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Latest news on the defence and aerospace sector.

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    State-owned defence industrial group Denel announced on May 15 that its Group CEO, Zwelakhe Ntshepe, had resigned. The resignation was with effect from that same day. He had been appointed Group CEO only six months ago, following two years in which he had been acting in that capacity. Ntshepe had been with Denel for 20 years. He stated that his resignation was for personal reasons. Recently appointed Board Chairperson (Ms) Monhla Hlahla expressed the Board’s thanks to him for his contribution to Denel.

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  • 05/25/18--10:55: Lost in space?
  • Analysts say that the planet Earth’s rapidly-growing space economy could hit $600-billion by 2030 and $1-trillion by 2040. Clearly, the space economy, worth some $350-billion today, is growing rapidly.

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    Defence and aerospace company Paramount Group’s joint venture in Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering (KPE), has secured a new and substantial order from the government of Kazakhstan for its advanced 4 x 4 mine-protected armoured personnel carrier, the Arlan. This follows the recent announcement that KPE has delivered a large batch of Arlans, the localised version of Paramount’s Marauder, to the Kazakhstan Special Forces as the company’s local manufacturing facilities continue to accelerate production.

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    South African enterprise Space Advisory Company (SAC), part of the Somerset West, Western Cape province-based SCS Aerospace Group, has supplied a key component for a joint Dutch-Chinese science payload on China’s recently launched Chang’e-4 spacecraft. The component is a digital controller unit, integrated into the Netherlands-China Low Frequency Explorer (NCLE) payload. “The controller unit supplied by us forms a critical part of the digital receiver system for the NCLE instrument,” explained SAC CEO Duncan Stanton. “The instrument was built by the Radboud Radio Lab from the Radboud University, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, and Innovative Solutions in Space in Delft.”

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    Ugandan Parliamentarians on the budget committee have expressed mixed feelings over a classified increase in expenditure for the Ugandan People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), querying whether the money may be hidden away and used by the government at a later stage for political activities, to the detriment of the economy.

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    Trade union Solidarity claimed on Wednesday that the reported fuel purchase contract, which failed to follow prescribed tender procedures, placed by State-owned airline SA Express with a little known company, EML Energy, had been placed while Victor Xaba had been acting CEO of the airline. Xaba is now acting CEO of Denel Aeronautics. The three-year contract was worth R2.4-billion and was awarded despite the fact that SA Express already had a ten-year contract with South African Airways (a separate State-owned airline) for the supply of fuel. According to the company website, EML was set up in 2006, was active at Denel’s Aeronautics facility at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport as well as at the Polokwane International Airport and owned a fuel farm with a capacity of 576 000 litres. But it does not seem to have yet supplied a single litre to SA Express. “It is alarming that such a major deal, for which tender procedures were not followed at all, could slip past a CEO unnoticed,” asserted Solidarity Deputy General Secretary Deon Reyneke. “If Mr Xaba was worth his salt as a CEO, he would have seen to it that the tender process took its lawful course, and the controversial R2.4-billion tender would not have been awarded to an unknown music promoter.”

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    Global machine tool supplier Hurco’s BX40i double-column, bridge-type machine, originally launched in 2016, has been upgraded to service a variety of trades, from general manufacturing to highly specialised industries such as the aerospace sector. The stability of the double-column design and the overall weight (9 100 kg) of the BX40i provides accuracy and high-quality surface-finish capabilities. While designed specifically for the mould-making market and aerospace industries, the BX40i meets the needs of any high-speed machining application that requires higher tolerances, while enabling the machine to operate at optimum spindle speeds.

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    Regional airliner manufacturers are seeing a major adjustment in African airline markets as airlines "right-size" their fleets, adopting more economical, regional types (especially regional jets). This was made clear at the recent 27th African Aviation Summit (Air Finance Africa) by representatives of both the major regional jet original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), Canada's Bombardier and Brazil's Embraer.

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    With the 2018 Manufacturing Indaba’s focus being on the development of intra-Africa trade, event organiser Siyenza Management MD Liz Hart says the event will bring key stakeholders together to create opportunities for engagement and dialogue. She tells Engineering News that Africa has many of the ingredients of industrial success. African countries must unleash this potential by embarking on a bold agenda driven by private-sector-led investments in industrial transformation.

