaffirmed its commitments to multilateralism, international cooperation, free and fair trade, development, countering the effects of climate change, global health, and development. Titled ‘Global Britain: The Integrated Review of Security,... 

UK defence group applying its flight control expertise to submarines

By: Rebecca Campbell     29th March 2021 UK-based global major defence industrial group BAE Systems has reported that it is adapting flight control systems for use in the UK’s next generation submarines, the Dreadnought-class. Submarines, like aircraft, manoeuvre through three dimensions and not, as surface ships do, only in two... 

UK defence group applying its flight control expertise to submarines
Photo by BAE Systems
An artist’s impression of a Dreadnought-class submarine

Airbus launches cryogenics and superconductivity research project for aircraft propulsion

By: Rebecca Campbell     29th March 2021 Europe-based global major aerospace group Airbus has announced the start of its Advanced Superconducting and Cryogenic Experimental powertraiN Demonstrator (Ascend) project. This would examine the potential application of cryogenics and superconductivity to future alternative aircraft power... 

SA Air Force fleet soon to be obsolete, border fences inadequate, parliamentary committees finds

By: News24Wire      29th March 2021 The SA Air Force's fleet will soon become obsolete, fences at some of the main border posts are wholly inadequate, and battlefield surveillance capabilities are minimal. There is also a lack of sufficient and adequate air support in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to respond to... 

Rolls-Royce has started assembly of the world’s biggest aircraft engine

By: Rebecca Campbell     29th March 2021 UK-based global industrial technology group Rolls-Royce reported on Monday that it had formally started making the biggest aeroengine in the world, the UltraFan. This is intended to be the basis for a new family of engines that would power both single-aisle and widebody airliners and would... 

Rolls-Royce has started assembly of the world’s biggest aircraft engine
Photo by Rolls-Royce
An artist’s impression of the UltraFan

New patrol vessel for the South African Navy is launched in Cape Town

By: Rebecca Campbell     26th March 2021 Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT), a subsidiary of the Netherlands-based Damen International Shipyards Group, announced on Thursday that it had launched the first (of three) Multimission Inshore Patrol Vessels (MMIPVs) for the South African Navy (SAN). These new vessels will replace the SAN’s now... 

New patrol vessel for the South African Navy is launched in Cape Town
Photo by DSCT
The MMIPV in the DSCT shipyard just before its move to the harbour

Construction starts on new Sansa space weather centre

By: Rebecca Campbell     26th March 2021 The ground has been officially broken to mark the formal start of the construction of the South African National Space Agency’s (Sansa’s) new R70.89-million Regional Space Weather Centre at Hermanus, in the Western Cape. The new centre falls under the Sansa Space Science programme, which is also... 

Denel appoints Thandeka Sabela as acting CFO

By: Reuters     24th March 2021 South African state-owned defence company Denel has appointed Thandeka Sabela as acting CFO, the firm said on Tuesday. The firm's former CFO, Carmen le Grange, resigned earlier in March, extending a series of exits including the board chair and chief executive, deepening a crisis at the... 

Embraer hit by about 50% cut in revenues of its commercial jet business

By: Rebecca Campbell     23rd March 2021 Brazilian aerospace group Embraer, one of the world’s leading companies in the sector, has released its results for last year. Embraer’s financial year is identical to the calendar year. The financial results were released on a consolidated basis and according to International Financial Reporting... 

Plan emerges for renewal of South Africa’s crucial space infrastructure

By: Rebecca Campbell     19th March 2021 Almost unnoticed by most people on Earth, space technology and infrastructure has become essential for, and ubiquitous in, everyday life. It has become a major facilitator for national economic development and, through satellite imagery, an essential source for a gigantic range of information... 

Plan emerges for renewal of South Africa’s crucial space infrastructure

Airbus, partners launch programme to determine climate impact of synthetic fuel

By: Rebecca Campbell     18th March 2021 On Tuesday an Airbus A350XWB airliner, powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, took off from Blagnac Airport in Toulouse, in France. What was special about this flight was that the aircraft was using only sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). The airliner, registration F-WXWB, is one of Airbus’... 

Airbus, partners launch programme to determine climate impact of synthetic fuel
Photo by Airbus
A350XWB flightlab takes off using 100% SAF for the first time

We will get State-owned entities back into shape eventually, insists DPE 

By: News24Wire      17th March 2021 Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises Phumulo Masualle told Parliament on Tuesday afternoon that despite ongoing troubles at state-owned entities (SOEs) and delays in already announced plans to get them back in shape, the department still had a plan to improve the fortunes of beleaguered... 

Major UK, Italian and Norwegian companies combine to develop all-electric small airliner

By: Rebecca Campbell     12th March 2021 UK-based leading industrial technology group Rolls-Royce, Italian aerospace company Tecnam, and Norwegian (and largest Scandinavian) regional airline Widerøe, have announced that they are to work together to produce and bring into service an entirely electrically-powered commuter airliner. The... 

