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Latest news on the defence and aerospace sector.

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    The board of directors of Europe-based major global aerospace manufacturing group Airbus announced on Monday that it had chosen Guillaume Faury as its next CEO. Faury is currently President of Airbus Commercial Aircraft. He will replace incumbent group CEO Tom Enders in April next year. Faury was appointed CEO of Airbus Commercial Aircraft early last year. Before that, starting in May 2013, he had been CEO of Airbus Helicopters. He had spent most of the past 20 years in the aerospace industry, except for some four years (2009-2013) with Peugeot (as Executive VP for Research and Development). He was with Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters) from 1998 to 2008, in a variety of senior management posts.

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    South African State arms firm Denel is holding talks with unions over voluntary severance packages, reduced working hours and salary cuts for some staff as it struggles to emerge from a financial crisis, a union official said. The discussions underscore the extent of the financial difficulties affecting Denel, which produces military kit for South Africa's army and foreign forces.

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    Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) reported on Wednesday that its 2018 edition (held from September 19 to September 23) received 32 538 trade visitors. The show was divided into three trade days and two public days, the latter being over the weekend of September 22 and September 23. The two public days together attracted 55 000 visitors. AAD 2018 had 415 exhibitors from 40 countries. There were 15 country pavilions and 40 hospitality chalets, and 128 aircraft were on static display. The show received 71 official delegations. Visitors came from 102 countries and 287 members of the media attended. The lead partner for AAD 2018 was the Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa (CAASA). The management of AAD is a partnership between CAASA, the South African Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industries Association (AMD), national defence acquisition (and disposals) agency Armscor, and the Department of Defence. (The lead partner for AAD 2020 will be AMD.)

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    New evidence to be filed as part of a court case taking the arms deal commission of inquiry’s findings on review purports to show that the commission ignored critical evidence, ignored the advice and documents provided by local and international investigators, and ultimately, through wilful ignorance or incompetence, did not do its job. Corruption Watch and Right2Know will file a supplementary affidavit on Friday, which is based on a record of the commission’s work provided to them as part of ...

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    In his speech, officially opening the recent Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) 2018 exhibition held at Air Force Base Waterkloof in Pretoria (City of Tshwane), President Cyril Ramaphosa made an all-too-brief reference to South Africa’s civil aerospace industry. “Some of our aircraft-related businesses are expanding in a highly competitive environment as suppliers to the biggest players in the global aircraft industry,” he said.

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    The Astus unmanned aerial surveillance (UAS) system is a tactical surveillance platform with a line-of-sight range of 200 km, an endurance of 8-hours, and is a medium-sized UAS weighing under 100 kg. This makes it suitable for addressing a gap in the market for real-time tactical surveillance systems, says Tellumat CEO Andrew Connold. The medium-sized UAS has daylight and cooled thermal-imaging sensors, and provides two high-definition video streams for the operator and the pilot through its directional antenna.

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    Hundreds of South Africa's Solidarity union members held a strike on Wednesday over a pay dispute at cash-strapped State-owned weapons manufacturer Denel. Denel, which produces military kit for South Africa's army and foreign forces, has held talks with unions over voluntary severance packages, reduced working hours and salary cuts for some staff as it struggles to emerge from a financial crisis.

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    Budget cuts at the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) could result in a lack of proper training for those who should be equipped to protect the country, the South African army chief has warned. General Lindile Yam was speaking at a media briefing in Thaba Tshwane on Thursday, where he warned: "There is a danger coming and it seems like no one is seeing it." He stopped reading his prepared speech and warned the nation about the consequences of several budget cuts the defence force has ...

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    Rwanda's President Paul Kagame appointed new ministers of defence and foreign affairs in a cabinet reshuffle announced late on Thursday. Albert Murasira, an army general, replaced long-serving James Kabarebe as defence minister, the president’s office said, without giving a reason for the decision.

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    Russia said on Friday it planned to send additional military equipment to Central African Republic (CAR) and deploy 60 more instructors to train the country's armed forces, escalating its most significant military foray in Africa in decades. Russia donated hundreds of weapons and sent 175 trainers to CAR earlier this year to bolster the government's fight against militia groups after receiving an exemption from a United Nations arms embargo.

