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Latest news on the defence and aerospace sector.

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    The Kruger National Park and various partners have invested R16 million in drone technology that is able to detect poachers on their grounds. CEO of Unmannd Ariel Vehicle and Drone Solutions, Otto Werdmuller Von Elgg on Sunday said: “Over the next 12 months we will be evaluating the effectiveness of drones in the fight against wildlife crime.”

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    Aerospace group Boeing and South African privately owned defence and aerospace firm Paramount Group have expanded their 2014 agreement to cooperate on an advanced mission system for a variant of the Advanced, High Performance, Reconnaissance, Light Aircraft (Ahrlac).  The high-wing, two-seat Ahrlac was designed to incorporate advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities and weapons systems. Boeing would develop an integrated mission system for the aircraft, enabling ISR and light strike missions for the Ahrlac safety and security, and military, variants.

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    South African defence and security company Saab Grintek Defence (SGD), the local subsidiary of Swedish aerospace and defence group Saab, has been awarded a contract by Armscor’s Institute for Maritime Technology for a TactiCall integrated communications system, which will be used to enhance the existing communications network at the navy’s Silvermine Maritime Domain Awareness Centre (MDAC). TactiCall, which would be installed at the MDAC by the end of May, connected different communication technologies regardless of radio band, frequency and hardware, to enhance efficiency and speed up operations.

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    The National Defence Industry Council (NDIC) should have its strategy for the sector completed by the last day of November, Defence Secretary Dr Sam Gulube has affirmed. He was speaking at the official launch of the Council. This strategy will be the result of the efforts of a number of committees that will undertake different “work streams” over three phases, or “waves”, during the course of this year.

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    South Africa’s National Defence Industry Council (NDIC) was formally launched by Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula on March 3. “Today marks an historic day in the existence of the South African Defence Industry and its relationship with the South African government and the DoD [Department of Defence] as the lead department,” she said in her keynote address.

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    Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu on Tuesday denied claims by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) that she was moved from the defence department to her present post as minister of human settlements after she allegedly refused to lease aircraft from the controversial Gupta family. “The minister has noted statement made by the EFF on her tenure as the minister of defence and military veterans. The minister is unaware and has no knowledge of the allegations made by the EFF,” said the ministry of human settlements in a statement.

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    The European Commission’s (EC’s) investigation into allegations that aviation original-equipment manufactures (OEMs) have abused their dominant market positions has been joined, in the role of a complainant, by the International Air Transport Association (Iata). The association announced this on Wednesday. The investigation, being conducted by the EC’s Directorate General for Competition, was launched last year, with the sending of questionnaires to a number of participants in the industry, including airlines that are members of Iata. The purpose was to collect information that could support allegations of OEM abuses in the areas of aftermarket repairs (including services and parts).

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    The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) on Monday said it refused to get involved in petty party politics. This followed calls by the members of the South African National Defence Union (Sandu) for lawful means to be used to remove President Jacob Zuma from office as it believed he was no longer fit to be the commander-in-chief of the defence force.

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    The investigation into the conduct of three top officials of Denel suspended in September last year should be concluded by the end of June, said Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown on Wednesday. Addressing members of the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises, Brown said the three suspended officials – CEO Riaz Saloojee, CFO Fikile Mhlontlo and group company secretary Elizabeth Africa – asked for more time to give their input into the investigation. Fin24 revealed the trio had been ...

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    South African defence vehicle systems company, Denel Land Systems, is marketing its new generation of mine-protected armoured personnel carriers – the Casspir NG 2000 – as a multirole vehicular platform to suit peacekeeping, demining and support operations in war-torn regions. Dylan Slater tells us more.

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    South African defence company Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) has helped set up a munitions manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia in a venture with that country’s Military Industries Corporation (MIC), the Saudi Press Agency has reported. According to MIC head Mohammad Almadhi the establishment of the plant cost some $240-million and it was built under license from, and with the assistance of, RDM. The new factory was opened on March 27 by South African President Jacob Zuma and by Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz. (Prince Mohammed is also his country’s Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the MIC). The facility is located at Al-Kharj, in central Saudi Arabia, south of the capital, Riyadh. The plant will manufacture 60 mm, 81 mm and 120 mm mortar bombs, 105 mm and 155 mm artillery shells and aircraft bombs ranging from 226 kg (500 lb) to 907 kg (2 000 lb). It is composed of nine industrial buildings, each with its own specific function, including heat treatments and surface treatments, assembly and filling, processing, packaging, destructive and non-destructive testing.

