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Defence & Aerospace

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... 

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... 

A Swedish Air Force NH90 helicopter dispenses infrared countermeasure flares from a Saab Grintek Defence Integrated Defence Aids Suite
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... 

Artist’s impression of the AFJT
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... 

An artist’s impression of a future fighter derived from the tempest programme
Photo by UK MoD
An artist’s impression of a future fighter derived from the tempest programme

Paramount to expand air adversary offering in the US

By: Donna Slater     14th October 2020 Aerospace systems company Paramount Aerospace Systems USA (PAS USA) reports that it will “significantly expand” its maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services and training support for the Mirage F1 fighter jet fleet operated by US military contractors that provide adversary training for the... 

Some of the Mirage F1's employed in the US in air adversary roles for war game's training
Some of the Mirage F1's employed in the US in air adversary roles for war game's training

Boeing’s latest communications satellite passes key design review

By: Rebecca Campbell     9th October 2020 US aerospace and defence giant Boeing has reported that its latest defence communications satellite design, WGS-11+, has passed its first key engineering design review. (WGS stands for Wideband Global Satcom.) This design review was conducted by Boeing and its customer, the US Space Force (USSF).... 

Denel seeks R3.8bn in State support

By: Reuters     9th October 2020 State-owned defence company Denel has asked for R3.8-billion in State financial support over the next three fiscal years, the National Treasury told Reuters on Friday. Denel, which makes military equipment for South Africa's armed forces and export, has struggled to pay salaries this year amid a... 

US revelation about first new-generation combat aircraft surprises aerospace world

By: Rebecca Campbell     9th October 2020 The US Air Force (USAF) has stunned the aerospace world by secretly building and flying the first-ever sixth-generation jet fighter prototype. The news was revealed by Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Dr Will Roper to highly-respected “Defense News”... 

Airbus unveils hydrogen-powered airliner concept designs

By: Rebecca Campbell     9th October 2020 Europe-based global major aerospace group Airbus has released three concept designs for hydrogen-powered zero-carbon-emissions commercial aircraft. It was examining these designs in a programme it called ZEROe, which was the precursor to the group’s recently announced plan to develop and... 

Iata calls for preflight Covid-19 testing of air passengers

By: Rebecca Campbell     9th October 2020 The International Air Transport Association (Iata), which is the global representative body of the airline industry, is calling for the testing of all air passengers for Covid-19 before they embark on their flights. It is urging “the development and deployment of rapid, accurate, affordable,... 

Number of A400M operators increases to seven with latest Airbus delivery

By: Rebecca Campbell     8th October 2020 Airbus Defence and Space, part of the global major aerospace group Airbus, announced on Wednesday that it had delivered the one and only A400M military airlift aircraft ordered by the tiny European country of Luxembourg. The aircraft was handed over to the Luxembourg Armed Forces at Seville in... 

Luxembourg’s A400M, photographed on its maiden flight
Photo by Airbus
Luxembourg’s A400M, photographed on its maiden flight

Non-proliferation council’s online registration and permit system now live

By: Rebecca Campbell     8th October 2020 The South African Council for the Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction announced on Thursday that its new Online Registration and Permit System is now live. The council is a statutory body, which falls under the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition.  From now on, applications... 

Boeing signs deal with Queensland, Australia, over production of UAVs.

By: Rebecca Campbell     5th October 2020 The government of the Australian state of Queensland and the giant US aerospace and defence group Boeing have signed a deal that will make the state the home for the production of the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF’s) future unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), currently known as Loyal Wingman. The... 

The prototype Loyal Wingman UAV 
Photo by Boeing
The prototype Loyal Wingman UAV 

Airbus, partners sign agreements to develop aircraft fuel-saving concept

By: Rebecca Campbell     2nd October 2020 Europe-based global major aerospace group Airbus has signed agreements with two airlines and three air navigation service providers (ANSPs) to determine the operational feasibility of the manufacturer’s ‘fello’fly’ aviation emissions reduction demonstration project. The airlines are French low... 

Business rescue plan for Comair approved

By: Rebecca Campbell     2nd October 2020 The proposed business rescue plan for private-sector airline group Comair was approved by a decisive majority of creditors and shareholders in a vote late last month. Comair operates the British Airways in South Africa and Kulula low-cost carrier brands. The preferred investment consortium for... 

Defence industry should band together during tough times − Armscor

By: Donna Slater     29th September 2020 The defence industry, especially in South Africa, faces troubling times, which have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic; but there is hope and measures that can be taken to improve the industry, says Armscor business assurance executive Advocate Boitshoko Senne. He spoke during the virtual... 

