As the Department of Defence's (DoD's) defence material acquisition agency, Armscor is trying to make sure that maintenance contracts are in place to keep the South African Air Force's (SAAF's) aircraft flying in spite of budgetary and other challenges.
In a presentation to the Joint Standing Committee on Defence (JSCD) on 10 November, Armscor gave a presentation on its service level agreement with the DoD and this included the support contracts “funded from the limited SAAF operating budget.”
Armscor noted that funds have to be prioritised for allocation to the respective aircraft fleets and funding challenges inevitably result in under-funded support contracts as well as delays in receiving funding for support contracts. “Funding limitations are resulting in challenges with negotiating support contracts with OEM's [original equipment manufacturers] that meet all SAAF requirements - this leads to delays in contract placement as well as periods with no support contracts for affected aircraft,” Armscor's presentation stated.
In spite of these issues, Armscor is placing contracts to ensure airworthiness for much of the fleet. The Boeing Business Jet (BBJ), for example, has a contract that expires on 30 November and placement of a new contract is in process and this is expected to run from 1 December this year.
The Falcon business jet fleet has no contract in place, as this expired on 1 July, but a new contract will be placed from 1 December. The King Air maintenance contract is in place until 15 February 2023, but a new contract offer solicitation is in process.
For the transport fleet, the C-130BZ Hercules maintenance contract has been extended to 31 December and a new contract will be placed by 1 January 2023. A contract for the C212 fleet has been in place since August, while the C-47TP fleet, which has not had a contract since April 2017, will finally have a maintenance contract from 1 December this year. The Cessna 208 Caravan maintenance contract is valid until 15 December.
On the rotary wing side, the Oryx support contract is valid until September 2023, as is the Rooivalk combat support helicopter contract. The BK 117 contract expired on 31 March this year and Armscor is “still awaiting requirement from the SAAF.” For A109 Light Utility Helicopter support, this contract is valid until 30 November and a new contract is in process for placement by 1 December. The Lynx maritime helicopter's support contract is valid until September 2023, but Armscor is in the process of contracting for long lead spares.
After a year-long grounding, the SAAF's Gripen fleet returned to the air in time for the September 2022 edition of Africa Aerospace and Defence, as an airframe support contract is in place with Saab effective 1 September. Armscor aims to have an engine support contract in place with GKN by 1 December. The Hawk Mk 120 lead-in fighter-trainer is supported until 30 June 2024, while the PC-7 Mk II fleet is supported by the manufacturer Pilatus until 15 March next year.
SAAF OPERATIONAL AND TRAINING FLYING AFFECTED BY “INADEQUATE FORCE LEVELS”
Notwithstanding its prime fighter capability being grounded for at least six months of the 2021/22 financial year, the SA Air Force (SAAF) logged a credible 1 114 hours short of its self-set 12 100 force preparation target.
All told the airborne service of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) planned to log 17 100 flying hours in the 2021/22 financial year according to the latest Department of Defence (DoD) annual report and fell just over 10% short of target across three named categories.
By far the majority of these were set to be force training hours (12 100) with aircrews using all SAAF rotary and fixed wing aircraft ranging from trainers, in the form of PC-7 Mk11s and Hawk Mk120s through to Agusta A107 light utility, BK117, Oryx and Rooivalk combat support helicopters as well as C-208, PC-12, C-212 and C-130BZ transports. The Gripens of 2 Squadron at Air Force Base (AFB) Makhado were grounded due to a lack of funding and maintenance and support contracts not being renewed timeously. This was rectified early this September with the sharp end of SAAF making a welcome return to the skies and being seen at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition at AFB Waterkloof.
The annual report does not give a breakdown of hours flown on type for the three categories of flying hours.
They are 10 986 hours for force preparation, 3 410 for force employment against a target of four thousand and 818 VVIP (target one thousand).
The report further notes: “Inadequate force levels of all aircraft systems continued to hamper the ability to fulfil required operational and training requirements. The reduced budget led to a decrease in force preparation hours and resulted in maintenance and servicing backlogs with less serviceable aircraft available”.
GAMA RELEASES THIRD QUARTER 2022 AIRCRAFT SHIPMENT AND BILLING REPORT
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) published the Third Quarter 2022 General Aviation Aircraft Shipment and Billing Report. The aircraft manufacturing industry's results for the first nine months of 2022, when compared to the same period in 2021, point to increasing aircraft deliveries across all segments along with an increase in the overall value of the aircraft shipments.
