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Defence & Aerospace

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... 

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... 

The first Loyal Wingman UAV on its maiden flight
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... 

Screenshot from a video showing the Loyal Wingman’s 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... 

Two countries place probes in Martian orbit for the first time

By: Rebecca Campbell     26th February 2021 In one week, two countries were able to celebrate the safe insertion into Martian orbit of their space probes. And neither country had ever before launched an interplanetary mission. They are the United Arab Emirates (UAE), whose Hope (in Arabic, Amal) spacecraft entered Martian orbit on February... 

Bombardier to make more savings, end production of the Learjet

By: Rebecca Campbell     26th February 2021 Canadian aerospace company Bombardier announced, during the release of its annual results for 2020 earlier this month, its latest steps to return to profitability. The company is now focused entirely on the manufacture and support of business jets, having disposed of its commercial aviation and... 

Giant defence group BAE Systems reports good results for 2020

By: Rebecca Campbell     25th February 2021 UK-based global major aerospace and defence group BAE Systems (BAES) has reported strong full-year results for 2020. The group is active in the aerospace, maritime (including shipbuilding), armoured vehicle, cyber and intelligence, and electronic systems domains of defence. Only a very small part... 

A mock-up of the Tempest next-generation combat aircraft
Photo by BAE Systems
A mock-up of the Tempest next-generation combat aircraft

Boeing announces start of production of new advanced trainer for US Air Force

By: Rebecca Campbell     24th February 2021 US major aerospace and defence group Boeing announced on Wednesday that it had started production of the eT-7A advanced jet trainer for the US Air Force (USAF). The eT-7A had been jointly developed by Boeing and Swedish aerospace and defence group Saab. The Swedish company was manufacturing the... 

One of the prototype eT-7A trainers
Photo by Boeing
One of the prototype eT-7A trainers

Denel announces exit of several board members and of the interim Group CEO  

By: Rebecca Campbell     22nd February 2021 On Monday, embattled State-owned defence industrial group Denel reported, via the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s SENS news service, that it had suffered a string of resignations from its board of directors. Kabelo Lehloenya had resigned effective January 14, General (retired) Siphiwe Nyanda had... 

Denel is in a deep crisis, parliamentary committee told 

By: Rebecca Campbell     19th February 2021 Parliament’s Select Committee on Public Enterprises and Communication has been briefed by Public Enterprises Deputy Minister Phumulo Masualle and Denel acting CEO Talib Sadik about the State-owned defence industrial group’s financial and legal problems. They told the parliamentarians that Denel... 

Facility accreditation in process

By: Cameron Mackay     19th February 2021 Armour protection developer and manufacturer Bullet Proofing Technology is in the process of becoming the first ballistic testing laboratory in South Africa to be accredited by local body the South African National Accreditation System for ballistic testing. “There is a lack of independent and... 

BITING THE BULLET
Specifications for body armour should consider the threats mostly encountered in South Africa. This will ensure the correct type of ballistic body armour is used
BITING THE BULLET Specifications for body armour should consider the threats mostly encountered in South Africa. This will ensure the correct type of ballistic body armour is used

Airbus reports that last year was a tough year for its commercial jet business

By: Rebecca Campbell     18th February 2021 Europe-based global major aerospace group Airbus last year delivered nearly 300 fewer commercial aircraft than the year before, it reported in its 2020 full-year results report, released on Thursday. During 2020 the group delivered a total of 566 commercial airliners, as against 863 in 2019. Last... 

Rolls-Royce signs engine support agreement with Uganda Airlines

By: Rebecca Campbell     18th February 2021 UK-based global major industrial technology group Rolls-Royce and Uganda Airlines have signed a TotalCare service agreement for the Trent 7000 engines that power the Ugandan flag carrier’s new Airbus A330neo widebody airliners. (The suffix -neo stands for new engine option.) Uganda Airlines has... 

A Trent 7000 engine, with nacelle removed, on the wing of an A330neo
Photo by Airbus
A Trent 7000 engine, with nacelle removed, on the wing of an A330neo

Union blasts Denel directors after worker suicides: still no game plan for recovery 

By: Rebecca Campbell     18th February 2021 Trade union Uasa has reacted strongly to two reported suicides by Denel workers earlier this week. The union described the news as “distressing and heart-wrenching”. It accused the State-owned defence industrial group of “simply looking on” while its unpaid or underpaid employees struggled to pay... 

Brazilian group reports fewer aircraft deliveries in 2020, year-on-year

By: Rebecca Campbell     17th February 2021 Brazilian aerospace group Embraer has reported that it delivered nearly 35% fewer civilian jets last year than the year before. During 2020, the company delivered 130 such jets, as against the 198 delivered during 2019. During the last quarter of last year, it delivered 71 jets, which was ten... 

A modernised Embraer E-99M airborne early warning and control aircraft
Photo by Embraer
A modernised Embraer E-99M airborne early warning and control aircraft

Paramount Maritime puts to sea new Sentinel vessel to deter oil pirates in West Africa

By: Donna Slater     12th February 2021 Industrial maritime company Paramount Maritime's subsidiary Nautic Africa has launched its new flagship 35 m Sentinel vessel, the second of the new enhanced class, and ultimately destined for a customer in the Gulf of Guinea where it will be used for international oil company related... 

