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Latest news on the defence and aerospace sector.

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    Engineering solutions provider Ansys on Wednesday hosted investors and media on a tour of its technology investment business unit Parsec’s manufacturing facility, in Irene, Gauteng. Ansys CEO Rynier van der Watt highlighted that the facility was dedicated to the manufacture of high-end technology and had received a number of manufacturing certifications, including certification from cybersecurity company BAE Systems that had led to the company manufacturing components used on the Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft.

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    South African defence company Denel PMP, part of the State-owned Denel group, highlighted on Thursday the latest version of its iNkunzi PAW semiautomatic weapon, the iNkunzi PAW A2 (iNkunzi means Bull). The iNkunzi PAW (the acronym stands for Personal Area Weapon) fires 20 mm bursting ammunition and has a maximum range of 1 000 m. Denel describes the iNkunzi as “one of the most effective personal area weapons in the world …. designed to meet the needs of the modern combat soldier who requires a light weight, yet highly effective, personal area weapon. It is carried by a single soldier and fired from the shoulder.”

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    Earlier this week Canada-based hybrid airship manufacturer Solar Ship challenged US aerospace, defence and security technologies company Lockheed Martin to undertake an intercontinental friendly air race to raise international awareness about hybrid aircraft and renewable-energy technologies in the aviation sector.

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    As part of its ongoing contribution to combat wildlife poaching, Johannesburg-based societal upliftment organisation the Ichikowitz Family Foundation, donated a Aérospatiale Gazelle helicopter as part of a package to assist Gabon in fighting a poaching epidemic destroying the country’s forest elephants.

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    South African State-owned defence industrial group Denel announced at the end of last month that extensive testing of the Denel Dynamics Umkhonto (“Spear”, in English) naval surface-to-air missile, for an export customer, would take place early next year. The Umkhonto forms part of the armament of two German-designed and -built Meko frigates being acquired by the customer navy. The first of these ships, fitted with the Umkhonto, has already been delivered. The second completed its final sea acceptance trials in October.

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    Engineering solutions provider Ansys earlier this month hosted investors and media on a tour of its technology investment business unit Parsec’s manufacturing facility, in Irene, Gauteng. Ansys CEO Rynier van der Watt highlighted that the facility is dedicated to the manufacture of high-end technology and has received a number of manufacturing certifications, including certification from cybersecurity company BAE Systems that has led to the company manufacturing components used on the Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft.

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    Strategic outsourcing company CSG Holdings, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Invictus Risk, will purchase the armed response and monitoring division of Stallion Reaction as a going concern for about R57-million.   The transaction includes individual client and commercial contracts, the armed response services provided on an outsourced basis on behalf of two other security companies and specific assets and employees, but excludes the domestic guarding and closed-circuit television monitoring ...

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    Despite 2016 being an “unusually difficult year from a production perspective”, European airliner manufacturer Airbus Commercial Aircraft met all its delivery targets for the year, company president Fabrice Brégier told journalists worldwide on Wednesday. “I’m very proud to tell you we have delivered 688 aircraft, which is another Airbus record. We’ve enjoyed 14 consecutive years of production growth. In December alone we delivered 110 aircraft.” Last year saw the company ramp up production of two new types in its product range – the A320 new engine option (neo) and the all-new A350XWB. Both programmes suffered difficulties, the A320neo with delays in engine deliveries and the A350XWB with problems with cabin fittings, including lavatories and some seats (both supplied by subcontractors).

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    The South African National Space Agency (Sansa) announced on Thursday that its new CEO is Dr Valanathan Munsami. His appointment took effect on January 3. He has replaced Sansa’s first CEO, Dr Sandile Malinga, who resigned last August after five years in the office. (Potlaki Maine acted as interim CEO between then and now.) Munsami has held various positions in the Department of Science and Technology (DST), including that of chief specialist for astronomy. His last post in the DST was chief science and technology representative. Whilst at the DST, he was heavily involved in astronomy and space matters, including the development of a National Multi-Wavelength Astronomy Strategy and the Square Kilometre Array (radio telescope) Readiness Strategy.

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    Last week a senior officer of the Finnish Navy indicated that his service was interested in acquiring an improved version of the South African Umkhonto naval surface-to-air missile (SAM). Commodore (Cdre) Veli-Pekka Heinonen, was talking to the journal “IHS Jane’s Navy International”. Cdre Heinonen is Chief of the Maritime Systems Division of the Finnish Defence Forces’ Logistics Command. He was talking to the British publication about the Finnish Navy’s current major modernisation programme, Squadron 2020, which will transform the country’s fleet. This programme involves both the upgrading of some existing vessels and the acquisition of new ships, to replace older craft which will be obsolete by the 2020s. 

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    The South African Air Force (SAAF) has been brought in to assist firefighters who have been stretched to the limit as at least 19 fires rage across the Western Cape. In a statement on Tuesday, Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell said a fire in Paarl was out of control on Tuesday and was being fanned by strong winds.

