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Defence & Aerospace

Rolls-Royce developing turbogenerators specifically for hybrid-electric aircraft

By: Rebecca Campbell     22nd June 2022 UK-based global major power and propulsion systems and technologies group Rolls-Royce on Wednesday announced the development of turbogenerator technology, to advance the implementation of hybrid-electric flight. The development included a new small engine specifically designed for use in... 

UK quasi-airship design to go into production following agreement with Spanish airline

By: Rebecca Campbell     20th June 2022 UK low carbon aviation technology company Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) announced last week that Spanish regional airline Air Nostrum had signed an aircraft reservation agreement for ten of the former’s Airlander 10 hybrid aircraft. The airline is scheduled to start operations with the type in 2026.... 

An artist’s impression of an Airlander 10 in Air Nostrum livery
Photo by HAV
An artist’s impression of an Airlander 10 in Air Nostrum livery

Southern African airlines in Catch-22 as costs rise amid fragile demand

By: Rebecca Campbell     17th June 2022 To all practical intents and purposes, the Covid-19 pandemic hit Southern Africa just over two years ago. The pandemic and the measures adopted by the region’s governments to try and counter it have had a severe impact on the Southern African airline industry (and indeed on all sectors associated... 

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Airbus spy satellite for Germany has been set to its launch site

By: Rebecca Campbell     14th June 2022 Airbus Defence and Space, part of the Europe-based global major aerospace group Airbus, has announced that its SARah-1 reconnaissance satellite has been moved from its assembly facility in Friedrichshafen in Germany, in the State of Baden-Württemberg, in Germany, to Vandenberg (US) Space Force... 

Artist’s impression of SARah-1 in orbit
Photo by Airbus
Artist’s impression of SARah-1 in orbit

Labour Court rejects Denel’s technical points in dispute over failure to pay Uasa-affiliated employees

By: Donna Slater     3rd June 2022 Trade union Uasa reports that the Labour Court has rejected State-owned defence company Denel’s technical points aimed at further delaying payments to Uasa members, in their dispute over delayed salary payments. The urgent court application brought by Uasa against Denel in April to honour all... 

Former Denel CEO is back as restructuring boss

By: News24Wire      1st June 2022 Former Denel group CEO Riaz Saloojee has returned to the state-owned defence technology company after he was forced out during the state capture period. Saloojee was one of three Denel executives suspended in 2015 by then-newly appointed board chair Daniel Mantsha.    

Airbus launches a fifth zero carbon flight research centre, in its fourth home country, the UK

By: Rebecca Campbell     26th May 2022 Europe-based global major aerospace group Airbus has announced that it has set up a Zero Emission Development Centre (ZEDC) in the UK. The ZEDC, which is located at Filton, near Bristol, in England, has already started work. Filton is also the home of one of the company’s main airliner wing... 

Reunert moves to acquire Etion Create to bolster capabilities

By: Natasha Odendaal     26th May 2022 The proposed acquisition of original design manufacturing firm Etion Create will boost JSE-listed Reunert’s manufacturing and original design capabilities, as well as its export market access into key targeted international geographies. On May 20, Reunert Applied Electronics entered a share... 

Spain, Britain call on Nato to look at Russian threat from Africa

By: Reuters     26th May 2022 Russia's expanding influence and activity in Africa pose a "worrying" threat to the security of Nato countries along with its invasion of Ukraine and must be addressed by the military alliance, the Spanish and British defence ministers said Wednesday. At a joint news conference in Madrid, Spain's... 

SA Navy takes delivery of first of 3 locally-made patrol vessels

By: News24Wire      19th May 2022 The South African Navy has taken delivery of the first of three multi-mission inshore patrol vessels at its naval dockyard in Simon's Town, Cape Town. The vessel formed part of Project Biro, which "aims to rejuvenate the South African Navy patrol capability" through the acquisition of the three... 

Turboprop airliner manufacturer announces its plan for a greener new generation design

By: Rebecca Campbell     18th May 2022 European regional turboprop airliner manufacturer ATR announced, on Wednesday, its plans to develop a new, ‘greener’, generation of aircraft, to be called the ATR EVO. The company was planning for these next-generation airliners to become available by 2030. ATR currently manufactured and marketed... 

Lockheed Martin, US Air Force, successfully test hypersonic weapon

By: Rebecca Campbell     18th May 2022 US giant aerospace and defence group Lockheed Martin and the US Air Force (USAF) jointly announced on Tuesday that, together, they had successfully flight-tested a hypersonic weapon. The weapon is designated the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW). For the test flight, the ARRW was... 

