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Latest news on the defence and aerospace sector.

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    South African defence acquisition and disposal, research and development (R&D) agency Armscor Chairperson, retired Vice Admiral Refiloe Mudimu, has pledged the organisation's support for local small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), especially black-owned ones, seeking to enter the defence sector. "Armscor ... stands ready to assist in any way.” He was addressing the recent Armscor Supplier Open Day in Centurion, south of Pretoria. "We have called this meeting to know what we can do to help you," he said.

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    Defence and aerospace company Paramount Group has unveiled a new-generation eight-wheeled armoured vehicle in Astana, Kazakhstan, during the yearly Kazakhstan Defence Exhibition. The Mbombe 8 infantry combat vehicle was designed to meet global demand for sophisticated and affordable military equipment that provided protection for land forces personnel in an era of unprecedented asymmetrical threats and conflict.

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    European airline manufacturer Airbus, part of the wider Airbus Group, has launched the 2017 Fly Your Ideas challenge for students around the world. Fly Your Ideas seeks to stimulate co-innovation between Airbus and, where relevant, its supplier companies, and universities around the world. "Airbus challenges students worldwide to innovate for the future of aviation," affirmed company Executive VP Engineering Charles Champion at the recent Airbus Innovation Days 2016 aviation press conference in Hamburg. The programme has the status of a formal partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

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    Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Brégier told the world's aviation media at the company’s recent Innovation Days briefing that "[t]he focus for 2016 is, no surprise, it is to deliver!" The company, part of the wider Airbus Group, is currently seeking to ramp up production and deliveries of its new A350-900 wide body and re-engined and refined A320neo (new engine option) single-aisle airliners. He noted that deliveries of A350-900s during 2014/2015 were in line with the company's plan. The target for deliveries this year is 50. "We've delivered only nine, so 41 to go. We'll rush to the end of this year to achieve it." (The A350-900 is the first member of the A350 XWB family.)

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    Worldwide, air transport has proven very resilient over the past 45 years, despite periodic major crises. This was highlighted by Airbus Chief Operating Officer Customers John Leahy to international aerospace journalists at the company’s recent Innovation Days briefing in Hamburg. Since 1970, when the Boeing 747 Jumbo jet first entered commercial service, air traffic has grown by 12 times, he pointed out. Crises, namely, the oil crises of the early 1970s and 1980s, the Gulf crisis of 1990/1991, the Asian crisis of the later 1990s, the crisis triggered by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 ("9/11") on the US, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (better known as SARS) outbreak of the early 2000s and the 2008 financial crisis, only inflicted temporary delays in the growth of the sector. "Now, we are double the size of the industry on 9/11," he noted.

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    A newly released international survey of senior manufacturing executives highlights growth as being a key priority for most enterprises, which, in the context of weak underlying economic conditions, is suggestive of a “brutal competitive fight” for market share in the coming two years. In fact, 74% of the 360 respondents to the 2016 KPMG International Global Manufacturing Outlook (GMO) described growth as a “high priority”, with more than half describing their strategies for achieving growth as “aggressive”.

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    AltX-listed technology group Ansys has completed its intensive acquisitive and consolidation phase to integrate and extend its offerings to its four target sectors, leading to positive results for the 13 months to March 31 and setting the group on a path of good organic growth during the current financial year. The company, which shifted its year-end from February to March, had acquired and integrated Tedaka Technologies in 2014 and electronics engineering company Parsec Holdings and its subsidiaries in 2015.

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    Russia is proposing a number of potential trade, investment and economic development projects within the framework of the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (Brics) alignment. These cover a wide range of sectors, including energy, water resources, mining and mining equipment, the foundry industry, metallurgy, mechanical engineering, aerospace, automotive, capital equipment, electronics, agriculture and agricultural equipment, satellite navigation and science and technology.

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    With a comprehensive range of modern or modernised designs, European airliner manufacturer Airbus (part of the larger Airbus Group) is currently focused on the incremental improvement and further development of its existing airliner designs (as well as manufacturing processes and services, not covered in this article). “Our incremental development strategy is taking shape,” affirmed Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Brégier at his company’s recent annual Innovation Days aviation media conference.

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    There is further room to increase bilateral trade and investment and expand cooperation between South Africa and France, particularly in energy and infrastructure, President Jacob Zuma said on Monday. Zuma, currently on his second State visit to France to meet with French counterpart President François Hollande, indicated that increased industrialisation, localisation, job creation and skills development linked to the large infrastructure and energy contracts secured by French companies remained a top priority.