“Demand for general aviation aircraft remains hardy as our industry continues to strategically navigate ongoing challenges, which include issues with supply chain and workforce shortages within our industry and within global regulatory authorities. Deliveries are converging on, and in some cases surpassing, the levels we were experiencing prior to the pandemic, which is a testament to the strength of our industry and the importance and utility of general and business aviation,” said GAMA President and CEO, Pete Bunce. “As we look to the future, we must focus attention on the need for training of the regulator workforce and leveraging of bi-lateral safety agreements between regulatory bodies to improve both certification and validation processes. At the same time our industry will continue to foster the momentum we have created on addressing environmental issues, which includes advancing technology that improves efficiencies of aircraft and operations; supporting the production, distribution and uptake of SAF; and further developing hydrogen, electric and hybrid propulsion - all of which are important to meeting our business aviation commitment of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”
Aircraft shipments through the third quarter of 2022, when compared to the same period in 2021, saw piston airplane increase 8.8% with 1,012 units, turboprops increase 7.3% with 383 units and business jet shipments increase 1.8% with 446 units. The value of airplane deliveries through the third quarter of 2022 was $14.1 billion, an increase of approximately 4.8%.
Helicopter shipments through the third quarter of 2022 were up when compared to the same period in 2021; piston helicopter deliveries increased 3.8% with 137 units and turbine helicopter deliveries increased 7.1% with 439 units.
Nine Month Aircraft Shipments and Billings
Aircraft Type 2021 2022 % Change
Piston Airplane 930 1,012 8.8%
Turboprops 357 383 7.3%
Business Jets 438 446 1.8%
Total Airplanes 1,725 1,841 6.7%
Total Airplane Billings $13.5B $14.1B 4.8%
Piston Helicopters 132 137 3.8%
Turbine Helicopters 410 439 7.1%
Total Helicopters 542 576 6.3%
Total Helicopter Billings $2.4B $2.6B 5.3%
GAMA's complete 2022 third quarter report can be found at gama.aero.
GAMA is an international trade association representing over 100 of the world's leading manufacturers of general aviation airplanes and rotorcraft, engines, avionics, components and related services. GAMA's members also operate repair stations, fixed based operations, pilot and maintenance training facilities and manage fleets of aircraft.
EIGHT AFRICAN NATIONS ATTEND AFRICA PARTNERSHIP FLIGHT 2022
Eight African Nations came together to participate in the 2022 African Partner Flight co-hosted by the Tunisian Air Force and US Air Forces Africa in Tunisia, where they opened dialogue between air force leaders across the continent.
US Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Public Affairs said the event took place in Tunis from 2 to 4 November, adding that African partner flights “serve as an opportunity to open dialogue between air force leaders across the continent, identify opportunities for the US to assist African partners and implement collective solutions.”
“African Partnership Flights offer a unique opportunity to build partnerships and share knowledge,” said US Air Force Major General James Kriesel, US Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa National Guard assistant to the commander. “I'm eager to also uphold our partnerships and build new relationships as we address issues common to us all.”
This APF focused on broadening interoperability on Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) objectives and building partnership capacity towards ISR objectives that provide coalition forces the advanced capabilities to detect and defend against a spectrum of threats while promoting regional security and stability.
“As General Hecker, commander of US Air Forces Africa, emphasizes: our partnerships and inter-operability drive our readiness and success,” said Kriesel. “We've chosen an Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance set of capabilities for this APF. As you know, ISR is vital to military operations in Africa and its importance has continually grown.”
Events like APF afford participants an opportunity to learn from each other and actively apply that knowledge to daily operations, as the US and its African coalition partners routinely conduct ISR activities across North and West Africa in support of US Africa Command and host nation regional and security objectives, the US Air Force said.
Participants of this APF engaged in open dialogue conversations, received several briefs covering numerous ISR topics, engaged in a final capstone project and toured the new Tunisian Military Intelligence Schoolhouse. A first of its kind in North Africa, the schoolhouse will serve as the primary educational institution on the continent focused on developing leaders for the military's ISR community.
The last APF was held in June 2022 in Nairobi, Kenya and focused on Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Response. In February 2023, US Air Forces Africa will co-host the African Air Chiefs Symposium themed “African Air Forces in the Fight Against Transnational Threats” with the Senegalese Air Force in Dakar, Senegal.
Africa Air Force Forum
The Africa Partnership Flight event came days after more than 40 African nations and international delegations descended on Dakar, Senegal, for the two-day Africa Air Force Forum that addressed Africa's Air Forces through emerging requirements, counter terrorism and counterinsurgency efforts across the continent.
The conference marked Hecker's first visit to the African continent as the USAFE-AFAFRICA commander. During the conference, Hecker presented on the growing presence of international air forces in Africa and their ability to support partners beyond counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency efforts.