A 35 m Sentinel vessel seen off the coast of Cape Town
A 35 m Sentinel vessel seen off the coast of Cape Town

Business jet maker Bombardier to make more savings and end production of the Learjet

By: Rebecca Campbell     12th February 2021 Canadian aerospace company Bombardier announced, during the release of its annual results for 2020 on Thursday, its latest steps to return to profitability. The company is now focused entirely on the manufacture and support of business jets, having disposed of its commercial aviation and... 

A Bombardier Global 7500 business jet
Photo by Bombardier
A Bombardier Global 7500 business jet

Astronomical observations boost UJ scientist’s theory

By: Rebecca Campbell     12th February 2021 A model to predict gamma ray burst (GRB) behaviour, developed by a team headed by University of Johannesburg (UJ) Centre for Astro-Particle Physics director Professor Soebur Razzaque, has been strongly supported by observational data. The data came from observations of a GRB detected on April 15... 

Denel finally publishes 2019/20 annual report

By: Rebecca Campbell     12th February 2021 South African State-owned defence industrial group Denel released its 2019/20 annual report on February 1. The period covered by the report did not include the very difficult months for the group that followed the commencement of the 2020/21 financial year at the start of last April. From last... 

Defence industrial group increasing focus on exports

By: Rebecca Campbell     12th February 2021 During the 2019/2020 financial year, exports accounted for 42% of State-owned defence industrial group Denel’s business, with Asia being the single biggest export market, taking 24%. Perhaps surprisingly, Europe and North America came in joint second place, with 5% each. Africa and the Middle... 

Work has started on the assembly of the flight-test example of Airbus’ latest airliner type

By: Rebecca Campbell     5th February 2021 Europe-based global major aerospace group Airbus has announced that manufacture of components and systems for the first A321XLR airliner has begun. In parallel, preparations were being made to industrialise the production of the components of the latest version of the group’s highly successful... 

Computer image of the Airbus A321XLR
Photo by Airbus
Computer image of the Airbus A321XLR

Scientists probing the depths of Titan’s largest sea

By: Rebecca Campbell     5th February 2021 Astronomers at Cornell University, in Ithaca, in the US state of New York, have used radar data to determine that the biggest sea on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, is, near its centre, at least 300 m deep. The sea is named Kraken Mare, and it is estimated to have a surface area of some 400... 

UK awards contract for advanced uncrewed fighter aircraft prototype

By: Rebecca Campbell     5th February 2021 The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has placed a £30-million contract with a consortium of  aerospace companies, led by Spirit AeroSystems Belfast (a British subsidiary of major US aerospace group Spirit AeroSystems), for the development of an advanced technology high-speed uncrewed fighter aircraft... 

Tribunal fines fire control companies for cartel conduct

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     3rd February 2021 The Competition Tribunal has found two fire control firms guilty of fixing prices, dividing markets and tendering collusively in the market for supplying, installing and maintaining fire control and protection systems. Cross Fire Management has been ordered to pay an administrative penalty, or... 

Rolls-Royce again demonstrates that its engines can run on 100% sustainable fuel

By: Rebecca Campbell     2nd February 2021 UK-based global major industrial technology group Rolls-Royce has carried out the first trials using 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in an engine developed for business jets. The tests were carried out at the group’s facility at Dahlewitz, in Germany, and came just weeks after it had... 

Hensoldt SA announces launch of new radar business and development of new radar

By: Rebecca Campbell     2nd February 2021 Hensoldt South Africa (Hensoldt SA), the local subsidiary of the Germany-based Hensoldt group, has launched a new radar business. This step followed the company’s acquisition of the defence and security and air traffic management (ATM) business units of another South African company, Tellumat, at... 

Computer image of Hensoldt South Africa’s new radar, mounted on a truck
Photo by Hensoldt South Africa
Computer image of Hensoldt South Africa’s new radar, mounted on a truck

Lack of liquidity, exacerbated by Covid-19, caused Denel’s failure to properly pay workers

By: Rebecca Campbell     1st February 2021 In his statement within the State-owned defence industrial group Denel’s 2019/2020 annual report, interim CEO Talib Sadik addressed the failure of the company to fully pay the salaries of its employees last year, even though this fell within the 2020/2021 financial year. He blamed the group’s... 

Denel increasing its focus on exports 

By: Rebecca Campbell     1st February 2021 During the 2019/2020 financial year, exports accounted for 42% of Denel’s business, with Asia being the single biggest export market, taking 24% of the South African State-owned defence industrial group’s business. Perhaps surprisingly, Europe and North America came in joint second place, with 5%... 

Denel finally publishes its annual report for 2019/20; reports R1.96bn loss 

By: Rebecca Campbell     1st February 2021 South African State-owned defence industrial group Denel released its 2019/20 annual report on Monday. The period covered by the report does not include the very difficult months for the group that followed the commencement of the 2020/21 financial year at the start of last April. From last May,... 

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