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Defence & Aerospace

Parliamentary Committee calls for national debate on the future of the SANDF 

By: Rebecca Campbell     4th September 2020 Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Defence has called for continuing dialogue on the nature of the defence force that the country wanted and needed. This had to be decided in relation to the budget required to maintain the desired force. This statement was issued following a mini-symposium... 

Brazilian aerospace group announces job cuts, in part because of Covid-19

By: Rebecca Campbell     4th September 2020 Brazilian-based major aerospace group Embraer announced on Thursday that it was cutting its worldwide workforce by 4.5%, in part due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, but also because of the effects of US company Boeing cancelling its partnership with the Brazilian enterprise. In Brazil,... 

Brazilian aerospace group announces job cuts, in part because of Covid-19
Photo by RKC
An Embraer E190-E2 airliner, pictured in South Africa on a demonstration tour

US space agency announces validation of much less toxic spacecraft propellant

By: Rebecca Campbell     4th September 2020 The US National Aeronautics and Space Agency (Nasa) has reported that, following just under 13 months of operational testing and evaluation in orbit, it had validated a new type of propellant for spacecraft. This new propellant is much less toxic than the standard current propellant, hydrazine.... 

Digital and 3D printing technologies transform UK fighter aircraft development process

By: Rebecca Campbell     4th September 2020 UK-based global major aerospace and defence group BAE Systems (BAES) has reported how the latest technologies are being used to drive forward, with unprecedented speed, Britain’s next-generation combat air system programme. Known as Tempest, this project is really benefiting from and making full... 

Trade union not surprised at ratings downgrade of Denel

By: Rebecca Campbell     28th August 2020 Trade union Uasa has expressed the view that the recent downgrade of South African defence industrial group Denel by international ratings agency Fitch was “disappointing” but not surprising. State-owned entity (SOE) Denel is suffering from severe liquidity problems. “Fitch stated as a reason... 

Covid-19-battered Civil Aerospace drags down half-year results for whole of Rolls-Royce

By: Rebecca Campbell     27th August 2020 UK-based global major industrial technology group Rolls-Royce unveiled its results for the first half (H1) of 2020 on Thursday. It reported that the Covid-19 pandemic had had a significant impact on its performance so far this year. For example, underlying revenues came to £5.6-billion, a drop of... 

Digital and 3D printing technologies accelerate development of new UK fighter aircraft

By: Rebecca Campbell     25th August 2020 UK-based global major aerospace and defence group BAE Systems (BAES) has reported how the latest technologies are being used to drive forward, with unprecedented speed, Britain’s next-generation combat air system programme. Known as Tempest, this project is really benefitting from and making full... 

Digital and 3D printing technologies accelerate development of new UK fighter aircraft
Photo by BAE Systems
A 3D printed wind tunnel model of the Tempest

British Army to test hybrid electric drive on two of its light protected vehicle types

By: Rebecca Campbell     21st August 2020 The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a £3-million contract to develop, install and test a hybrid electric drive system on British Army Foxhound and Jackal 4x4 light protected vehicles. The contract has been placed with NP Aerospace, a company based in Coventry, England.  In this project,... 

British Army to test hybrid electric drive on two of its light protected vehicle types
Two Jackal vehicles of the British Army

Key details of Mars’ internal structure elucidated by researchers using seismic data

By: Rebecca Campbell     21st August 2020 Seismologists from Rice University, in Houston in the US state of Texas, have for the first time been able to directly measure the boundaries between the different levels that compose the planet Mars – the crust, the mantle and the core – plus a very important transition zone within the mantle.... 

World airlines expect next 12 months to be tough

By: Rebecca Campbell     21st August 2020 No fewer than 68% of the world’s airline CFOs and heads of cargo expect profits not to improve or even to decline further over the next 12 months. This is one of the results reported in the International Air Transport Association’s (Iata’s) recently published ‘Airline Business Confidence Index... 

Fuel cell technology now powering military field hospital in Pretoria 

By: Rebecca Campbell     19th August 2020 South African hydrogen energy company Bambili Energy will be able to start delivering production hydrogen fuel cells during next year, company CEO Zanele Mavuso Mbatha tells Engineering News. Seven prototype containerised hydrogen fuel cells produced by the company are now being used to power a... 

Denel made R1.7bn annual loss, ministry says 

By: Reuters     19th August 2020 South Africa's state defence firm Denel made a R1.7-billion loss in the 2019/20 financial year, the ministry that oversees the company said on Wednesday. Denel, which makes equipment from armoured vehicles to missiles for the South African armed forces and clients around the world, is suffering a... 