Major UK, Italian and Norwegian companies combine to develop all-electric small airliner
Photo by Rolls-Royce
An artist’s impression of the P-Volt aircraft in Widerøe livery

Australia’s leading-edge UAV programme makes significant advances

By: Rebecca Campbell     12th March 2021 The beginning of this month saw major developments in Boeing Australia and the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF’s) advanced technology Loyal Wingman uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) programme. On the first day of the month, it was announced that the first Loyal Wingman had successfully conducted... 

Denel braces for more losses, denies 'trading recklessly'

By: Reuters     10th March 2021 South Africa's State weapons manufacturer Denel expects to make further losses in its current financial year, it said in a presentation on Wednesday as its acting chair denied the company was trading "recklessly" at a hearing by lawmakers. Denel makes military equipment for South Africa's armed... 

Rolls-Royce to provide power units for electrical urban passenger air vehicle

By: Rebecca Campbell     10th March 2021 UK-based global major industrial technology group Rolls-Royce is to cooperate with UK urban air mobility (UAM) aircraft company Vertical Aerospace to power the latter’s new electrically-powered piloted vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) machine. This UAM vehicle is designated the VA-X4 and will... 

Rolls-Royce to provide power units for electrical urban passenger air vehicle
Photo by Rolls-Royce
Artist’s impression of the VA-X4 in vertical flight configuration

SA rocket launches almost 18 km into the air – setting a new African record

By: News24Wire      10th March 2021 A hybrid sounding rocket developed by the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has set a new altitude record by reaching 17.9 km into the earth’s atmosphere at twice the speed of sound. The launch, conducted on Monday 8 March, proved to be third time lucky for the team of students after earlier... 

Denel allowed another extension to try and comply with Court order 

By: Rebecca Campbell     9th March 2021 Financially-beleaguered State-owned defence industrial group Denel has been granted yet another time extension to try and achieve compliance with the Labour Court order of August 4 last year, the Uasa trade union has reported. The Labour Court had then ruled, in a case brought by the union, that... 

Nasa rover Perseverance successfully lands on Mars

By: Rebecca Campbell     5th March 2021 Late in the night of February 18, South African time, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (Nasa’s) latest Mars rover, Perseverance, successfully landed on the Red Planet. It touched down, as planned, in the 45 km-wide Jezero Crater, which lies on the western edge of a giant... 

Solidarity obtains warrant to seize nearly R13m of assets from Denel

By: Marleny Arnoldi     4th March 2021 Trade union Solidarity has obtained a warrant of execution to seize R12.7-million worth of assets from State-owned defence group Denel. The union explained in a statement on March 4 that this followed after the entity failed to meet various contractual and statutory obligations towards its... 

Denel board exits linked to lack of budget funds, official says

By: Reuters     3rd March 2021 A series of recent resignations from the board of directors of South Africa's state-owned defence company Denel is linked to funding not being made available in the government's 2021 budget, a senior official told Reuters on Wednesday. "There were expectations from the board that there will be... 

Australia marks success of new UAV first flight with order for more of them

By: Rebecca Campbell     3rd March 2021 Within a couple of days of the successful maiden flight of the first Loyal Wingman advanced uncrewed air vehicle (UAV) for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), the Australian Department of Defence has signed a $115-million contract with Boeing Australia for three more of the aircraft. This... 

Australia marks success of new UAV first flight with order for more of them
Photo by Australia Department of Defence
The first Loyal Wingman UAV on its maiden flight

Boeing Australia’s leading-edge UAV makes first flight

By: Rebecca Campbell     2nd March 2021 Boeing Australia announced on Monday that it and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) had successfully conducted the first flight of the Loyal Wingman uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV). The flight was conducted at Australia’s Woomera Range Complex in the state of South Australia. The flight was... 

Boeing Australia’s leading-edge UAV makes first flight
Photo by Boeing
Screenshot from a video showing the Loyal Wingman’s first flight

South African company to investigate after Amnesty says it shot at civilians in Mozambique

By: Reuters     2nd March 2021 South African private military firm will hire outside lawyers to look into its activities in Mozambique, it said, after Amnesty International accused it of firing indiscriminately on civilians while helping the government fight an insurgency. In a report issued on Tuesday, Amnesty accused both... 

Denel finance chief quits

By: News24Wire      2nd March 2021 South African State-owned defence company Denel said on Monday that CFO Carmen le Grange had resigned, extending a recent string of resignations that have deepened a crisis at the struggling firm. Last week, Fin24 reported that the company's chief operating officer William Hlakoane was appointed... 

Rolls-Royce marine AI technology project receives UK funding

By: Rebecca Campbell     26th February 2021 The British Ministry of Defence (MOD) has granted funding to UK-based global major industrial technology group Rolls-Royce to further develop the company’s Artificial Chief Engineer technology. This is an autonomous ship machinery control system, intended to permit naval vessels to carry out... 

Denel says two more board members resign

By: Reuters     26th February 2021 State-owned defence company Denel said on Thursday that two board members, including chairwoman Monhla Hlahla, had resigned, days after it said several other board members had resigned. "The recruitment process of the chairperson is underway and the appointment will be communicated to all... 

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