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    Defence vehicle systems company Denel Land Systems (DLS) is continuing to update and broaden the versatility of the Casspir family of mine-protected vehicles – a move that is not only safeguarding the South African-developed platform, but also helping the vehicle to shed its controversial past links to apartheid.

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    Defence vehicle systems company Denel Land Systems (DLS) is continuing to update and broaden the versatility of the Casspir family of mine-protected vehicles – a move that is not only safeguarding the South African-developed platform, but also helping the vehicle to shed its controversial past links to apartheid. ‘Casspir’ is an anagram derived from the abbreviations of the names of its developer, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and the (then) South African Police (SAP), for which it was designated. The original Casspir was designed in the late 1970s by Dr Vernon Joynt, of the CSIR.

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    Major US aerospace and defence group Lockheed Martin believes that the ability of its C-130J Hercules II military airlifter to be reconfigured for other missions by use of palletised roll-on roll-off systems opens the way to significant South African industrial participation, should the South African Air Force (SAAF) order the aircraft. The SAAF currently operates a number of first-generation C-130BZ Hercules, originally acquired in 1963 and so now some 53 years old. “Roll-on, roll-off [mission] modules would provide excellent industrial participation opportunities for South African industry,” affirmed Lockheed Martin VP: Business Development Initiatives Dennys Plessas in a media briefing on Wednesday. “We’d work with Denel and other companies [on this].” Various countries already use such modules to give their C-130J aircraft multi-mission capability. “Most of them [modules] are built by other companies [not Lockheed Martin]”, pointed out Lockheed Martin International Business Development (C-130J, Maritime and Special Mission Aircraft) executive Scott Burleson. He added that South African industry would be perfectly capable of producing such modules.

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    South Africa's Treasury said on Wednesday it was still considering an application by State-owned arms manufacturer Denel to do business with a company owned by the Gupta family, which has been under scrutiny over its alleged close ties to President Jacob Zuma. South Africa's top banks and some audit firms recently cut ties with the holding company for the Gupta family's businesses, Oakbay Investments, following speculation that the family has undue influence with Zuma. Some of those companies cited reputational risk as a reason for ending the ties.

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    State-owned defence industrial group Denel issued a press release on Thursday stating that it will continue to discuss with National Treasury the issue of its joint venture with private sector South Africa company VR Laser, to create a Hong Kong-based company to be called Denel Asia, to resolve “any misunderstanding” about the deal “amicably”. Denel issued the statement in reaction to press reports about National Treasury’s attitude to the deal On Wednesday the National Treasury put out a media release stating that it had “noted … that Denel may have entered into a joint venture to form a company that will operate from a jurisdiction in Asia.” It then pointed out that any such deal would have to have the approval of the Minister of Finance and/or the Minister of Public Enterprises. Furthermore, in terms of the conditions attached to the giving to Denel of loan guarantees worth R1.85-billion, any significant transaction Denel undertook would have to be approved by both these Ministers.

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    The Brazilian side of the joint South African/Brazilian A-Darter missile development programme has been significantly affected by severe emergency budget cuts that have taken place in the South American country. The A-Darter is a fifth-generation infrared (IR) homing air-to-air missile (AAM). Fortunately, development of the missile has been concluded and last year South African defence acquisition, disposals and research and development agency Armscor placed a production contract for the missile with the lead company on the project, Denel Dynamics, part of South Africa’s State-owned Denel defence industrial group. This contract was for missiles for the South African Air Force (SAAF) and covers five years.

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     State-owned defence industrial group Denel will be signing two landmark agreements with counterparts in the Malaysian industry during this week’s Defence Asia Exhibition – DSA2016 – in Kuala Lumpur.   The agreements formed part of the offset arrangements contained in the 2012 contract to supply turrets and integrated weapon systems for the new generation of armoured vehicles that would be used by the Malaysian defence force. Designed and developed by Denel Landward Solutions (DLS), this was ...

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    The Seriti commission’s finding that there was no evidence of government corruption in the 1999 arms deal amounted to a predictable but disappointing whitewash, opposition politicians said on Thursday after President Jacob Zuma made it public in a televised address. Zuma said the commission found no support or corroboration for allegations of corruption in selecting the arms manufacturers contracted by the South African government, and encountered not a shred of evidence that any of the “senior politicians in the government of the day” were bribed.

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    South African defence company Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) has helped set up a munitions manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia in a venture with that country’s Military Industries Corporation (MIC), the Saudi Press Agency has reported. According to MIC head Mohammad Almadhi the establishment of the plant cost some $240-million and it was built under license from, and with the assistance of, RDM.

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