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Latest news on the defence and aerospace sector.

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    There has been a strong increase in interest in radar technology among South African engineers and organisations over the past year or so. This has been demonstrated by greater than expected interest in radar education and training courses in the country this year – which happens to be the 75th anniversary of the development of the first South African radar.

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    South African guided weapons, unmanned air vehicles and space company Denel Dynamics plans to increase its revenue to more than R2-billion within five years. This was reported by company CEO Tsepo Monaheng at its annual "Show and Tell" briefing in Centurion, just south of Pretoria, on Friday. In the financial year 2014/2015, Denel Dynamics achieved revenues of R1.49-billion. For 2015/2016, it hopes to receive almost R1.46-billion (the apparent fall is because the Integrated Systems Solutions unit has been moved out of Denel Dynamics, to form the new Denel Integrated Systems and Maritime division). In 2016/2017 revenues should rise to about R1.65-billion, in 2017/2018 to around R1.86-billion, in 2018/2019 to some R2.24-billion and in 2019/2020 to almost R2.44-billion. "We should be able to achieve this growth in revenues," he assured.

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    South African defence company Saab Grintek Defence is receiving a lot of interest from around the world in the latest version of its armoured vehicle Land Electronics Defence System (LEDS) 50, the Mark (Mk) 2. "We've received a lot of Requests for Proposals," reports company Product Manager: Land Self-Protection Systems Leon Ferreira. "The requirement for soft-kill capability has become more prominent in the past year or so. We're seeing increased interest."

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    African countries should cooperate more in defence, including defence technology and the defence industry, in order to strengthen the continent's sovereignty, peace and development. So argued South African Defence acquisitions, disposals and research and development agency Armscor board chairman, retired South African Navy Vice Admiral Johannes Mudimu, in his opening address at the recent Land Forces Africa 2015 conference and exhibition in Pretoria.

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    South African State-owned defence industrial group Denel on Thursday reported that it had enjoyed a most successful financial year during 2014/2015. "This has been another really good year for us," enthused Group CEO Riaz  Saloojee. "This year under review was a remarkable one for us. We've grown revenues by a billion rand over the last year." The group's revenues rose by 28%, or by more than R1.3-billion, to R5.85-billion. Net profit reached R270-million, an increase of R76-million over the 2013/2014 financial year. Its order book now stands at R35-billion (in 2009, it was just R4.069-billion). Earnings before interest and tax hit R399-million, a jump of 41%. Denel's debt:equity ratio held steady at 1:1. Exports accounted for 52% of group revenues.

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    The country's State-owned defence industrial group Denel hopes that the Department of Defence and the South African National Defence Force will give a favourable response to the proposed "future roadmap" for Denel's Rooivalk attack helicopter. This was stated by group CEO Riaz Saloojee at a media briefing on Thursday. He highlighted that the Rooivalk (which translates into English as Kestrel) had enjoyed great operational success in combat operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where a detachment of South African Air Force (SAAF) had served as part of the United Nations forces. Saloojee pointed out that the SAAF Rooivalks had played a decisive role in defeating rebels in that country.

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    Local defence industrial group Denel regards the its most important mandate as being the retention of key defence industrial and technological capabilities in the country. "The most critical one [mandate] is the maintenance and support of sovereign strategic industrial capabilities," Denel Group CEO Riaz Saloojee told the media at a briefing on Thursday. "We've been designated by the [2014] Defence Review to be the custodian of these strategic capabilities," he pointed out. "The strategic intent is very clear." Denel gives the South African government independence in wide areas of defence technology and production.

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    Creamer Media's Chanel de Bruyn speaks to Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Keith Campbell about Denel's 2015 financial year results and its future plans for the Rooivalk helicopter.

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  • 07/24/15--22:52: Brown rotates Denel board
  • Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has, following Cabinet approval, rotated the board of State-owned aerospace and defence technology conglomerate Denel. Brown appointed Daniel Mantsha – an attorney with experience in corporate finance, transactional advising, business management, commercial law, media and communication law, administrative law and Constitutional law – as nonexecutive director and chairperson, with effect from July 24 and for a three-year period.