An artist’s impression of the ARRW glide body
Photo by Lockheed Martin
An artist’s impression of the ARRW glide body

Rolls-Royce technology brings a once science-fiction weapon closer to routine use

By: Rebecca Campbell     17th May 2022 UK-based global major propulsion and power systems and technology group Rolls-Royce reported on Tuesday that a power and thermal management system that it had developed to provide energy for laser weapons had performed successfully during multiple and extended field tests. This system, designated... 

Airbus reports much improved year-on-year results for the first quarter

By: Rebecca Campbell     6th May 2022 Europe-based global major aerospace group Airbus has reported “solid” results for the first quarter of this year (Q1 2022), which ended on March 31. It accrued revenues totalling €12-billion, which was a year-on-year increase of 15%. Reported earnings before interest and taxes (Ebit) came to... 

As drone deployment continues to expand, miners unearth whole-of-mine uses

By: Donna Slater     6th May 2022 The use of drones and ground-based robotics is evolving to such an extent locally that various companies are using them in all aspects of their operations, which is resulting in “bun fights” about which department gets to use the devices and payloads, says Dwyka Mining Services MD Jamie van... 

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Airbus and Rolls-Royce win major orders from Australia’s Qantas

By: Rebecca Campbell     4th May 2022 Major aerospace groups Airbus (manufacturer of airliners) and Rolls-Royce (maker of aeroengines) have announced connected major orders for their products from Australian national flag carrier Qantas. The airline has selected a trio of Airbus types to implement its fleet modernisation programme,... 

An artist’s impression of an A350-1000 (right foreground), an A321XLR (top centre) and an A220 (left, trailing) in Qantas livery
Photo by Airbus
An artist’s impression of an A350-1000 (right foreground), an A321XLR (top centre) and an A220 (left, trailing) in Qantas livery

Parliamentary committee urges Denel, Armscor to find solutions to their challenges

By: Schalk Burger     22nd April 2022 The Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans this week visited the facilities of State-owned Armscor and Denel as part of an oversight programme and urged the entities to explore new avenues to use their assets and find solutions to the challenges they are facing. During the visit to... 

Ramaphosa extends SANDF deployment to Mozambique by a year, at cost of R2.8bn

By: News24Wire      21st April 2022 President Cyril Ramaphosa extended the deployment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in Mozambique for a year, at a cost of R2.8-billion. This is the longest extension of the deployment by Ramaphosa. 

SANDF soldiers

South African military deployed to flood-ravaged province

By: Reuters     19th April 2022 Thousands of South African soldiers will help with relief efforts in KwaZulu-Natal province, where more than 440 people have died in floods and mudslides and dozens more are missing. A week after the torrential rains began, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) said on Monday it had... 

SANDF soldiers

Airbus concludes wind tunnel tests on its radical new wing design

By: Rebecca Campbell     14th April 2022 Europe-based global major aerospace group Airbus has announced that it has completed wind-tunnel testing of its new wing technology demonstrator, the eXtra Performance Wing. This is part of the group’s programme to rapidly test and accelerate the development of new technologies to decarbonise the... 

The eXtra Performance Wing wind-tunnel mode
Photo by Airbus
The eXtra Performance Wing wind-tunnel mode

South Africa main funder for SADC mission in Mozambique, which is protecting whole bloc

By: Rebecca Campbell     13th April 2022 South Africa was currently providing most of the funding for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), through the SADC Peace Fund, Chief of the SANDF, General Rudzani Maphwanya, told reporters at a media briefing on Wednesday. He pointed out that South... 

Paramount Group invests in skills development for young engineers

By: Donna Slater     13th April 2022 Aerospace and technology company Paramount Group has launched an engineering mentorship and training programme – the Young Engineers Development Programme (YEDP) – aimed at fast-tracking young engineers by equipping them with the skills and experience required to excel in the workplace. The... 

An image of young engineers
Participants of Paramount Group's Young Engineers Development Programme

SANDF exploiting modern technologies against extremists in Mozambique

By: Rebecca Campbell     13th April 2022 The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) was seeking to use modern technology to help defeat Islamist extremists in the Cado Delgado province in north east Mozambique, but could only do so to a limited extent because of the difficulties soldiers faced when... 

The US successfully flies a hypersonic test vehicle

By: Rebecca Campbell     6th April 2022 It was announced in Palmdale in the US state of California on Tuesday that the country had successfully carried out a flight test of the ‘Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept’ (HAWC). The HAWC was jointly developed and tested by the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the... 

The artist’s impression of the HAWC in flight
Photo by Lockheed Martin
The artist’s impression of the HAWC in flight

Uasa approaches court to ensure Denel pays employees

By: Schalk Burger     5th April 2022 Trade union Uasa has brought an urgent Labour Court application against State-owned defence group Denel to order it to honour all outstanding contractual obligations and effect payment of Uasa members’ full remuneration from August 1, 2020, to date within 14 days of the order. It also seeks an... 