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    The joint European-Japanese twin-probe BepiColombo space mission, to the Solar System’s innermost planet, Mercury, was successfully launched from Kourou in French Guiana on Saturday. The spacecraft, built by Airbus and launched by an Ariane 5 rocket, has four main elements: the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO), the Mercury Magnetosphere Orbiter (MMO), the Mercury Transfer Module (MTM) and the Sunshield and Interface Structure (which protects the MMO and MTM). The mission is a joint project between the European Space Agency (ESA – which is totally separate from the European Union) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The MPO is the ESA component of the mission and the MMO is the JAXA component. The two probes will travel, with the other two elements, as a single unit until they approach Mercury, when they will separate and enter different orbits around the Solar System’s innermost planet. “This very complex mission is the result of a truly inspiring international cooperation among 83 companies from 16 European countries and Japan,” highlighted Airbus Defence and Space Head of Space Systems Nicolas Chamussy. “This international effort with Airbus teams from five countries, is the natural consequence of humanity’s desire to discover more about this little known planet and the origins of our solar system.”

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    Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba has accused Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan of being "economical with the truth" in explaining how state owned arms firm Denel received a R290-million unsecured loan from the city's sinking fund management company. In a written response to questions in parliament, Gordhan said the loan was duly approved and registered with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange Securities.

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    Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has called for a reconfiguration of South Africa’s debt-laden State-owned companies (SoCs) and has appealed to stakeholders to adopt an open-mind with regard to the form such restructuring could take, particularly in the cases of Eskom and South African Airways (SAA). Briefing the media as part of the release of his maiden Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS), Mboweni said that SoC reconfiguration could take various forms from equity partnerships and asset sales, to the closure of certain enterprises.

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    Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on Wednesday said the public service wage bill, which accounts for 36% of government spending, is unsustainable. The public sector wage bill should be closer to 30% of government spending, he added during his maiden Medium Term Budget Policy Statement speech.

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    Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has confirmed that expenditure worth R32.4-billion will be reprioritised over the coming three years in line with government’s recently released Economic Stimulus and Recovery Plan. The figure appeared to fall short of the R50-billion reprioritisation target outlined by President Cyril Ramaphosa on September 21, when he released details of the recovery plan during a briefing held at the Union Buildings, in Pretoria. However, Mboweni said that, coupled with changes to grant structure and in-year allocations, the combination of reprioritisations would amount to more than R50-billion over the three years.

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    Manufacturer and exporter Desert Wolf plays an instrumental role in project teamster, which is the new South African National Defence Force (SANDF) project to upgrade the complete field kitchen facilities for the defence force and is currently supplying it with a range of stainless steel diesel field stoves and diesel modules.  Desert Wolf, which has recently reinstated its Southern Africa Stainless Steel Development Association (Sassda) membership, states that during 2016 and 2017, the company completed the design and manufacture of the first phase of the project, which encompassed a mobile field cooking unit for 15 people (FCU-15).

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    The French military is studying what sort of aircraft carrier should replace the Charles De Gaulle, and should decide by the end of 2020, Defense Minister Florence Parly said on Tuesday. “The new French carrier will be floated by 2038,” she said on BFM television. “We must define its missions, how many planes, what sort of planes.” The study is being carried out in parallel with a reflection on the next generation of fighters.

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    State-owned defence industrial group Denel on Wednesday, with the release of its yearly results, stated that its operating loss of R1.7-billion for the 2017/18 financial year clearly shows a business that has had a difficult year, marked by lapses in governance, mismanagement and poor contract execution that resulted in severe liquidity challenges. The operating loss has been further compounded by R500-million in irregular expenditure and a disclaimer audit opinion by the Auditor-General which is of “grave concern” to Denel.

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    South Africa's struggling state-owned arms firm Denel is "ripe" for joint venture partnerships, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday, but added Pretoria would want to retain control if any deal went ahead. Ramaphosa said he hadn't yet applied his mind to a bid for Denel by Saudi, or any of the other bids for the loss-making firm which makes military kit for the South African armed forces and clients in Africa, the Persian Gulf and Europe.

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    The joint European-Japanese twin-probe BepiColombo space mission, to the Solar System’s innermost planet, Mercury, was successfully launched from Kourou in French Guiana in mid-October. The spacecraft, built by Airbus and launched by an Ariane 5 rocket, has four main elements: the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO), the Mercury Magnetosphere Orbiter (MMO), the Mercury Transfer Module (MTM) and the Sunshield and Interface Structure (which protects the MMO and MTM).

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