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Defence & Aerospace

To deal with aviation crisis, Aerosud restructures, diversifies and will launch new product 

By: Rebecca Campbell     15th June 2020 South African private sector aerostructures company Aerosud remains optimistic about its future, despite suffering significant short-term hits from both the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX airliner early last year and the current Covid-19 pandemic. Aerosud is a supplier of airframe components to... 

Underfunding has put SANDF in dire position, lawmakers warned

By: Rebecca Campbell     12th June 2020 In a briefing to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans, the Department of Defence (DoD) has warned that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is in dire need of rejuvenation. The briefing was delivered on May 27. The DoD started its briefing by quoting the... 

Elon Musk’s SpaceX makes history with first commercial crewed spaceflight

By: Rebecca Campbell     12th June 2020 Space history was made on May 30 when two American astronauts (Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley) were carried into space by a commercial spacecraft. This was the Crew Dragon space capsule, launched on a Falcon 9 rocket, the entire system being the product of the SpaceX company, founded by South... 

SANSA and Nasa developing project for new Matijiesfontein ground station

By: Rebecca Campbell     12th June 2020 The project for a new deep space network ground station in South Africa, which is a collaborative venture between the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) and its US counterpart, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa), is still in its study phase, SANSA Space Operations... 

Parliament’s Defence Committee concerned about Defence Works Formation’s progress

By: Rebecca Campbell     11th June 2020 The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (Defence Committee) has urged the Department of Defence (DOD) to develop a thoroughgoing plan to create a fully-functional Defence Works Formation (DWF) and to implement it in an incremental manner. This followed a briefing... 

Airbus reports on progress by the Solar Orbiter spacecraft

By: Rebecca Campbell     8th June 2020 Airbus Defence and Space, a division of the giant aerospace group Airbus, reported on June 8 that the Solar Orbiter (SolO) spacecraft is now some 105-million kilometres from Earth, heading for the Sun. (The distance between the Earth and the Sun is nearly 152-million kilometres.) Airbus designed... 

An artist’s impression of the SolO spacecraft approaching the Sun
Photo by Airbus
An artist’s impression of the SolO spacecraft approaching the Sun

Air transport bodies appeal to South African government to support local airlines

By: Rebecca Campbell     5th June 2020 The International Air Transport Association (Iata), the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) and the Board of Airline Representatives of South Africa (Barsa) have jointly appealed to the South African government to provide direct financial relief for the country’s airline sector. This... 

Global airline debt soars as a result of Covid-19 counter measures

By: Rebecca Campbell     5th June 2020 In its latest briefing regarding the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic (and the near total halt in commercial air passenger traffic to help try to contain it) on the global airline industry, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) has reported that it expected global airline debt to jump... 

Plan unveiled to prevent aircraft corrosion

5th June 2020 As hundreds of aircraft remain grounded owing to plummeting air travel demand amid pandemic restrictions, the question arising is how airlines can preserve as much value as possible, while high-dollar assets sit idle for an indefinite period. To address this critical need, corrosion solution... 

FLIGHT PRESERVATION
Cortec has designed an aircraft preservation guide based on the practical advantages of VpCI technology
FLIGHT PRESERVATION Cortec has designed an aircraft preservation guide based on the practical advantages of VpCI technology

Airbus A400M transport achieves essential paratrooping certification

By: Rebecca Campbell     4th June 2020 Airbus Defence and Space, part of the Europe-based global giant Airbus aerospace group, announced on June 3 that it had finally completed the full industrial development of the paratroop deployment capability of its A400M military airlifter. The final step, successfully concluded last month, was... 

Brazilian aerospace group Embraer reports net loss for the first quarter of the year

By: Rebecca Campbell     4th June 2020 Brazilian major aerospace group Embraer, the world’s number one manufacturer of commercial jets with up to 150 seats, and the world’s number three commercial jet manufacturer, after Airbus and Boeing (in alphabetical order), has reported a net loss attributable to its shareholders of $292-million... 

An Embraer E190 airliner of South African operator Airlink
Photo by St Helena Tourism Authority
An Embraer E190 airliner of South African operator Airlink

Paramount receives order from Kazakh Ministry for new armoured vehicles

By: Donna Slater     2nd June 2020 Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering (KPE), a joint venture between global aerospace and technology business Paramount Group and Kazakhstan partners, has signed an agreement with the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructural Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan to supply the Eurasian nation’s... 

