Tag Archives: Covid-19

U.S. donates COVID-19 protective gear to South African Health Services

The U.S. government and U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) delivered approximately $340,000 in personal protective equipment to the South African National Department of Health (NDoH), August 15.  

The equipment, delivered by a U.S. Air Force C-130J, is bound for Gauteng, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, and KwaZulu Natal, where it will benefit front-line health workers.   

AFRICOM purchased the supplies, which include N-95 masks, gloves, gowns and sanitizer, using Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster, and Civic Aid Appropriation (OHDACA) funds after the South African government made a formal request for assistance to the U.S. Embassy. 

a C-130J from the United States Air Force arrived at ORTI on a special visit. She is from the Ramstein Air Base with tail number 08-8602. More info on this special visit to follow soon. These beautiful photos taken by ORTIASpotter.

The command also is supporting the set-up of handwashing stations in Gauteng, Eastern Cape, and KwaZulu Natal, contributing $225,000 to this initiative. This brings the total value of U.S. support toward South Africa’s COVID-19 response to more than $46 million.

“U.S. Africa Command is focused on mission and the fight against COVID-19. We’ve been working in close coordination with the Department of State and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to provide assistance where we can to the international COVID-19 response,” Lt. Gen. Kirk Smith, deputy commander, U.S. Africa Command. 

“The contributions of critical personal protective equipment and supplies help South Africa and reflect our commitment to partnership in Africa,” he said.

The U.S. has had a long-standing relationship with South Africa. This relationship includes a commitment to improving security and military cooperation to advance peace and security in the region.

a C-130J from the United States Air Force arrived at ORTI on a special visit. She is from the Ramstein Air Base with tail number 08-8602. More info on this special visit to follow soon. These beautiful photos taken by ORTIASpotter.

On the occasion of the C-130’s arrival, U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Lana Marks said, “We are so proud of our growing partnership with South Africa’s National Defense Forces and our cooperation to ensure peace in the region.  This delivery of lifesaving equipment, critically needed here in South Africa, shows how we can leverage the infrastructure of our strong defense cooperation to further bolster the U.S. support to South Africa’s ongoing COVID-19 response.”

Earlier this summer, AFRICOM Foreign Humanitarian Assistance funds provided 11,064 face shields earmarked for the South African Military Health Service and two additional projects provided surgical face masks and protective face shields to assist the South African Government.

MD Helicopters Launches Flight Support For COVID-19 Humanitarian Missions

MD Helicopter launches flight support for COVID-19 humanitarian missions

Mesa, Ariz., May 14, 2020 – MD Helicopters, Inc. (MDHI) begins flying humanitarian aid missions in a company-owned MD 520N supporting the fight against COVID-19.

An MDHI pilot flew the first mission in one of the Company’s helicopters to the Navajo Nation, whose border is approximately 150 miles north of MDHI’s Mesa, AZ base of operations.  The Navajo Nation covers 27,000 square miles that can be logistically challenging for transport of goods due to terrain and obstacles throughout its vast expanse.  During the COVID-19 crisis, large quantities of relief aid accumulated in the Phoenix area awaiting distribution.  The urgent situation called for a helicopter solution to deliver the desparately needed aid to multiple locations much faster than ground transport could provide.  MDHI accepted the opportunity to assist our neighbors to the north.

Relief goods were accumulated at MDHI’s Mesa base, loaded into an MD 520N helicopter, and flown to Chinle Municiple Airport deep in the Navajo Nation, where the aid was delivered to relief workers. The entire mission covered approximately 500 nautical miles, included 2 fuel stops, and lasted roughly 5 hours.  “MD Helicopters has been a proud part of the Arizona community since its birth over 20 years ago” said Chris Jaran, the Chief Operating Officer of MD.  “We have always stood ready to help our neighbors and contribute to the welfare of our community.”  Jaran continued, “Our helicopters are flown by first responders and military units all over the world, and we are pleased to join the efforts of Arizonans to address humanitarian needs here at home in these challenging times.”

MDHI will continue flying relief aid missions in support of the Navajo Nation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lockheed Martin Announces Proactive Measures to Mitigate COVID-19 Impacts to F-35 Production

F-35 Production Employees Will Temporarily Adjust Schedules to Sustain Aircraft Delivery

FORT WORTH, Texas, May 19, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — In response to previously reported COVID-19 F-35 supplier delays, Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) is taking proactive measures to mitigate impacts and position the program for the fastest possible recovery by adjusting work schedules, maintaining specialized employee skillsets, and accelerating payments to small and vulnerable suppliers, to continue meeting customer commitments.

