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Latest news on the defence and aerospace sector.

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    European-based aerospace giant Airbus recently published its forecast for new airliner and freighter aircraft demand for the next 20 years. The Group’s “Global Market Forecast 2018-2037” predicts a need for 37 390 new passenger and freighter aircraft over this period, taking the global fleet of such aircraft to a total of 48 000 (including existing aircraft that will still be in service).

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    US aerospace giant Boeing and Brazilian aerospace major Embraer have jointly announced that they had signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding to create a commercial aviation joint venture (JV). Boeing will hold 80% of the JV and Embraer the remaining 20%. The deal has still to be approved by shareholders, regulators, and the Brazilian Government. All being well, the deal is expected to be closed by the end of next year, some 12 to 18 months after the implementation of the definitive agreements.

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    Global commercial aerospace giants Airbus and Boeing have each reported hundreds of orders for their airliners at this year’s Farnborough International Airshow, currently under way in the UK. (The trade days being from Monday to Friday, with Saturday and Sunday the public days.) Boeing announced 673 “orders and commitments” for airliners and freighters, worth (at list prices) $98.4-billion. The group also announced orders and agreements worth $2.1-billion for commercial and defence services. Airbus reported “new business” for 431 aeroplanes, divided into 93 firm orders and 338 Memorandums of Understanding, but did not give a monetary value for these undertakings. The “commitments” for Airbus were composed of 60 A220-300s, 304 A320-family airliners, 42 A330neos (new engine options) and 25 A350 XWBs. The A220-300 was previously the Bombardier CS300, part of a small airliner family (the other, smaller, member of which was the CS100, now A220-100) recently acquired by Airbus. The A320-family aircraft are single-aisle airliners (larger than the A220s), while the A330 and A350 XWB families are wide-body airliners. “Notably,” highlighted the group, “the 42 commitments for the new A330neo includes both the -800 and -900 models – a strong endorsement at the show for this family.”

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    Africa will need 29 000 pilots over the next 20 years, US aerospace group Boeing has forecast. The continent will also need 28 000 technicians and 29 000 cabin crew. These predictions were made in the group’s 2018 “Pilot & Technician Outlook”, released on Tuesday. The report divides the world into seven regions: Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, North America, and Russia and Central Asia. The region which will see the greatest demand is the Asia-Pacific, which will need 261 000 pilots, 257 000 technicians and 321 000 cabin crew. The region with the lowest demand will be Russia and Central Asia, which will require 27 000 pilots, 27 000 technicians and 29 000 cabin crew. Worldwide, the commercial aviation demand for pilots will be 635 000, for technicians 622 000 and for cabin crew 858 000. Additionally, globally, the business aviation sector will require 96 000 pilots, 89 000 technicians and 32 000 cabin crew, and the civil helicopter sector will account for 59 000 pilots and 43 000 technicians.

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    The number of applications for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs/unmanned aerial systems (UASes) in Africa was increasing rapidly, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) principal aeronautical engineer John Monk told the aviation session of the recent Southern African Transport Conference, in Pretoria.

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    The legal team for Thales South Africa, indicted alongside former President Jacob Zuma for fraud and corruption related to the decades old multimillion-rand arms deal, will seek to have a permanent stay of prosecution. The French arms company also believes attempts by the National Director of Public Prosecutions head, Advocate Shaun Abrahams, to add further charges, has been confusing as a charge Abrahams wants to include in the indictment does not exist. 

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    Brazilian aerospace major Embraer’s new generation smaller (less than 150 seats) single-aisle airliners, the E2 family, are attracting considerable interest in Africa, Embraer Commercial Aviation VP: Middle East and Africa Raul Villaron told Engineering News Online on Friday. From smallest to biggest, the E2 family is composed of the E175-E2, the E190-E2 and the E195-E2. “There is huge interest from Africa,” he affirmed. As a consequence, the first continental tour by an E2 company demonstrator fitted with a full passenger cabin (an E190-E2) has been undertaken across Africa. This aircraft flew a demonstration flight from Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport on Friday.

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    South African National Defence Force (SANDF) chief General Solly Shoke reiterated on Tuesday that reports about the smuggling of arms to Cuba on a chartered South African Airways (SAA) flight were misguided and sensationalist. Speaking at an SANDF media briefing in Centurion, Shoke said the equipment on the aircraft was being sent to South Africans receiving training in Cuba. This was so that they could train with equipment familiar to them. Shoke said because of budgetary constraints in the ...

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    Global aerospace giant Boeing has predicted that 42 730 new jet airliners, worth $6.3-trillion, will be needed to meet demand over the next 20 years. This forecast was unveiled in the group’s “Commercial Market Outlook”, released at the recent Farnborough International Airshow in the UK. This figure is 4.1% higher that that given in the company’s previous forecast. Adding the existing aircraft which will still be in service at the end of this period, and the global airliner fleet will amount to 48 540 in 2037 – effectively twice the size of the current fleet.