Covid-19 highlights critical requirement for a robust defence force

By: Donna Slater     29th September 2020 Key to South Africa’s combatting of the Covid-19 pandemic has been the efforts of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), which has been at the “eye of the storm”, having been heavily engaged with combatting the spread of the disease, says National Defence Industry Council director... 

Airbus receives firm order from Nato

By: Simone Liedtke     28th September 2020 Airbus has received a firm order for an Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) from European organisation, Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR), for the management of cooperative armament programmes.   The order, which OCCAR has placed on behalf of North Atlantic Treaty... 

Airbus receives firm order from Nato

Significant step forward in clean aviation with hydrogen-powered flight in the UK

By: Rebecca Campbell     25th September 2020 Anglo-US company ZeroAvia has successfully carried out the world’s first flight of a ‘commercial-grade’ aircraft powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. The aircraft is a modified Piper Malibu, a single-engined six-seater (comprising, usually, one pilot and five passengers). The flight took place at... 

ZeroAvia’s hydrogen fuel cell-powered Pipe Malibu takes off on its first flight. Note the specially-assigned and symbolic registration of G-HYZA
Photo by ZerpAvia
ZeroAvia’s hydrogen fuel cell-powered Pipe Malibu takes off on its first flight. Note the specially-assigned and symbolic registration of G-HYZA

Iata calls for planning to start for distribution of Covid-19 vaccines

By: Rebecca Campbell     25th September 2020 The International Air Transport Association (Iata) – the representative body of the global airline industry – has urged governments to start planning now for the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, when they become available. This planning should include the air transport sector as well as other... 

Airbus unveils zero-emissions airliner concept designs

By: Rebecca Campbell     22nd September 2020 Europe-based global major aerospace group Airbus has released three concept designs for hydrogen-powered zero carbon-emission commercial aircraft. It was examining these designs in a programme it called ZEROe, which was the precursor to the group’s recently announced plan to develop and... 

An artist’s impression of the three ZEROe concept designs, with the BWB in the lead, the turbofan design in the rear and the turboprop design in front
Photo by Airbus
An artist’s impression of the three ZEROe concept designs, with the BWB in the lead, the turbofan design in the rear and the turboprop design in front

TIPS Tracker: The economy and the pandemic

21st September 2020 Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies' (TIPS's) 'Tracker: The economy and the pandemic' highlights important trends in the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa and how they affect the economy. Since August 18, when the country moved to Level 2 of the lockdown, the number of cases has plateaued at... 

Nasa successfully ground-tests improved rocket booster and flight-certified spacecraft

By: Rebecca Campbell     18th September 2020 The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) has successfully tested what could be described as the ‘Mark 2’ version of the booster rocket for its heavy Space Launch System (SLS). The SLS boosters are the most powerful booster rockets ever built for flight operations and their... 

Initiative to accelerate technology strategies amid aerospace industry decline

By: Mamaili Mamaila     18th September 2020 The Aerospace Industry Support Initiative (AISI) plans to continue building technology strategies with industry for long-term implementation amid the industry’s decline of late. 

EVEN ODDS
Although there are “pockets of excellence”, the local aerospace industry is very small and focuses almost exclusively on exports
EVEN ODDS Although there are “pockets of excellence”, the local aerospace industry is very small and focuses almost exclusively on exports

Surprise US announcement reveals that the first new-generation combat aircraft has flown

By: Rebecca Campbell     16th September 2020 The US Air Force (USAF) has stunned the aerospace world by secretly building and flying the first ever sixth-generation jet fighter prototype. The news was revealed by Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Dr Will Roper to highly-respected “Defense News”... 

Airbus signs agreements with partners to develop aircraft fuel-saving concept

By: Rebecca Campbell     11th September 2020 Europe-based global major aerospace group Airbus has signed agreements with two airlines and three air navigation service providers (ANSPs) to determine the operational feasibility of the manufacturer’s ‘fello’fly’ aviation emissions reduction demonstration project. The airlines are French low... 

Airbus signs agreements with partners to develop aircraft fuel-saving concept

Dube-Ncube to inspect Margate Airport renovations

By: Sane Dhlamini     11th September 2020 KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube will visit Margate on Saturday to inspect R10-million worth of renovations at the Margate Airport as the country observes Tourism Month. Dube-Ncube will be accompanied by KwaZulu-Natal Transport, Community... 

KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube
KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube

Covid-hit civil aerospace unit drags down Rolls-Royce

By: Rebecca Campbell     11th September 2020 UK-based global major industrial technology group Rolls-Royce has unveiled its results for the first half (H1) of 2020. 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 24% in... 

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