Denel made R1.7bn annual loss, ministry says

Former Denel CEO Sadik returns after eight years to be beleaguered group’s interim CEO

By: Rebecca Campbell     17th August 2020 Financially-embattled State-owned defence industrial group Denel announced on Monday that Talib Sadik had been appointed as its interim CEO. This is the second time that Sadik, a chartered accountant (SA), has headed the group. He was Denel CEO from 2008 to 2012. In its press release, the group... 

Former Denel CEO Sadik returns after eight years to be beleaguered group’s interim CEO
Photo by Creamer Media
Talib Sadik

Brazilian airframer highlights ways of carrying cargo in the passenger cabins of its airliners

By: Rebecca Campbell     14th August 2020 Brazilian aerospace group Embraer, the world’s top manufacturer of airliners with up to 150 seats, has announced that it has developed ways for airlines to carry cargo on the passenger decks of its aircraft. This is to help meet the great demand for more air cargo capacity, which has resulted... 

SpaceX’s first crewed mission ends successfully with safe return of astronauts

By: Rebecca Campbell     14th August 2020 The first-ever commercial crewed spacecraft mission ended successfully on August 2 when the Crew Dragon capsule plashed down in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of the US state of Florida. The spacecraft, designed, developed, owned and operated by private-sector company SpaceX, was carrying US... 

Boeing hit hard by both Covid-19 and continued 737 MAX grounding, first half results show

By: Rebecca Campbell     14th August 2020 Giant US aerospace group Boeing has reported that its revenues for the first half of this year (1H20) were 26% down on those for the same period last year (1H19). In numbers, 1H20 revenues came to $28.715-billion compared with $38.668-billion in 1H19. It suffered a net loss of $3.036-billion in... 

Airbus space-based radar undergoes key deployment test

By: Rebecca Campbell     12th August 2020 Airbus Space Systems, part of Airbus Defence and Space (itself part of the Europe-based global aerospace group Airbus), reported on Tuesday that the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) antenna that it had developed for the Sentinel-1C satellite had been successfully deployed for the first time in one... 

Airbus space-based radar undergoes key deployment test
Photo by Airbus
The deployed Airbus Space SAR antenna for Sentinel-1C in the Friedrichshafen test facility

Trade union to institute contempt of court proceedings against Denel

By: Rebecca Campbell     11th August 2020 The Uasa trade union announced on Tuesday that it was instituting legal proceedings against financially-beleaguered State-owned defence industrial group Denel for contempt of court. This followed Denel’s failure to implement an order of the Labour Court to pay Denel employees their salary... 

Rolls-Royce reports minor wear problem in a few of its older Trent XWB aeroengines

By: Rebecca Campbell     11th August 2020 UK-based global major industrial technology group Rolls-Royce announced on Tuesday that, during routine inspections, it had found “indications” of wear on a small number of Intermediate Pressure Compressor (IPC) blades in a few of its Trent XWB-84 turbofan engines. The engines concerned had all... 

Successful Anglo-Australian project could greatly extend life of SAAF Hawk jets

By: Rebecca Campbell     11th August 2020 In a major development that could be very beneficial for the South African Air Force (SAAF), UK-based global major aerospace and defence group BAE Systems (BAES) announced on Monday that, in a joint project with Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), it had massively... 

Successful Anglo-Australian project could greatly extend life of SAAF Hawk jets
Photo by Creamer Media
A Hawk Mk 120 of the SAAF taxiing during an air show at Air Force Base Waterkloof

Denel seeking extension to period in which it has to pay its staff their arrears

By: Rebecca Campbell     7th August 2020 In a press statement released on Friday, financially-embattled State-owned defence industrial group Denel reported that it was trying to get an extension to the court-ordered deadline for it to pay its workers their full salaries. In a judgment handed down on August 4, the Labour Court had... 

Iata reports that African airlines likely to lose $2-billion this year

By: Rebecca Campbell     7th August 2020 The global airline industry’s representative body, the International Air Transport Association (Iata), released, late last month, its latest analysis and forecast regarding the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Africa’s airline sector. The continent’s airlines are expected to suffer total losses... 

Covid-19 hits Embraer commercial jet deliveries hard in second quarter, group reports

By: Rebecca Campbell     6th August 2020 Embraer, the Brazil-based major aerospace group which is the world’s number one manufacturer of commercial jets with up to 150 seats, has confirmed that it is slowing down the development of its new generation E175-E2 airliner, because of the current poor condition of the global airliner market,... 

Covid-19 hits Embraer commercial jet deliveries hard in second quarter, group reports
Photo by Rebecca Campbell
An Embraer E190-E2 photographed at the Airlink facility at OR Tambo International Airport while on a demonstration tour

Parliamentary committee welcomes new Secretary for Defence

By: Rebecca Campbell     5th August 2020 Parliamentary Portfolio Committee of Defence and Military Veterans Chairperson Cyril Xaba has welcomes the appointment of Gladys Sonto Kudjoe as the new Secretary for Defence. She is the first woman to hold this post, which is the senior civilian public service position within the Department of... 