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    Global commercial aerospace giants Airbus and Boeing have each reported hundreds of orders for their airliners at this year’s Farnborough International Airshow, in the UK. Boeing announced 673 “orders and commitments” for airliners and freighters, worth (at list prices) $98.4-billion. The group also announced orders and agreements worth $2.1-billion for commercial and defence services. Airbus reported “new business” for 431 aeroplanes, divided into 93 firm orders and 338 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs), but did not give a monetary value for these undertakings.

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    Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) manufacturer Denel Dynamics (which also produces missiles and space technology) has called for a national programme to integrate UAVs (popularly called drones) into the country’s civilian controlled air space. Controlled air space is air space in which all air traffic is monitored and directed by air traffic control. Addressing the aviation session of the recent Southern African Transport Conference in Pretoria, Denel Dynamics Executive Manager: Programmes Patrick Ndlovu urged a collaborative effort between UAV manufacturers, air navigation equipment manufacturers, the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) and other air space users.

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    The European Union has asked the World Trade Organization to certify that it has complied with WTO rulings on its subsidies for planemaker Airbus, attempting to forestall-billions of dollars of US sanctions, a document published by the WTO showed on Monday. The legal move is the latest step in a 14-year-old trade dispute between the EU and the United States over funding for Airbus and its US rival Boeing.

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    Pan-African low cost carrier Fastjet (which operates under the brand fastjet) is continuing its programme of optimising its services, routes, and fleet, it reported on Monday. The aim is to restore its financial health, ensure it becomes a sustainable going concern, and thereafter achieve consistent profitability. “As a pan-African value airline fastjet endeavours to make air travel affordable and accessible in every market we service,” affirmed company CEO Nico Bezuidenhout. “Beyond the redevelopment of our product, fastjet is also presently working on wider distribution and more payment methods, growing our network and making it easier for everyone to do business with us.” “Later this year fastjet plans to launch additional routes in both Tanzania and Mozambique, with South Africa, as a new market, firmly on our radar,” he highlighted. These will be in addition to the recently inaugurated flights between Harare and Bulawayo in Zimbabwe (daily), between Maputo and Beira in Mozambique (double daily) and an additional flight between Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Harare (on Wednesdays).

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    Brazilian aerospace major Embraer’s new generation smaller (less than 150 seats) single-aisle airliners, the E2 family, are attracting considerable interest in Africa, Embraer Commercial Aviation VP: Middle East and Africa Raul Villaron tells “Engineering News”. From smallest to biggest, the E2 family is composed of the E175-E2, the E190-E2 and the E195-E2. “There is huge interest from Africa.” As a consequence, the first continental tour by an E2 company demonstrator fitted with a full passenger cabin (an E190-E2) has been undertaken across the continent. This tour included a stop and a demonstration flight in South Africa.

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    Stabilising State-owned enterprises could take six months or longer, depending on the extent of corruption, said Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. The minister on Wednesday briefed the portfolio committee on public enterprises on the progress made in addressing governance challenges at State-owned enterprises (SOEs) in his portfolio. Overall revenue generated by the six entities, Eskom, Denel, Transnet, SA Exress, Safcol and Alexkor amounted to R284-billion. The assets are worth ...

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    The Hawks are investigating cases related to the Guptas' state capture project that involves more than R40 billion which has been plundered from state coffers. Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya presented the Hawks' progress in several cases of state capture to the Portfolio Committee on Police on Wednesday. He also shed some light on other high-profile investigations, such as those against Steinhoff and VBS Bank. Transnet No suspects have been identified yet in the Hawks' investigation into ...

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    The judicial commission of inquiry into alleged capture of the South African State and its entities, referred to as ''State capture'', is set to begin on Monday in Johannesburg. At the centre of the hearings are the fugitive Gupta family, who have since left the country as allegations of corruption and stripping of State-owned enterprises (SoE) of billions of rand through illegal contracts surfaced. The extent of the family's influence was detailed in leaked emails from Gupta computer servers, dubbed "GuptaLeaks".

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    Russia and the Central African Republic will sign an agreement on military cooperation on Tuesday, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying. Russia this year delivered light arms to the Central African Republic's security forces and said it deployed 175 military and civilian instructors to train them.

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    India and China have agreed to expand their military ties and enhance interaction to ensure peace on their common border, India said after a meeting between the old rivals’ defence ministers. Relations between the Asian giants were strained last year over a 73-day military face-off in a remote, high-altitude stretch of their disputed Himalayan border.

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    State-owned Denel expects its participation in the upcoming Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition to be a “confident” step towards turning the business around and rebuilding Denel, says acting CEO Michael Kgobe. He adds that the group’s participation should also be seen as a step in “rebuilding the confidence of the broader stakeholder environment following a difficult period of lapses in governance that led to reputation damage and liquidity challenges”.

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