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    The heads of leading technology companies will on Tuesday join the cosmologist Stephen Hawking, the cognitive scientist Noam Chomski and a host of the world’s leading artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics researchers in calling for an international ban on the development of autonomous weapons. Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computers, Tesla chief executive Elon Musk and Jaan Tallinn, co-founder of Skype, are among more than 1 000 signatories to a petition that will be presented at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aires, the main international gathering of researchers in AI, on Tuesday.

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    Creamer Media's Chanel de Bruyn speaks to Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Keith Campbell about Armscor's reorganisation plans.

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    South African State-owned defence industrial group Denel has reported that it had enjoyed a most successful financial year during 2014/2015. "This has been another really good year for us," enthused Group CEO Riaz  Saloojee. "This year under review was a remarkable one for us. We've grown revenues by a billion rand over the last year."

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    South Africa's defence acquisitions and research and development (R&D) agency Armscor is considering reorganising itself to better meet the changing demands on the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and the local defence industry. "We're looking into restructuring Armscor," reports new CEO Kevin Wakeford. "We need to do a proper investigation, which we are about to start."

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    The country's State-owned defence industrial group Denel hopes that the Department of Defence and the South African National Defence Force will give a favorable response to the proposed "future roadmap" for Denel's Rooivalk attack helicopter. This was stated by group CEO Riaz Saloojee at the recent media briefing announcing the group’s results for the financial year 2014/2015.

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    South Africa’s defence acquisitions and research and development (R&D) agency Armscor is considering reorganising itself to better meet the changing demands on the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and the local defence industry. “We’re looking into restructuring Armscor,” reports new CEO Kevin Wakeford. “We need to do a proper investigation, which we are about to start.” “The organisation needs to focus on the shifting marketplace,” he explains. “It’s a migrating marketplace. It’s largely determined by the SANDF’s role in Africa. And border security is a big issue. At the moment, we work on a project-by-project basis. It’s demand driven. But we need a more systemic approach, not a project-by-project approach. We need a seamless basis to our operations. Acquisition and R&D are [currently] very separate divisions within Armscor. But we are breaking down the different silos within the organisation, so there will be better cooperation and understanding between the divisions.”

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    Leading US – indeed, international – defence publication Defense News has ranked South Africa’s State-owned defence industrial group Denel as the second largest defence manufacturer in the southern hemisphere and one of the top 100 in the world, in terms of revenues obtained in 2014. Denel ranks 100th on the list, and this is the first time the group has featured on it. Denel’s appearance on the list is a reflection of the rapid increase in its revenues over the past few years. These increased from R3.2-billion in 2011 to R4.6-billion in 2014. Since then, the group’s revenues have risen by another 28%.

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    As government continues to promote localisation and support for small, medium-sized and microenterprises (SMMEs) through various incentive schemes and overhauled procurement legislation, the local defence industry argues that its contribution to propping up local industry often remains under acknowledged. Addressing representatives of the various industry export councils and representatives of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Wednesday, Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industries Association of South Africa (AMD) executive director Simphiwe Hamilton said the specialist manufacturing nature of the sector meant that the existence of locally produced components in larger exported products, such as vehicles, were often overlooked.

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    Specialist South African company Alaris Holdings has completed its take-over of US business Antenna Research Associates (ARA). The deal was originally announced in February. Alaris Holdings was previously known as Poynting Holdings and is listed on the AltX of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. It owns Alaris Antennas, which developed from a small consultancy which emerged from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1990.

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    A key priority for South Africa’s State-owned defence industrial group Denel is to develop its capabilities in what is known, in defence jargon, as C4ISTAR – command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance. “With regard to information warfare, surveillance, command and control – the whole C4ISTAR environment – what we’re doing in Denel today is to achieve this integrated capability, to enhance the combat power of our weapons systems,” stresses Group CEO Riaz Saloojee. “This is a critical issue. It’s a passion of mine, to integrate these systems. That’s why we’ve created Denel Integrated Systems Solutions and Maritime. No other company in South Africa is doing this today.”

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    Leading US – indeed, international – defence publication Defense News has ranked South Africa’s State-owned defence industrial group Denel as the second largest defence manufacturer in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the top 100 in the world, in terms of revenues obtained in 2014. Denel ranks 100th on the list, and this is the first time the group has featured on it. Denel’s appearance on the list is a reflection of the rapid increase in its revenues over the past few years. These increased from R3.2-billion in 2011 to R4.6-billion in 2014. Since then, the group’s revenues have risen by another 28%.

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