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    US aerospace giant Boeing has forecast that the global market demand for new airliners will total 39 620 over the next 20 years, worth $5.9-trillion. This represents a 4.1% rise over last year’s forecast. These predictions were made in the company’s 2016 'Current Market Outlook', released on Monday at the Farnborough International Airshow in the UK. Air passenger traffic is expected to grow at 4.8% a year over the same period. Airfreight should increase by 4.2% annually, creating a need for 930 new freighter aircraft and 1 440 conversions of airliners into freighter aircraft. “Despite recent events that have impacted the financial markets, the aviation sector will continue to see long-term growth with the commercial fleet doubling in size,” highlighted Boeing Commercial Airplanes VP: marketing Randy Tinseth.

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    European major airliner manufacturer Airbus has forecast, in its latest Global Market Forecast, that the world will require 33 000 new commercial aircraft, worth $5.2-trillion, over the next 20 years. The forecast was released by the company at the Farnborough International Airshow on Monday. This figure is made up of 32 425 airliners (with more than 100 seats each) and 645 freighter aircraft (with a capacity greater than 10 t). This demand will be driven by an annual increase in passenger numbers of 4.5% and by 2035 the global commercial aircraft fleet will total nearly 40 000, twice today’s number of 19 500. During this period, about 13 000 existing airliners and air freighters will be replaced by new, more fuel efficient, aircraft. In the single-aisle sector, the company predicts a demand for more than 23 500 new aircraft, with a value of $2.4-trillion. Single-aisle aircraft will account for 71% of the total demand for new aircraft. Airbus noted that its A320 and A320neo (new engine option) families were the world market leaders in this category.

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    State-owned arms supplier Armscor has said a cyber breach on its website has not resulted in classified or sensitive information being leaked. Hacktivists claiming links to the Anonymous group have breached Armscor’s website, dumping hundreds of records linked to the company’s settlement and invoicing system on the dark web.

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    The rise of additive manufacturing technology, or three-dimensional (3D) printing, is spurring accelerated levels of development in a broad range of items, as concepts can be manufactured at a fraction of the costs and time it would otherwise have taken to develop parts using conventional methods, says Pretoria-based additive manufacturing technology company 3D Solids.

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    With 57 of its twin-engined light and medium tactical transport aircraft already in service with 14 countries in Africa, Airbus Defence and Space (DS), part of the Airbus Group, believes its products are ideal to meet the continent’s needs, both regarding transport and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. This African fleet is composed of 18 C212 light transports and ten CN235 and 29 larger C295 light/medium transports. These are operated by the air forces or air wings of Angola, Algeria, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Lesotho, Morocco, Senegal, South Africa and Zimbabwe. In addition, Mali has one aircraft on order.

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  • 07/17/16--07:25: Denel denies Gupta capture
  • State-owned defence conglomerate Denel on Thursday sought to refute allegations that it had been co-opted by the Gupta family to give a R1-billion contract to VR Laser instead of LMT Holdings, which has cried foul and turned to the high court. "Denel wish to respond to the adverse reporting which was carried by certain publications today," Vuyelwa Qinga, Denel communications officer said in a statement.

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  • 07/20/16--08:24: Paramount, QinetiQ sign MoU
  • South African defence and aerospace company Paramount Group has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with UK-based QinetiQ to identify areas of mutual interest by sharing opportunity, design, technology and global market intelligence. The MoU is expected to facilitate collaboration on a number of areas including rotary and fixed wing upgrades, mission systems enhancements, aerostructures, unmanned aerial vehicles and leveraging synergies in the maritime and naval environment.

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    Arms deal critic Terry Crawford-Browne has filed an application at the Constitutional Court, asking it to set aside the Seriti Commission's report. In a statement released on Tuesday, Crawford-Browne said he had requested the court to set aside the commission’s report, and to "instruct the Minister of Finance to recover monies – now estimated at over R70-billion – that were irrationally and fraudulently spent on the arms deal".

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    South African State-owned aerospace and defence company Denel’s subsidiary, Denel Vehicle Systems, has shipped its first batch of the RG31 mine-resistant vehicles to the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE’s) Armed Forces.   The RG31 is a mobile mortar platform (MMP) with 4 x 4 capabilities, mobility and protection against antitank mines and explosive devices.   Denel Vehicle Systems CEO Johan Steyn says an order for 24 RG31 MMP vehicles was placed by its client in the UAE, International Golden Group ...

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    Advancing teaching innovation and research excellence in higher education will be the focus of this year’s Annual Teaching & Learning in Higher Education Conference. The conference, in its tenth year, is an international gathering of academics and researchers that will be held at the Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani Hotel, in Durban, from September 20 to 22.

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