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Defence & Aerospace

Inquiry into 2018 Rheinmetall Denel fatal incident to resume on October 19

By: Schalk Burger     18th October 2021 The Department of Employment and Labour's (DEL's) inquiry into the events that led to a fatal incident at Rheinmetall Denel Munition's facility in Macasser, in the Western Cape, in 2018, is set to resume from October 19 to 22. This is the second sitting since the 2018 explosion at the munitions... 

Airbus solar-powered UAV sets new altitude record during multiday test flights

By: Rebecca Campbell     12th October 2021 Europe-based global major aerospace group Airbus announced on Monday that the 2021 flight test ‘campaign’ of its Zephyr very high altitude uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) had been successfully completed. The campaign was conducted in the southwest US, on behalf of the Defence Equipment & Support... 

A photo of an Airbus Zephyr S at low altitude
Photo by Airbus
An Airbus Zephyr S at low altitude

Trade union demands answers from Public Enterprises Minister regarding Denel 

By: Rebecca Campbell     4th October 2021 Trade union UASA has demanded that Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan clarify issues regarding the nonpayment of employees at the State-owned Denel defence industrial group. It has done so by means of a letter to the Minister. Many Denel staff have not received their full pay and benefits... 

Denel formally launches noncore asset disposal process

By: Rebecca Campbell     4th October 2021 Financially-embattled State-owned defence industrial group Denel has finally initiated its long-trailed plan to dispose of what it considers to be ‘non-core’ assets. It has published a newspaper notice calling for expressions of interest from companies interested in buying Denel Gear Ratio, a... 

Cybersecurity becoming part of industrial practices as digital applications and risks multiply

By: Schalk Burger     24th September 2021 As industrial facilities and systems become increasingly connected to capitalise on digital capabilities, countering cybersecurity risks is becoming part of industrial best practices and digital technologies are being subjected to the same rigorous safety and security standards as other... 

Cover image

Boeing wins major US Air Force missile maintenance contract

By: Rebecca Campbell     20th September 2021 Giant US aerospace and defence group Boeing announced on Monday that it had been awarded a $1.6-billion sole-source service contract by the US Air Force (USAF). Under the contract, the corporation will service and maintain the guidance systems of the USAF’s land-based Minuteman III... 

Airbus included in German stock exchange’s new leading index

By: Rebecca Campbell     20th September 2021 Europe-based global giant aerospace group Airbus announced on Monday that it had been included on the Deutsche Börse’s (German stock exchange’s) new DAX40 index, effective immediately. Early this month, the Börse expanded its previous DAX30 index to the new list of 40 enterprises. Airbus is... 

Boeing forecasts trillions in defence, space, security and services markets over next decade

By: Rebecca Campbell     17th September 2021 US major aerospace and defence group Boeing has forecast that the global defence and space market will be worth $2.6-trillion over the next ten years. This prediction is pretty much the same as that made by the group in its market outlook report last year. Of this figure, 60% will be accounted... 

State-owned defence group to pay trade union millions in salary arrears 

By: Rebecca Campbell     17th September 2021 Trade union Solidarity announced on Friday that financially-embattled State-owned defence industrial group Denel had just paid it R4-million. The money is to cover the salary arrears of union members employed by Denel Dynamics and Denel Land Systems. “The payment of the salary money to Solidarity... 

UK electric aircraft speed record attempt aircraft has flown for the first time

By: Rebecca Campbell     16th September 2021 UK-based global major industrial technology group Rolls-Royce has announced that its all-electric aircraft, ‘Spirit of Innovation’, made its maiden flight on Wednesday, at 14h56 British Summer Time. The aircraft has been specifically developed by a Rolls-Royce-led consortium, under the... 

A photo of the ‘Spirit of Innovation’ taking off on its first flight
Photo by Rolls-Royce
The ‘Spirit of Innovation’ takes off on its first flight

US to hold $130m of Egypt's military aid over human rights - State Dept

By: Reuters     15th September 2021 The Biden administration will withhold $130-million worth of military aid to Egypt until Cairo takes specific steps related to human rights, a State Department spokesperson said on Tuesday. Secretary of State Antony Blinken's move is a break with his predecessors' policy of overriding a... 

Initiative helps companies diversify, mitigate supply shortages

By: Cameron Mackay     10th September 2021 The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in shortages of chips and electronic components in the local aerospace industry, which has also impacted on production and projects locally. Aerospace Industry Support Initiative (AISI) technical lead Livison Mashoko states that AISI is working closely with... 

