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Latest news on the defence and aerospace sector.

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    Airbus made the right decision in retaining South African companies in the supply chain for the A400M military airlift aircraft, Airbus Defence and Space Executive VP: Military Aircraft Domingo Ureña told South African journalists in Seville recently. "I think it was the right decision to keep industrial capacity in South Africa," he said. Important components and parts for the A400M are manufactured by South African companies Aerosud and Denel Aerostructures. "The two companies are partners," he observed. "Hopefully, we'll get South Africa back [as a customer]."

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    Local aerospace company Denel Aerostructures (DAe), part of the State-owned Denel Group, has won a fourth contract to manufacture parts for the Airbus A400M military air transport and air-to-air refuelling aircraft. The new contract, which was won in an international bidding process, is worth more than R260-million and will run for six years.

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    South African State-owned defence industrial group Denel is hoping to enter the railway manufacturing sector, following the launching of multi-billion rand programmes to modernise the country’s national railway network. These include the acquisition of new locomotives and both passenger and freight rolling stock and the construction of new and the upgrading of existing railway infrastructure, in order to increase the country’s rail transport capacity. With its background in aerospace, defence, security and related technologies, its tradition of innovation and its experience in producing high-technology products, Denel feels that it is well positioned to diversify into the railway and other commercial sectors.

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    South African high-technology company Denel Dynamics must meet the challenges and seize the opportunities facing it not only for the sake of the company itself but for the sake of the country as a whole. So asserted company CEO Tsepo Monaheng, addressing staff and guests at the conclusion of the recent Denel Dynamics Show and Tell 2014 event. Denel Dynamics specializes in missiles and other guided weapons, unmanned air vehicles and space technology. It is part of the State-owned Denel defence industrial group.

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    BAE Systems subsidiary Land Systems South Africa has secured a contract under Denel Land Systems’ 8x8 Infantry Combat Vehicle (ICV) programme, which will see the defence systems developer providing commander and gunner sights for Badger combat vehicles. “This is a key contract for our business, as Denel and the South African National Defence Force, through Armscor, are very important customers for our business,” commented BAE Systems South Africa MD Johan Steyn.

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    The Advanced High-Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft (Ahrlac) has reached the ground-testing phase at the Wonderboom Airport, in Pretoria, marking a significant milestone for South Africa-based defence solutions business Paramount Group.  Ahrlac is a compact twin-boom, single-engine surveillance and light strike aircraft for a tandem-seated crew of two people.

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    Gas will be a springboard for a low-carbon economy, as it will deter new investment in coal and complement renewable-energy resources, believes Johannesburg-based consulting firm MAC Consulting associate director Dave Collins.

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    European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, part of the aerospace and defence Airbus Group, wants to help South African company Denel Aerostructures (DAe) to expand into the commercial aircraft aerostructures sector. DAe is part of the State-owned Denel defence industrial group and is one of three South African companies that supply the Airbus Group. The other two are private sector companies Aerosud and Cobham South Africa. DAe and Aerosud are major suppliers to the Airbus Group.

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    The Military Aircraft Division of Airbus Defence and Space has begun to actively market its A400M military airlifter to countries outside of the aircraft programme’s core partnership states. “We received authorisation to market the plane internationally one year ago,” reported the division’s Head of Commercial (sic) Antonio Rodriguez Barberán at the Trade Media Briefing in Seville, Spain, last month. “The plane has been touring the world. We are competing in every tender. We are expecting it will become the standard, the reference, in the market in the coming years.”

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    The South African defence sector is poised for growth on the back of the 2014 Defence Review, creating an opportunity for private companies to assist the State in meeting its targets, engineering and electronics firm Ansys CEO Teddy Daka told Engineering News Online on Monday. He said while the State had indicated that it wanted to increase its defence expenditure from 1.1% of gross domestic product (GDP) to 2.4% of GDP, it did not have the capacity to do so on its own.

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    Major US company Boeing Defence, Space and Security, a unit of the giant Boeing Company and private-sector South African defence and aerospace enterprise the Paramount Group on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Collaboration. The signing took place at the Farnborough Airshow in the UK. In terms of the memorandum, the two companies will jointly work on opportunities in the defence and security sectors in important international markets. Such opportunities exist regarding border security, coastal piracy and anti-poaching, disaster and humanitarian relief and heavy airlift over long ranges. Concerning platforms, the collaboration could include unmanned air vehicles and their support, different types of Boeing rotorcraft and Paramount land vehicles and aerospace systems. “Boeing and Paramount will be able to provide new or existing customers with a unique partnering of defence solutions and capabilities, including the retrofitting or refurbishment of existing platforms, systems integration as well as training and maintenance support for new acquisitions,” affirmed Boeing Defence, Space and Security president and CEO Chris Chadwick. “Together we will be able to offer African customers the full scope of defence and security needs from two global leaders in their respective fields.”