“The most important thing we can do to guarantee future success is to stand shoulder-to shoulder, build trust in one another and face these challenges together,” Hecker said. “We continue to lean into forums like this and others such as the African Partner Flights and Association of African Air Forces events. Each occasion should remind us that we are in this fight together.”
“Multilateral military-to-military engagements build aviation capacity, enhance local and regional cooperation and promote interoperability across nations. USAFE-AFAFRICA aims to strengthen these mutually beneficial networks between the US and African partners, as well as between African partners themselves,” the US Air Force said.
In the past year, the US has provided critical airlift support through foreign military sales and training, hosted multiple engagements through the Association of African Air Forces, integrated with regional partners in exercise African Lion 2022 and provided critical operational awareness to partners throughout the continent.
JETSON ONE ENTIRE 2023 PRODUCTION IS SOLD OUT.
The first affordable EVTOL on the market, no pilot's license required in the United States, learn to fly in five minutes. The entire 2023 production is sold out.
We have recently sold out the whole 2023 production and are now going into 2024. The first 200 chassis are planned to go out between October and December 2023.
The Jetson is a formula one racing car for the sky. A beautiful and lightweight design in aluminium and carbon fibre that is incredibly fun to fly.
It has eight powerful motors, driving an equal number of propellers. The propulsion system has a massive power output, making flight effortless and fun.
Our unique flight computer makes flying extremely easy. Your left hand controls altitude, while the right controls direction. An intuitive system that makes everyone a pilot in less than five minutes.
The Jetson ONE has a race-car inspired safety cell that protects the pilot, can sustain continuous flight with the loss of one motor, has an auto land function and multiple safety features to protect the pilot in case of an emergency.
HAL HANDS OVER 16TH ALH MK III TO INDIAN COAST GUARD
HAL handed over the last of the 16 ALHs (Mk-III, maritime role) contracted with the Indian Coast Guard at a program to DG Coast Guard V S Pathania in the presence of senior officials from CG, Defence and HAL. “We are proud to be associated with HAL and happy to issue a letter of intent (LoI) for nine more helicopters. Despite Covid-19, HAL delivered all the helicopters at the shortest time with seamless production activities and this allows us to strengthen India's Maritime security,” he said. The CG had signed a contract with HAL for the supply of 16 ALH Mk III in March 2017.
Mr. C B Ananthakrishnan, CMD, HAL said a unique feature of the contract has been the Performance Based Logistics (PBL) - the one stop solution for maintenance of these helicopters by HAL. “This will serve as a benchmark for all our future contracts and boost our resolve to work with private partners to speed up the work in the interest of all our customers and strengthen Make-in-India activities in the Defence eco-system,” he added.
Mr. S Anbuvelan, CEO (Helicopter Complex), HAL in his address pointed out the major challenges in execution of the contract that included integration of new systems sourced from foreign OEMs, conducting flight trials for certifications and overcoming disruptions in the supply chain due to lock-downs.
ALH Mk III is indigenously designed, developed and produced by HAL. The company has so far produced more than 330 ALHs, a versatile helicopter which has logged more than 3.74 lakhs of flying hours.
ARCHER UNVEILS ITS PRODUCTION AIRCRAFT, MIDNIGHT
Archer Aviation Inc. (NYSE: ACHR), a leader in eVTOL aircraft, today publicly unveiled its production aircraft, Midnight, a pilot-plus-four-passenger eVTOL aircraft during its Open House event in Palo Alto, CA. Midnight is the evolution of Archer's demonstrator eVTOL aircraft, Maker, which has validated its proprietary twelve-tilt-six configuration and key enabling technologies.
Midnight is designed to be safe, sustainable, quiet and with its expected payload of over 1,000 pounds, can carry four passengers plus a pilot. Midnight is optimised for back-to-back short distance trips of around 20-miles, with a charging time of approximately 10 minutes in-between. Archer is working to certify Midnight with the FAA in late-2024 and will then use it as part of its UAM network, which it plans to launch in 2025.
“From day one Archer's strategy has always been about finding the most efficient path to commercialising eVTOL aircraft,” said Adam Goldstein, Archer's Founder and CEO. “We believe our strategy and team's ability to execute on it has allowed us to establish our leadership position in the market and is why we are confident we will be the first company to certify an eVTOL aircraft in the US with the FAA.”