Mozambique gas bonanza in limbo as islamist insurgency simmers

By: Bloomberg     4th April 2022 Southern African nations are considering extending the deployment of troops fighting an Islamic State-linked insurgency in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province that prompted TotalEnergies to stall a $20-billion natural gas project. Ministers from the 16-member Southern African Development... 

Global aviation group orders another 20 Boeing 737 converted freighters

By: Rebecca Campbell     31st March 2022 Ireland-based global aviation services company ASL Aviation Holdings (ASL) confirmed on Thursday that it had ordered 20 more Boeing 737-800BCF freighter aircraft. BCF stands for ‘Boeing Converted Freighter’, meaning that the aircraft concerned were originally built as airliners. The new order was... 

Airbus adds Superjumbo jet to its growing list of airliners tested with 100% sustainable fuel

By: Rebecca Campbell     29th March 2022 Europe-based global major aerospace group Airbus on Monday announced that it had flown its A380 Superjumbo airliner, with one of its engine using only sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The aircraft concerned was the company’s own flight test aircraft, known as MSN1. The aircraft took off from... 

US Space Force gets budget boost of billions of dollars

By: Rebecca Campbell     29th March 2022 The administration of US President Joe Biden has requested that the Congress allocate funding of $24.5-billion to the US Space Force (USSF) as part of the administration’s 2023 financial year budget plan. This was just under $5-billion more than the USSF’s 2022 budget. The US federal government’s... 

University drones research facility receives R11m grant

By: Donna Slater     28th March 2022 Research charity the Hans Merensky Foundation (HMF) president (and former University of the Free State [UFS] chancellor) Dr Khotso Mokhele recently signed an R11-million five-year research grant agreement with the UFS to expand the Merensky group for Aerial Geological Image Classification (MAGIC)... 

An image of a grant signing
UFS rector and vice-chancellor Professor Francis Petersen signs the grant with Hans Merensky Foundation president Dr Khotso Mokhele

Dassault has won another order for its Rafale fighter

By: Rebecca Campbell     28th March 2022 French aerospace group Dassault Aviation has announced yet another order for its Rafale multirole (the company likes to describe it as ‘omnirole’) fighter. This contract is a repeat order from Greece, for another six of the aircraft. In January last year, Greece had ordered 18 Rafales, so the new... 

Airbus selects Italian engines for Eurodrone programme

By: Rebecca Campbell     28th March 2022 Airbus Defence and Space, a division of the Europe-based global major aerospace group Airbus, announced on Friday that it had selected Italian company Avio Aero to supply its Catalyst engines and propellors for the Eurodrone remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS). The Eurodrone aircraft will be... 

An artist’s impression of an Eurodrone flying over an Arctic landscape
Photo by Airbus
An artist’s impression of an Eurodrone flying over an Arctic landscape

Five countries order SA-designed Mbombe 4 infantry vehicle

By: Donna Slater     23rd March 2022 South African aerospace and defence company Paramount Group has received orders from five sovereign nations for its Mbombe 4 infantry combat vehicle (ICV) in the three years since its launch at the 2019 International Defence Exhibition & Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi. Since then, Paramount... 

An image of a Mbombe 4
The Mbombe 4 infantry combat vehicle

Labour court keeps Denel under judicial supervision but postpones union’s case by months

By: Rebecca Campbell     17th March 2022 The UASA trade union has expressed disappointment that the Labour Court, in a ruling handed down on Wednesday, had effectively given financially-beleaguered State-owned defence industrial group Denel until after September to meet its contractual financial obligations towards those of its staff... 

Drones successful in deterring railway cable theft syndicates 

By: Donna Slater     15th March 2022 Johannesburg-based unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operator and developer UAV & Drone Solutions (UDS) proposes that government departments and State-owned entities (SOEs) use, to a far greater extent, the services it provides to curb critical infrastructure theft and vandalism. Cable theft for... 

An image of a drone and stolen cables
UAV & Drone Solutions provides eyes in the sky, day or night, to deter infrastructure criminals and identify areas of concern

Second African Astronomical Society conference to be held on March 14

By: Donna Slater     11th March 2022 Professional society the African Astronomical Society (AfAS) will host its second yearly scientific conference and general assembly in Cape Town, on March 14, with the aim of intensifying the growth of astronomy in Africa. The week-long hybrid event will focus on science, outreach, communication... 

Solidarity union submits warrants of execution to seize Denel assets over failure to pay staff

By: Rebecca Campbell     9th March 2022 The Solidarity trade union announced on Wednesday that it had submitted warrants of execution, worth some R90-million, against State-owned defence industrial group Denel, to the sheriff of the court. This followed Denel’s failure to abide by a Labour Court order and pay, by March 8, union members... 

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