Denel 'studying' Labour Court judgment, assures it will meet its staff obligations

By: Rebecca Campbell     5th August 2020 Financially-beleaguered State-owned defence industrial group Denel has confirmed that it has received the judgment against it by the Labour Court, handed down on Tuesday. The case had been instituted by two of the unions representing workers at Denel. The court ordered the group to pay its... 

Trade union wins salary case against defence group Denel in court

By: Rebecca Campbell     4th August 2020 Financially-embattled State-owned defence industrial group Denel has been ordered to pay its workers their salaries, the UASA trade union reported on Tuesday. This was the outcome of a virtual hearing by the Labour Court. “Presiding Judge Andre van Niekerk in his findings noted that Denel had... 

Airbus offers market unequalled range of airliners

By: Rebecca Campbell     31st July 2020 Europe-based global aerospace group Airbus reports that its smallest airliner family, the A220, is proving a most useful asset, particularly at this time of the Covid-19 pandemic. Airbus acquired the A220 programme from Canadian group Bombardier, which had designated it the C-Series. “We have... 

SpaceX and Nasa inaugurate new era in crewed spaceflight

By: Rebecca Campbell     31st July 2020 On May 30 history was made when, for the first time ever, astronauts were carried into orbit in a spacecraft that had been designed and built, and was owned and operated, by a private-sector company, in fulfilment of a commercial transport contract. Technically, it was a demonstration flight to... 

SpaceX and Nasa inaugurate new era in crewed spaceflight

SANEDI, defence dept partner on delivery of energy efficient water treatment works in Hoedspruit

By: Schalk Burger     27th July 2020 The South African National Energy and Development Institute (SANEDI) and the Department of Defence (DoD) on July 27 announced a partnership to develop an energy efficient water treatment works at the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) Air Force Base, in Hoedspruit, in the Maruleng... 

Airbus acts to finally settle trade dispute with the US

By: Rebecca Campbell     24th July 2020 Europe-based global major aerospace group Airbus reported on Friday that it had taken the final step in ending a long-running trade dispute at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) between the European Union and the US. The dispute had been running for 16 years. The issue was repayable launch... 

More legal woes loom for Denel as another union takes it to court

By: Rebecca Campbell     24th July 2020 The trade union UASA announced on Friday that it was going to take financially-embattled State-owned defence industrial group Denel to the Labour Court over the non-payment of employee salaries. This followed “months” of talks with Denel “failing to find a solution to the issue” said the union in... 

Public Enterprises welcomes, justifies SAA rescue plan approval, appoints interim CEO

By: Rebecca Campbell     24th July 2020 The Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) welcomed the outcome of the creditors’ vote on the proposed business rescue plan for State-owned South African Airways (SAA). The financially beleaguered national flag carrier has been under business rescue. In the vote on July 14, 86% of the creditors... 

Mixed feelings on approval of SAA business rescue plan

By: Rebecca Campbell     24th July 2020 There has been mixed reaction from unions representing employees of South African Airways (SAA) to the approval of the business rescue plan for the financially embattled State-owned national flag carrier. The plan was approved by 86% of the airline’s creditors in a vote on July 14. The approval... 

Airbus confident that its unequalled range of airliners is ideal for the post-Covid-19 market

By: Rebecca Campbell     23rd July 2020 Europe-based global aerospace group Airbus reports that its smallest airliner family, the A220, is proving a most useful asset, particularly in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic. Airbus acquired the A220 programme from Canadian group Bombardier, which had designated it the C-Series. “We have... 

Airbus confident that its unequalled range of airliners is ideal for the post-Covid-19 market
Photo by Airbus
From front to rear: an Airbus A220-300, A319neo, A330neo, A350-1000, Beluga specialised freighter (used by Airbus itself) and an A380.

Brazilian aerospace group reports drop in aircraft deliveries during the second quarter

By: Rebecca Campbell     22nd July 2020 Brazilian aerospace group Embraer has reported that it delivered fewer aircraft during the second quarter of this year than during the equivalent periods in previous years. Deliveries during this year’s second quarter totalled 13 executive jets and four commercial airliners. The executive jets... 

Trade union to resume action against Denel in the Labour Court

By: Rebecca Campbell     22nd July 2020 The Solidarity trade union announced on Wednesday that it would restart its legal action against State-owned defence industrial group Denel regarding the payment of salaries to the group’s employees. The union had previously charged that some Denel workers had only received 20% of their pay in... 

UK launches major green aviation research and development programmes

By: Rebecca Campbell     21st July 2020 The British government and aerospace industry are to jointly invest £400-million in researching and developing technologies that will reduce the environmental impact of aviation. The initiative, announced on Monday on the first day of a virtual Farnborough International Airshow, will see the... 

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