Paramount receives order from Kazakh Ministry for new armoured vehicles

Parliamentary committee concerned at failure of Denel to deliver on key army project

By: Rebecca Campbell     29th May 2020 Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Defence has revealed that the South African Army’s R9-billion Hoefyster (‘Horseshoe’) project, to acquire 264 Badger infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) from Denel Land Systems (DLS), is now running three years and nine months late. The Badger is intended to... 

Trade union takes Denel to court over nonpayment of salaries

By: Rebecca Campbell     29th May 2020 Trade union UASA announced that it has started legal action against State-owned defence industrial group Denel. This is because the company has failed to pay its employees their salaries on the agreed date of May 25. Denel informed the union that it would also not be able to pay its staff in June... 

Airline industry – global, regional, national – being decimated by Covid-19

By: Rebecca Campbell     29th May 2020 The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the measures taken by most governments to contain it, including national lockdowns, severe travel restrictions and even total flight bans, have had an incredibly severe impact of the commercial aviation industry worldwide. At the end of last month, the... 

Airline industry – global, regional, national – being decimated by Covid-19

Parliamentary defence committee concerned about the state of the SANDF 

By: Rebecca Campbell     28th May 2020 The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans has expressed concern that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is rapidly losing its capabilities. This situation was the result of repeated budget cuts. These cuts had also hurt the SANDF’s acquisition... 

SANDF warns Parliament of the serious consequences of underfunding

By: Rebecca Campbell     28th May 2020 In a briefing to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans, the Department of Defence (DoD) has warned that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is in dire need of rejuvenation. The briefing was delivered on May 27. The DoD started its briefing by quoting the... 

A Ratel 90 fire support vehicle of the South African Army
Photo by Creamer Media
A Ratel 90 fire support vehicle of the South African Army

Boeing announces low-rate restart of 737 MAX airliner production

By: Rebecca Campbell     28th May 2020 US aerospace giant Boeing announced on May 27, at Renton in the US state of Washington, that it was restarting production of its troubled 737 MAX single-aisle airliner. This restart would initially be at a low rate, with only one of the three production lines at the Renton facility being used.... 

Denel divisions finalise ventilator projects

By: Donna Slater     27th May 2020 Two divisions within State-owned defence company Denel have reached critical stages in the design and manufacture of medical ventilators needed to assist critically ill patients diagnosed with Covid-19. The projects both fall under Project Sabela, which is being coordinated by Denel, in... 

First attempt at space launch by Virgin Orbit fails

By: Rebecca Campbell     26th May 2020 Commercial small satellite launch company Virgin Orbit has reported that its first demonstration launch, on May 25, had had to be aborted because of an “anomaly” that occurred shortly after the rocket’s first stage had ignited. Virgin Orbit uses an air-launched rocket system in which the launch... 

LauncherOne (bottom of picture) successfully ignites its first stage after being dropped by Boeing 747 “Cosmic Girl” (climbing away at the top of the picture)
Photo by Virgin Orbit
LauncherOne (bottom of picture) successfully ignites its first stage after being dropped by Boeing 747 “Cosmic Girl” (climbing away at the top of the picture)

Leading aerospace journal suggests that the A380 Superjumbo is doomed

By: Rebecca Campbell     25th May 2020 Renowned British aviation weekly Flight International has opined, in its latest edition, that the Airbus A380 Superjumbo airliner is already “heading for the scrapyard”, even though it entered service only a little more than ten years ago. This was despite its popularity with passengers, for whom... 

An Airbus A380 of British Airways over Table Bay, with part of Cape Town in the background
Photo by British Airways
An Airbus A380 of British Airways over Table Bay, with part of Cape Town in the background

Rolls-Royce highlights pandemic’s negative impact on civil aerospace

By: Rebecca Campbell     22nd May 2020 UK-based industrial technology group Rolls-Royce has warned that the scale of the disruption to the civil aerospace sector caused by the Covid-19 pandemic (and the measures taken by many countries to counter it) would result in a smaller market in that sector, which would take several years to... 

Young African scientists awarded UK funding for postdoctoral research

By: Rebecca Campbell     22nd May 2020 South Africans are among the 29 early-career African scientists who have been selected to receive research funding under the Future Leaders – African Independent Research (Flair) programme for 2020. Other recipients come from Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda... 

Union blasts Denel for last-minute unilateral three-month salary cut

By: Rebecca Campbell     21st May 2020 Trade union UASA announced on May 21 that it was “rejecting” the letter sent out by South Africa’s State-owned defence industrial group Denel’s CEO Danie du Toit in which he announced that the company would not be paying its employees for the next three months (May, June and July). The union... 