Archer's unique approach to designing Midnight focuses on combining high function and high emotion, inspiring passengers to want to experience it, similar to the feeling that was evoked in this country during the Golden Age of aviation in the 1950s. Archer is confident that Midnight will lead the way in this new era of vertical flight. Midnight marries cutting-edge electric propulsion technology with state-of-the-art aircraft systems to deliver the key attributes of our eVTOL aircraft:
Safety. High redundancy and simplified propulsion systems make for a significantly safer aircraft compared to a helicopter. Midnight has no single critical points of failure, meaning that should any single component fail, the aircraft can still safely complete its flight. In addition, the electric motors used in Midnight have significantly less moving parts than those found in a gas turbine or piston engine, allowing it to operate with less maintenance and lower overall risk.
Low noise. Designed to cruise at approximately 2,000 feet, the design of Midnight is such that the noise that reaches the ground is expected to measure around 45 A-weighted decibels (dBA), almost 1,000 times quieter than that of a helicopter. During forward flight, the aircraft's tilt propellers spin on axes that are aligned with the oncoming air flow, rather than edge-wise to the flow, as is the case with traditional helicopters - further decreasing noise levels. Since Archer's aircraft is spinning 12 small propellers rather than one large rotor, it can also spin them at significantly lower tip speeds, resulting in much lower noise levels.
Sustainable. Midnight is all electric, resulting in zero operating emissions. Archer is committed to sourcing renewable energy wherever possible to power its aircraft. Archer's design and engineering teams have worked tirelessly to integrate materials into this aircraft that have their own unique sustainability stories. For example, Midnight's seats are constructed out of “flax” fibre, a natural plant which requires very little irrigation and is highly absorbent of CO2. In addition, Archer's design uses fabric made from recycled contents like plastic bottles.
“We continue the push towards commercialisation, with the vast majority of our resources focused on completing the development and certification of Midnight, building out our manufacturing and supply chain capabilities and hardening our go-to-market plans,” said Mark Mesler, Archer's CFO.
In August, Archer completed Midnight's preliminary design review covering all aspects of the aircraft's specifications and manufacturing requirements, which enabled it to determine that the design is feasible for Type Certification and commercialisation.
FRANCE DONATES TWO GAZELLE HELICOPTERS TO NIGER
France's Ambassador to Niger has handed over two Gazelle helicopters to the Nigerien Air Force to support counter-terrorism operations, following on from an earlier Gazelle delivery.
The two aircraft (5U-MHL and 5U-MHM) were handed over by Sylvain Itte at Air Base 101 on 16 November, Niger's Ministry of Defence reported.
Niger's Defence Minister, Alkassoum Indattout said the delivery brings the number of Gazelles received from France to five. They will be used for combat support of ground troops, medical evacuation, reconnaissance and liaison, amongst others, demonstrating “the rising strength of the Air Force.”
“In this same momentum, it is to be noted the creation of new air bases that will gradually be equipped with personnel, equipment and infrastructure. Also, a human resource generation plan was undertaken last year with the recruitment and training of nearly 400 officer and non-officer students,” the Ministry of Defence stated.
Since 2012, France has trained 13 pilots and 15 mechanics; in March 2013, the first three Gazelles were donated. Indattou said the Gazelle deliveries were “proof of the unconditional support that France brings to Niger in the fight against terrorism”.
Nigerien media reported that France also supplied seven 20 mm cannons and 8 000 rounds of ammunition along with spare parts for a total handover value of 4.2 million euros.
Agence France Presse reports that France has spent 24 million euros on its helicopter training project for Niger over the last decade. This included $56 000 on a new hangar at Air Base 101 next to Niamey-Diori Hamani International Airport - this was formally opened in October 2013.
The first three Gazelles were officially handed over in March 2013. The ex-French Army Air Corps aircraft were refurbished by Aerotech Group SAS in France prior to delivery and are armed with 20 mm cannons. French company DCI trained an initial six Niger Air Force helicopter pilots in France and Niger.
Last month, Niger received two AB 412 helicopters from Italy, and will receive another two helicopters next year.
In another donation, the German military on 1 November supplied fixed wing unmanned aerial vehicles, off-road vehicles and other equipment to Niger's armed forces. In September, the United States handed over eight OTT Puma M36 vehicles to Niger's military to help in its fight against terrorism, along with 43 Toyota Land Cruisers and other equipment worth $13 million.
A Let-410 and a CN235M were recently handed over to the Mozambican military (FADM), with publication Noticias quoting Air Force Chief Major General Candido Tirano as saying they will be used for cargo and troop transport as well as special forces/paratrooper deployment.
He added that Paramount supplied the aircraft as well as training and maintenance. He thanked the Mozambican government for its partnership with Paramount and for equipping the Mozambican Air Force.