Image of a Jonker sailplane
INDUSTRY IMPACT Several AISI projects as well as AISI beneficiaries have experienced disruption in the last 18 months owing to Covid-19 interruptions to their supply chains

A&D sectors decline needs to be halted

By: Cameron Mackay     10th September 2021 The decline of industrial sectors, such as aerospace and defence (A&D), needs to be addressed urgently, states Commercial Aerospace Manufacturing Association of South Africa (Camasa) chairperson Themba September. “The A&D sectors’ technology development benefits the manufacturing sector through... 

Image of a welder working in an aerospace manufacturing facility
COMPETING IN GLOBAL MARKETS Camasa is actively pursuing the effective integration of local major manufacturers into global supply chains, particularly in niche areas

AfCFTA support vital for growth

By: Cameron Mackay     10th September 2021 The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), implemented at the beginning of this year, can potentially boost African aerospace manufacturing by improving export sophistication across Africa, states Commercial Aerospace Manufacturing Association of South Africa chairperson Themba September.... 

Image of CAMASA chairman Themba September
THEMBA SEPTEMBER For aerospace manufacturing, the prospect of improvements in export sophistication across Africa can lead to an enhanced prominence of aerospace manufactured products

Armscor gets unqualified audit from Auditor-General

By: Rebecca Campbell     9th September 2021 The Armaments Corporation of South Africa, much better known as Armscor, reported on Thursday that it had been awarded an unqualified audit by the Auditor-General of South Africa. Armscor is the acquisition agency for the country’s Department of Defence. The audit was for the year ending March... 

UK group wins leading-edge aerospace technology development contract from US

By: Rebecca Campbell     8th September 2021 UK-based global major aerospace and defence group BAE Systems has been awarded a contract by the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) to further develop and demonstrate aircraft active flow control technologies. The contract covers the design of a full-scale demonstrator concept... 

West Africa bloc to hold extraordinary summit on Guinea - staff memo

By: Reuters     7th September 2021 The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) will hold an extraordinary summit on Guinea on Thursday, according to a staff memo shared with Reuters. Special forces soldiers ousted long-serving President Alpha Conde and dissolved his cabinet on Sunday, prompting Ecowas to demand a return... 

DCD, Sherp hopes to welcome more Sherp vehicles to Africa for use in remote conditions

By: Simone Liedtke     6th September 2021 Particularly well-suited to adverse weather and remote ground conditions, the Sherp heavy-duty vehicle provides an efficient mode of transport when access to remote areas are required, either for exploration or for humanitarian or search and rescue needs. Manufacturer DCD Protected Mobility,... 

An image of the Sherp vehicle
Photo by Creamer Media's Simone Liedtke
The Sherp vehicle

Parliamentary committee concerned about ongoing expenditure for 1 Military Hospital project

By: Schalk Burger     3rd September 2021 The Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Defence on September 3 said it was concerned about the unending repair and maintenance programme (Ramp) of the first floor of 1 Military Hospital, in Tshwane. The committee’s concerns are based on the cost implications involved, with more than... 

Rolls-Royce reports its new power gearbox has set world aerospace power record

By: Rebecca Campbell     1st September 2021 UK-based industrial technology group Rolls-Royce announced on Wednesday that the prototype power gearbox (PGB) for its new-generation UltraFan jet engine had set a new world aerospace power record. The record was set in the group’s dedicated PGB test facility, in Dahlewitz, near Berlin, in... 

South African company highlights need to maintain cybersecurity, analyse open-source data

By: Rebecca Campbell     31st August 2021 Local defence and security electronics company Hensoldt South Africa (Hensoldt SA) has highlighted the latest technologies available in these sectors. It did so at the recent 2021 Sovereign Security Conference, held in Pretoria, and which the company helped sponsor. The huge shift from working in... 

Repurposed Denel aims to mitigate drawbacks of turnaround plan

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     24th August 2021 Despite State-owned aerospace and military technology company Denel’s Turn Around Plan (TAP) having been approved in February 2019, the company said in a presentation to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Account (Scopa) on August 24 that it continues to experience severe liquidity... 

An image showing a sign at Denel's Lyttelton Campus
Photo by Reuters
Denel campus

Development, governance key to resolving Mozambique insurgency

By: Schalk Burger     20th August 2021 The insurgency in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado is rooted in poverty, unemployment, underdevelopment, poor government and governance, and porous borders contributing to human trafficking, drug smuggling and poaching. While a regional multinational force has been deployed, the... 

Regional insurgency, internal unrest highlights importance of a strong, well-resourced defence industry

By: Schalk Burger     19th August 2021 The role the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has played and plays in ensuring the internal and external security of South Africa has again highlighted the importance and necessity of having a strong Department of Defence (DoD) and a strong defence industry, South African Aerospace,... 