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    State-owned Denel has been granted an extension to repay its unsecured debt that was due on June 10. The extension is on a R290-million debt note that was taken up by Regiments Capital in June 2013, and a R400-million debt note in November 2015 and is “a welcome relief to the company as it resolves it current challenges”, the aerospace company said on Monday.

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    South African company Desert Wolf has started Phase 2 of its contract to design, manufacture and deliver stainless steel diesel-fired field kitchens to the South African National Defence Force, ordered under Project Teamster. The company only uses stainless steel to make its trailers. “During 2016 and 2017 we completed the design and manufacture of the first phase of the project, which encompassed a mobile field cooking unit for 15 people ([designated] FCU-15),” explained company MD Hennie Kieser. “The cornerstone innovation comes from our BOMA-30D 5.5 kW diesel stove using a combination of [grade] 304 and 3CR12 stainless steel, which runs in the field on any grade of diesel available across Africa.” The business uses 3CR12 stainless steel to manufacture the chassis of its trailers, while bodies are made from either 304 or 316 stainless steel. The choice of 304 or 316 is dependent on the intended operating environment of the trailer.

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    Egypt has appointed a new minister of defence in a cabinet sworn in on Thursday by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to mark the start of his second term in office. Mohamed Ahmed Zaki Mohamed was named minister of defence, replacing Sedki Sobhi.

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    In South Africa, the aerospace and defence industries have a responsibility to provide technological leadership for the rest of the economy. This is because they are leading sectors for the development, introduction and use of innovations and new technologies, argues Centurion Aerospace Village (CAV) CEO Lance Schultz.

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    The Intelligence business of Airbus Defence and Space (Airbus DS) will soon be able to provide clients with a digital platform for imagery (largely, but not solely, from satellites). Called OneAtlas, it is the result of years of development work and testing by the company, which operates its own constellation of optical and radar Earth observation satellites. These provide a broad spectrum of multi-spectral imagery, from wide-swathe low-resolution to narrow-swathe high-resolution. In future, it may also operate very high altitude, extremely long endurance (as long as three months) unmanned air vehicles, a category it designates as high-altitude pseudo-satellites. (Airbus DS is currently manufacturing such aircraft, for the UK Royal Air Force.)

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    Denel CFO Odwa Mhlwana has been placed on special leave pending a disciplinary process into allegations of misconduct against him. Denel on Monday said its board has taken this step for the purposes of creating a conducive environment that will allow for the start of a verification process in respect of the allegations of misconduct against Mhlwana.

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    Global aerospace major Airbus has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the government of the Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) to create a cooperation framework which, in turn, will facilitate the development of the West African country’s aerospace industry. The Côte d’Ivoire government has identified this sector as “strategic” for the country’s economic development. “We are confident that this partnership with Airbus will contribute to Côte d’Ivoire’s economic growth as well as support us [to] build a stronger framework for industrial development, creation of jobs and capacity building for our country,” said Ivorian Vice-President Daniel Kablan Duncan. “We are committed to deliver on our vision and make Côte d’Ivoire a hub for aerospace technology in Africa.”

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    Some South African National Defence Force (SANDF) officials fall foul of the law by losing or stealing official firearms and ammunition, and at least one of these weapons has ended up being used during a cash-in-transit heist, Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula revealed this week. She was responding to a parliamentary question by FF Plus leader and MP Pieter Groenewald. Groenewald wanted more clarity on details she previously gave him last year on how many SANDF weapons and ammunition were lost ...

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    Exhibitors at the fourth edition of the Fastener Fair Turkey 2018 welcomed high calibre Turkish and international visitors for three days, with a total of 2 900 managers, engineers and buyers visiting the event. This represents an impressive 70% growth, compared with the 2016 show.

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    Seychelles parliament will not ratify a pact allowing India to build naval facilities on one of the archipelago’s islands, a top foreign affairs ministry official said on Friday. The two countries signed an agreement in January to build military facilities on the remote island of Assumption, but the project quickly attracted criticism from opposition members of the tiny Indian Ocean nation’s parliament and lead to public protests.

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    Global aerospace major Airbus has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of the Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) to create a cooperation framework which, in turn, will facilitate the development of the West African country’s aerospace industry. The Côte d’Ivoire Government has identified this sector as “strategic” for the country’s economic development.

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