Covid-19-induced civil aviation crisis forces Rolls-Royce to restructure, cut jobs

By: Rebecca Campbell     21st May 2020 UK-based global major industrial technology group Rolls-Royce has announced a major restructuring of its civil aerospace business, which will involve the loss of thousands of jobs. This restructuring will also affect the group’s central support functions. At least 9 000 jobs would be cut from... 

Denel unable to pay salaries this month, union reports

By: Rebecca Campbell     20th May 2020 The Solidarity trade union has reported that, at a meeting with Denel management on May 18, the State-owned defence industrial group had confirmed that it could not pay its staff their salaries at the end of this month. Export orders worth R101-million could not be delivered because the necessary... 

Denel says can't pay staff salaries in May

By: Reuters     19th May 2020 Defence firm Denel said on Tuesday that it could not pay salaries for May and that June and July salaries were in serious jeopardy. Denel, which makes military hardware for the South African armed forces and clients around the world, added in a statement to reporters that it was talking to the... 

US donates 730 000 masks for South Africa's health department

By: Donna Slater     15th May 2020 The US government, through the US Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Biological Threat Reduction Programme (BTRP), has procured and started distributing 729 000 protective masks to South Africa’s Department of Health (DoH) to help curb the spread of Covid-19. The masks,... 

US donates 730 000 masks for South Africa's health department

Boeing launches initiative to give people the confidence to resume flying

By: Rebecca Campbell     15th May 2020 Global major US aerospace group Boeing has launched a Confident Travel Initiative to help restore commercial air travel following the Covid-19 pandemic. Severe flight restrictions and national lockdowns by many countries have devastated commercial air passenger travel around the world. Boeing... 

International bioeconomy development group to expand its South African initiative 

By: Rebecca Campbell     15th May 2020 The international bioeconomy development and promotion organisation, RSB, hopes to launch a Bioeconomy Initiative Platform in South Africa later this year. This platform has been shaped with inputs from business, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and government. It will function as an... 

Three companies to develop new lunar landing craft for Nasa astronauts

By: Rebecca Campbell     15th May 2020 The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa), America’s space agency, announced at the end of April the three companies that it has chosen to design and develop human landing systems (HLS) for its Artemis progammme. Artemis is the successor to the renowned Apollo programme, which... 

Boeing-led Australian consortium unveils major unmanned aircraft prototype

By: Rebecca Campbell     15th May 2020 US aerospace and defence giant Boeing on May 5 unveiled the outcome of its biggest-ever investment in unmanned aircraft outside the US, the prototype Loyal Wingman unmanned air vehicle (UAV), in Sydney, Australia. The Loyal Wingman has been developed by a Boeing-led consortium of Australian... 

Comair announces it has entered business rescue

By: Rebecca Campbell     15th May 2020 South African private-sector airline group Comair announced on May 5 that it was going into business rescue. This was to protect the company’s interests and those of its stakeholders. Comair operated the British Airways in South Africa brand and the Kulula low cost carrier brand. This was a... 

Rolls-Royce release virtual reality training system for business jet engines

By: Rebecca Campbell     14th May 2020 UK-based industrial technology group Rolls-Royce has expanded its immersive virtual reality (VR) training system to include its BR725 aeroengine. The BR725 has been developed to power large business jets and is, for example, the powerplant for the Gulfstream G650 executive jet (the current... 

An image of the BR725 engine on an aircraft, taken from the VR training programme
Photo by Rolls-Royce
An image of the BR725 engine on an aircraft, taken from the VR training programme

South Africa amends arms export document after inspection row

By: Reuters     13th May 2020  South Africa has made a subtle change to arms export rules that could unlock more than a billion dollars of weapons sales to countries including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. A notice published in the government gazette on May 11 alters the circumstances under which South African... 

Trade union blasts Denel over failure to make required payments

By: Rebecca Campbell     8th May 2020 The UASA trade union has accused the State-owned Denel defence industrial group of being in breach of contract with its workers. The union stated that it was “incensed” at reports the group had last month not made third party payments (on behalf of its employees) to the Unemployment Insurance... 

Paramount Group donates face masks to SANDF

By: Donna Slater     8th May 2020 Aerospace and defence company Paramount Group has donated 1 000 facial masks to the South Africa National Defence Force (SANDF) as part of its continued effort to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to those working on the front lines of the international fight against the Covid-19... 

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