Space weather project reaches another milestone

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     11th August 2021 Industry organisation the South African National Space Agency (Sansa) says it has reached an important milestone with its space weather project, after Cabinet approved and welcomed the designation of South Africa as a Regional Space Weather Centre for the International Civil Aviation Organization... 

Denel releases radical restructuring plan to make the business sustainable  

By: Rebecca Campbell     11th August 2021 Financially-beleaguered State-owned defence industrial group Denel announced on Wednesday a radical reorganisation, in an attempt to turn the business around. The plan also implied a significant downsizing of the group. Even so, Denel management only expected the group to return to profitability... 

An image of Denel's logo

UK moves to demonstrate satellite laser communications

By: Rebecca Campbell     10th August 2021 The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) announced on Monday that the country’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) had awarded a £9.5-million contract to British company In-Space Missions to build the ‘Titania’ future defence communications technology research satellite. This will use... 

US helicopter company has released advanced vertical take-off aircraft design concepts

By: Rebecca Campbell     5th August 2021 Renowned US helicopter manufacturer Bell Textron this week unveiled design concepts for future high-speed vertical take-off and landing (HSVTOL) aircraft. These design concepts make use of technologies being developed by the company, which is part of the Textron group. HSVTOL technology would... 

An image of three HSVTOL design concepts
Photo by Bell Textron
Three HSVTOL design concepts

Piracy surge in atlantic a boon for South African boat builder

By: Bloomberg     4th August 2021 A proliferation of pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea, an expanse of the Atlantic Ocean stretching from Senegal to Angola, is driving a security-boat building boom in South Africa. Paramount Maritime Holdings, a unit of Africa’s biggest privately owned arms-maker, Paramount Group, says it has... 

Boeing’s Starliner space capsule programme suffers another delay

By: Rebecca Campbell     4th August 2021 Giant US aerospace and defence group Boeing has suffered another delay with its element of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (Nasa’s) Commercial Crew Programme (CCP). Nasa announced that the launch attempt planned for Wednesday had been scrubbed and that the spacecraft would... 

An image of the Starliner capsule being integrated with the Atlas V rocket
Photo by Nasa
The Starliner capsule being integrated with the Atlas V rocket in the VIF

Rolls-Royce to construct new aeroengine test facility in the US

By: Rebecca Campbell     3rd August 2021 UK-based global major industrial technology group Rolls-Royce announced on Monday that it had started a large expansion of its test facility at Purdue University in West Lafayette in the US state of Indiana. The company and university have undertaken joint aerospace research for several decades... 

UK awards contract for next phase of development of its Tempest future fighter programme

By: Rebecca Campbell     29th July 2021 UK-based global major aerospace and defence group BAE Systems (BAES) announced on Thursday that it had been awarded a £250-million contract by the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) to further advance the design and development of the country’s Tempest Future Combat Air System (FCAS). The signing of... 

Africa a target market for Russia’s new fighter

By: Rebecca Campbell     29th July 2021 African states are among those targeted as possible export markets for Russia’s latest fighter design, currently known only as the Checkmate. This was officially unveiled at the MAKS 2021 aerospace and defence show at Zhukovsky, in the Moscow region, on July 21. Africa was identified as a target... 

An image of a Sukhoi Checkmate displayed at MAKS 2021
Photo by Rostec
The Sukhoi Checkmate displayed at MAKS 2021

UK-based company’s US facilities have developed a new generation missile seeker

By: Rebecca Campbell     27th July 2021 UK-based global major aerospace and defence group BAE Systems announced on Monday that it had received a $117-million contract from one of its US counterparts, Lockheed Martin, for next-generation missile seekers. These will be fitted to Lockheed Martin Long-Range Anti-Ship Missiles (LRASMs)... 

Rolls-Royce marks major step forward in hybrid-electric aircraft propulsion project

By: Rebecca Campbell     26th July 2021 UK-based industrial technology group Rolls-Royce announced late last week that the generator and associated power electronics for the aerospace world’s most powerful hybrid-electric aircraft power and propulsion system had been delivered to its recently renovated Testbed 108 in Bristol in the UK.... 

Trade union disappointed that Labour Court case against Denel postponed again

By: Rebecca Campbell     26th July 2021 The Labour Court on Friday again postponed the case brought by trade union UASA against financially-embattled State-owned defence industrial group Denel. The case will now only be heard on December 2. The reason given for the postponement was to give Denel more time to fully comply with a court... 

Greece’s Air Force receives its first example of latest French fighter

By: Rebecca Campbell     23rd July 2021 French aerospace and defence group Dassault Aviation on Wednesday delivered its first Rafale multirole fighter to the Hellenic (Greek) Air Force (HAF). The HAF has ordered a total of 18 Rafales, composed of 12 second hand ex-French Air and Space Force aircraft and six new-build examples. The... 

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