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    South African defence group Denel reported on Thursday that its subsidiary, Denel Vehicle Systems, was on track to complete an export order to Namibia by the end of March. The order is for eight RG32M vehicles and four Self Defence Remotely Operated Weapon (SDROW) stations. The group described the contract as “a substantial one” but gave no monetary value for it. The mine-resistant light armoured RG32M vehicles being delivered to Namibia have been modified for operations in that country. These changes are based on experience gained from the use of RG32Ms by other countries in other parts of Africa, as well as Asia, the Balkans and the Middle East.

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    French aerospace journal “Air et Cosmos” and British defence media group Jane’s have both reported that the Indonesian government has approved the purchase of five Airbus A400M military airlifter aircraft. Both cite local Indonesian media as the source of the information. According to the French publication, the deal will be worth $2-billion. “Air et Cosmos” points out that this makes Indonesia the second export client for the A400M, after near neighbour Malaysia. The publication speculated that Malaysia’s experience with the aircraft may have influenced Jakarta’s decision. Malaysia ordered four A400Ms, three of which have now been delivered. Furthermore, the journal noted that Indonesia has extensive experience with other Airbus defence products, operating both the CN235 and C295 light/medium transport aircraft. Indeed, the CN235 was originally developed as a joint project between Spain’s CASA (now part of Airbus) and Indonesia’s IPTN (now PTDI or Indonesian Aerospace), and is manufactured in Indonesia as well as in Europe. PTDI also manufactures components for the C295 and Airbus’ giant A380 airliner and has assembled C295s for the Indonesian Air Force.

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    Newly appointed CEO of the South African National Space Agency (Sansa), Dr Val Munsami, will be actively seeking to identify and exploit potential areas in which to grow the activities and income of the organisation. “Our baseline budget is constrained,” he points out. “We are matching inflation. The key issue us: how do we use the assets and capabilities we have, to leverage more?”

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    Earlier this month a senior officer of the Finnish Navy indicated that his service was interested in acquiring an improved version of the South African Umkhonto naval surface-to-air missile (SAM). Commodore (Cdre) Veli-Pekka Heinonen was talking to the journal “IHS Jane’s Navy International”. Cdre Heinonen is Chief of the Maritime Systems Division of the Finnish Defence Forces’ Logistics Command.

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    Stakeholders in the country’s defence industry adopted the Defence Sector Charter, which is intended to promote black economic empowerment in the sector, on Tuesday. The decision was taken at a stakeholder consultation session, which was attended by industry experts, suppliers, trade union representatives, representatives of military veterans, and officials from the Department of Defence and Military Veterans (DDMV), defence acquisition and disposals agency Armscor and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The next steps will the presentation of the charter to the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans and to the National Defence Industry Council. The Minister will then forward it to the Minister of Trade and Industry; thereafter the DTI will publish it for 60 days for further public comment, after which it will be gazetted as the Defence Sector Code.

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    French aerospace journal “Air et Cosmos” and British defence media group Jane’s have both reported that the Indonesian government has approved the purchase of five Airbus A400M military airlifter aircraft. Both cite local Indonesian media as the source of the information. According to the French publication, the deal would be worth $2-billion. These reports have so far not been confirmed either by Airbus or Indonesia. Also, it is possible that Indonesia is intending to buy aircraft already ordered by one of the original programme partner countries, but now regarded as surplus to requirements, and not acquire them directly from Airbus. (Although this would be unusual as Indonesia would then be unable to specify any bespoke systems it might desire for its aircraft.)

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    Stakeholders in the country’s defence industry have adopted the Defence Sector Charter, which is intended to promote black economic empowerment (BEE) in the sector. The decision was taken at a recent stakeholder consultation session, which was attended by industry experts, suppliers, trade union representatives, representatives of military veterans, and officials from the Department of Defence and Military Veterans, defence acquisition and disposals agency Armscor and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

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    South Africa’s defence acquisition, disposals and research and development agency Armscor announced on Thursday the preferred bidders to supply ships for the South African Navy’s (SAN’s) projects Biro and Hotel. They are Damen Shipyards Cape Town and South African Shipyards. Project Biro is for the construction of three offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) and three inshore patrol vessels (IPVs). Damen is the preferred bidder for both types. Project Hotel is for the construction of a new hydrographic survey ship, although the Armscor press release describes it as a “Hydrographic Survey Capability”.

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    The three South African Defence Force members who died in a "freak accident" at the army’s naval base in Durban, were trying to rescue three contract workers screaming for help at the bottom of a sewage pit after a gas leak, says the SANDF. The SANDF's Brigadier-General Mafi Mgobozi said contract workers from the Department of Public Works were working in the sewage pit at the naval base. There were suddenly screams for help.

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