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    Local aerospace company Denel Aerostructures (DAe), part of the State-owned Denel Group, has won a fourth contract to manufacture parts for the Airbus A400M military air transport and air-to-air refuelling aircraft. The new contract, which was won in an international bidding process, is worth more than R260-million and will run for six years. DAe is based in Kempton Park, on the far side of the O R Tambo International Airport from the terminal buildings, east of Joahnnesburg.

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    In her budget speech to Parliament in Cape Town on Wednesday, Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has reported progress in the institutionalisation of the relationship between the Department of Defence (DoD) and the local defence industry. “Our plans for the establishment of the National Defence Industry Council are at an advanced stage,” she said. “The launching of the Council will usher [in] a new dispensation for the management of our relations with the defence industry and also allow for direct support in this regard.” The National Defence Industry Council is intended to provide close coordination between the country’s defence companies, research agencies and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). It was formally launched in March 2012. “The hosting of this year’s edition of the African Aerospace and Defence show in September will also give South African industry another opportunity for marketing and expansion,” she pointed out. “The show will represent a key highlight of our calendar as we celebrate 20 years of the existence of the SANDF.”

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    A locally designed and built aircraft has entered ground-testing phase at the Wonderboom Airport, in Pretoria, marking a significant milestone for South Africa-based defence solutions business Paramount Group.

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    Denel’s Seeker 400 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system has successfully completed the second round of flight tests as part of its development process. The tests, conducted at the Alkantpan range in the Northern Cape, included an evaluation of the system for range and performance with a full payload on board. “This was the first series of flights of the Seeker 400 with the full payload. “We are delighted [with] the performance of the Seeker 400 and confident that we will be able to start ...

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    South African missiles, unmanned air vehicles, systems integration and space company Denel Dynamics, part of the State-owned Denel defence industrial group, is most optimistic about its prospects. “The future is looking very exciting,” enthuses Denel Dynamics CEO Tsepo Monaheng. “We’d planned for 10% growth year-on-year, but in the latest revision it looks like it will be more than 10%.”

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    South African missiles, unmanned air vehicles, systems integration and space company Denel Dynamics, part of the State-owned Denel defence industrial group, is most optimistic about its prospects. “The future is looking very exciting,” enthuses Denel Dynamics CEO Tsepo Monaheng. “We’d planned for 10% growth year-on-year but, in the latest revision, it looks like it will be more than 10%.” This success will have beneficial consequences beyond the company. “We’ll need more people and we’ll have to expand our facilities,” he reports. “Most importantly, our local industry will be expected to respond, since our local supply chain plays a very important role in our sustainable growth. We are going to identify a few companies that will participate in our enterprise development project. We have a system of qualifying our supplier companies – we audit them and only when they have passed our audits can they supply us.”

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    South Africa and Japan have explored areas of military and defence cooperation of the two armed forces. On Monday, Japanese vice Defence Minister Minoru Kihara visited South Africa to exchange information on defence related matters, and to find out more about the South African Arms production and procurement industry.

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    In her recent budget speech to Parliament in Cape Town, Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula reported progress in the institutionalisation of the relationship between the Department of Defence (DoD) and the local defence industry. “Our plans for the establishment of the National Defence Industry Council are at an advanced stage,” she said. “The launching of the Council will usher [in] a new dispensation for the management of our relations with the defence industry and also allow for direct support in this regard.”

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    UK-based global defence group BAE Systems is to sell its South African armoured and mine-protected vehicle and related systems subsidiary BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa (LSSA) to South Africa’s State-owned defence group Denel. LSSA is located in Benoni, east of Johannesburg. BAE Systems holds 75% of LSSA and Denel will also acquire the 25% of the company now owned by South African private sector (and black empowerment) company DGD Technologies (2001) to give the State-owned entity 100% of the Benoni-based business. The sale is dependent on the gaining of the necessary regulatory and other approvals. LSSA is composed of three complementary divisions – OMC, which specialises in wheeled armoured, mine protected and patrol vehicles; Gear Ratio, which focuses on mechanical driveline components, gears and precision-machined parts; and Dynamics, which is responsible for turrets, remotely-operated weapons stations and fire control systems. It employs some 500 people.

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