Lockheed Martin Logo (PRNewsFoto/Lockheed Martin) (PRNewsfoto/Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Com)

Today Lockheed Martin and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) agreed to a temporary alternate work schedule for F-35 production line employees in Fort Worth to maintain their skilled workforce.

The new schedule, which will begin May 23, divides each shift into three groups. On a rotation, each group will work for two weeks and then will have a week off. During the adjusted three-week work schedule, employees who work 96 hours or more will be compensated an additional 24 hours for their off week while receiving full pay and benefits.

The alternate schedule allows Lockheed Martin to staff the production line to meet a slower workflow resulting from supplier delays. In addition, it provides a work rhythm that retains the expertise of the talented workforce and provides opportunities to adjust work to better support production.

“These are challenging times, but managing tough challenges is when the F-35 program performs at its best. The alternate work schedule maintains the specialized skillset of the employees and provides opportunities to for us to adjust our workflow to account for supplier delays due to COVID-19,” said Aeronautics Executive Vice President Michele Evans. “Our F-35 workforce is the best in the world at what they do, and we will continue to deliver on our customer’s mission.”

The temporary alternate work schedule agreement will continue for its first three-week cycle. The company will then evaluate business needs and can alter the schedule as needed with the option to discontinue as warranted or continue until Sept. 4. Lockheed Martin and the IAM have also agreed to allow employees to volunteer to be furloughed for 30 days where they maintain their benefits but forgo pay during this period.

Airbus develops solution for airlines to use their widebody aircraft for pure cargo operations during the COVID-19 pandemic

Toulouse, 30 April 2020 – Airbus is developing a modification for A330 and A350 family aircraft which will enable airlines to install freight pallets directly onto the cabin floor seat tracks, after removal of the economy-class seats.

This solution will help with the airlines’ own business continuity, and also alleviate the global shortage of ‘belly-freight’ air cargo capacity due to the widespread grounding of long-haul aircraft in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, it helps the industry to address the high demand for humanitarian flights to transport large quantities of medical equipment and other supplies rapidly over large distances to where they are needed.

Compared with loading cargo onto seats, this Airbus solution facilitates easier and quicker loading and unloading operations, as well as reduced ‘wear & tear’ to the seats themselves. Other important benefits include the added security of robust fire protection, and the 9g load restraint capability to prevent anything from shifting in flight.

The modification is packaged for operators as an Airbus Service Bulletin (SB). Under this arrangement Airbus defines the engineering workscope and also manages the process for obtaining the one-time certification from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

Its scope includes the removal of the seats & IFE (Inflight entertainment), installation of cargo pallets and associated safety equipment – and also the re-installation of the original passenger cabin elements for reverting back to passenger operations. The SB approach will also be valid beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Airbus provides update on March commercial aircraft orders & deliveries and adapts production rates in COVID-19 environment

Business impacted by COVID-19 pandemic


● 21 net orders and 36 deliveries in March 2020
● 290 net orders and 122 deliveries in Q1 2020
● Production rates revised downwards adapting to new market environment
Toulouse, 8 April 2020 – After a solid commercial and industrial performance at the beginning of the year, Airbus (stock exchange symbol: AIR) is now revising its production rates downwards to adapt to the new Coronavirus market environment.
In Q1 2020, Airbus booked 290 net commercial aircraft orders and delivered 122 aircraft.

A further 60 aircraft were produced during the quarter, highlighting the solid industrial
performance, however they remain undelivered due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.

36 aircraft were delivered in March across the different aircraft families, down from 55 in February 2020. This reflects customer requests to defer deliveries, as well as other factors related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The new average production rates going forward have been set as follows:


A320 to rate 40 per month
● A330 to rate 2 per month
● A350 to rate 6 per month

This represents a reduction of the pre-coronavirus average rates of roughly one third.

With these new rates, Airbus preserves its ability to meet customer demand while protecting its ability to further adapt as the global market evolves.

Airbus is working in coordination with its social partners to define the most appropriate social measures to adapt to this new and evolving situation. Airbus is also addressing a short-term cash containment plan as well as its longer-term cost structure.