The CN235M-10 is registered FA-801 (cn C008) and was operated by the Botswana Defence Force until 2011 (as OG1) after being manufactured in 1987. It was then sold to Rampart Aviation (N820CA) before being sold but never delivered to the Togolese Air Force (as 5V-MBM). In 2013 ownership changed to Avcorp US Registrations LLC/Fayard Enterprises (N124CL) before it was registered as ZS-SOO in South Africa in 2014. Between 2019 and 2021 it was seen in Madagascar Air Force markings. It seems the Togolese and Madagascan sales fell through, and the aircraft is now in FADM service.
Paramount has supplied a variety of equipment to Mozambique's military, including Marauder armoured personnel carriers and Mi-8/17, Mi-24 and Gazelle helicopters. Six Marauders fitted with heavy machine gun turrets were seen taking part in a September 2021 parade in Pemba, along with a single Mi-24 attack helicopter (FA-117), an armed Mi-8/17 (FA-093) transport helicopter and a Gazelle light elicopter.
Marauders were first seen in Mozambique in late 2020 while the helicopters appear to have been delivered in 2021.
Journalist Nuno Rogeiro in 2021 reported that Mozambique would be getting several upgraded Mi-17 and Mi-24 helicopters from Paramount, fitted with weapons, sensors and other equipment. While Mozambique has its own Mi-24 and Mi-17 helicopters, they are all understood to be grounded/unserviceable and the new acquisitions are refurbished second hand models.
At least two ex-UK Army Gazelles were delivered to Mozambique by Paramount, with further deliveries a possibility.
Fifteen Mozambican pilots are believed to have been trained at the Paramount Technical Training Academy. Burnham Global has provided training in the operation of the armoured vehicles on the ground in Mozambique.
In February 2021, Paramount and Burnham Global announced a multimillion dollar contract with an African government to provide a range of military training and advisory services. This country is believed to be Mozambique.
On 13 January 2013, a Piper Arrow collided with trees during an emergency approach to Delaware's Dover Air Force Base. Come along as we re-create the pilot's final flight and seek to understand the circumstances that led him down a path to disaster.
USA, Hays Regional Airport, Hays, KS: A Mooney M20E Super 21 sustained unreported damage subsequent to the landing gear collapse during landing sequence to Rwy 16 at Hays Regional Airport (HYS/KHYS), Hays, Kansas. There were no reported injuries to the two adults and one juvenile onboard.
Australia, Bankstown Airport, NSW: A Piper PA-28-161 Warrior III sustained substantial damage subsequent to impact with fencing and terrain during a circuit at Bankstown Airport (BWU/YSBK), Canterbury-Bankstown, New South Wales. The sole pilot onboard the airplane was not injured.
USA, Snohomish, WA: A Copper Mountain Aviation LLC Cessna 208B Grand Caravan EX with four on board was destroyed when it impacted terrain in Snohomish, Washington. All four onboard were killed. Multiple eyewitnesses stated that the wing had separated from the aircraft as it came down.
Mexico, Aguascalientes: Secretaría de Seguridad de Aguascalientes Eurocopter AS 350B3 Ecureuil with five on board suffered a high speed impact in Aguascalientes and post-crash fire. All five occupants died in the crash. The helicopter came down in a field close to the General IMSS Hospital of Zone No. 3.
Belgium, near Damme: A Cirrus SR22 G2 was performing a flight from Mönchengladbach, Germany (EDLN) to Cambridge, UK (EGSC), when it suffered a loss of its propeller assembly inflight near Oostburg in the Netherlands, about 60 km north-east from Ostend. The Pilot contacted Ostend-Bruges International Airport (EBOS) for an emergency landing and began squawking 7700 at 15:53 local but did not have sufficient altitude to make it to the airport. The Pilot then selected to use his ballistic parachute CAPS (pull # 130) for an emergency landing. The aircraft crash-landed in a field near the Pompestraat in Damme, about 28 km north-east of Ostend-Bruges International Airport. The sole occupant onboard was uninjured; the aircraft sustained substantial damage from both its inflight propeller assembly loss and subsequent forced landing on farm terrain.
2 DECEMBER 1943
A night raid by 105 German Junkers Ju 88 bombers surprises the brilliantly lit Italian port of Bari while it is crowded with about 30 Allied ships, meeting little opposition.
A sheet of flame from a burning tanker spread over the harbour; 16 ships carrying 38,000 tons (34,473,374 kg) of cargo are destroyed, eight are damaged and a quantity of mustard gas is released from the cargo of one stricken ship; at least 125 American personnel alone are killed; and the port does not return to full operations for three weeks.
It is the most destructive single air raid against shipping since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941.