“The impact of this pandemic is unprecedented. At Airbus, protecting our people and supporting the fight against the virus are our chief priorities at this time.

We are in constant dialogue with our customers and supply chain partners as we are all going through these difficult times together”, said Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury.

“Our airline customers are heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. We are actively adapting our production to their new situation and working on operational and financial mitigation measures to face reality.”

In its effort to support the fight against the COVID-19, Airbus has carried out extensive work in coordination with social partners to ensure the health and safety of its employees.

This has been achieved by implementing new stringent work standards and processes. Airbus is contributing to the development, sourcing and ferrying of medical equipment, including facemasks and ventilators, in support of medical health services

SAAF Casa 212s keeping busy during SA Covid-19 lockdown!

The South African Airforce as well as the South African National Defence Force, South African Police Service and other Private Security firms have been deployed to carry out a task of directing citizens of South Africa to stay at home during the countries lockdown and a further two week extended lockdown to clamp down on the spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus with a number of people testing positive for the disease and a major loss of human life across the world.

44 Squadron Casa 212

44 Squadron based at Airforce Base Waterkloof, have been keeping the skies above South Africa with the transportation of essential goods including medical equipment.

Parts of the country the light transport aircraft has been tasked to help transport these goods, have been Kwa-Zulu Natal, The Eastern Cape, The Western Cape and other Provinces dealing with high risk area’s with COVid-19 patients.

Airforce Station Port Elizabeth
Picture by Captain Mark Kelbrick
Picture by Captain Mark Kelbrick
King Shaka International Airport Durban
Picture by SANDF
Airforce Base Ysterplaat, Cape Town
SAAF Crew and Personnel

44 Squadron SAAF is a squadron of the South African Air Force. It is currently a light transport squadron. First formed: 12 March 1944. The Squadron has a total of 3 Casa 212s, Two 200s and One 300 as part of their light transport assets.

SAAF Casa 212 & Airforce of Zimbabwe Casa 212
Eswatini Airshow 2019

Denel Joins Local Drive To Develop Ventilators

Denel is mobilising its resources and expertise towards a priority project for the local design and development of medical ventilators in support of the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Danie du Toit, Group Chief Executive of Denel says engineers from Denel Dynamics and Denel Aeronautics are already working round the clock on Project Sabela – ‘we are heeding the call’ – in partnership with other state-owned entities, research bodies and medical technology companies.

“We are still in the early stages of the project, but we are optimistic that this local initiative will help to alleviate the dire need for medical ventilators that are required in great numbers at both public and private hospitals,” says Du Toit.

The defence and technology company is also considering other initiatives in which it can repurpose its current operations and technology to assist the national efforts. This include the production of sanitisers and the conversion of Casspir mine-protected vehicles into ambulances.

“We are proud to respond immediately and positively to a request from the Department of Public Enterprises to drive the ventilator project. As a state-owned company we are committed to utilising our skills, technology and experience in support of the national objectives to combat the scourge of the Covid-19 pandemic at our doorstep”.

A task team has been formed consisting of experts from Denel, Armscor, Eskom, the CSIR and other entities to investigate designs and produce a prototype of a local medical ventilator.

Denel Dynamics is a global leader in the design and manufacturing of sophisticated missile and precision-guided weapon systems and also pioneered research and design for the production of unmanned aerial vehicle systems. Denel Aeronautics is the original equipment manufacturer of the Rooivalk combat support helicopter and design authority of the Oryx medium transport helicopter.

Rooivalk Attack Helicopter
Oryx Helicopter

Du Toit says Denel employs some of South Africa’s top engineers, researchers and scientists who have worked on sophisticated technology projects in the past. This accumulated knowledge and expertise will now be mobilised to work closely with medical scientists to produce life-saving ventilators.

Globally the defence industry has been a catalyst for the development of products that have brought immense benefits to the broader society. Innovations that have been derived from Denel’s defence research are vastly used in areas such as border security, agriculture, mining, construction and civilian aerospace within the country.

“Through Project Sabela we are now focusing all our efforts on the current medical and humanitarian crisis facing South Africa and the world,” says Du Toit. “We are confident that we will soon make huge strides in the development of locally-designed ventilators at a time when global shortages are experienced.”

Denel PMP, Africa’s leading manufacturer of small- and medium-calibre ammunition is looking at options to produce sanitisers for industrial and medical uses once the product certification issues have been clarified. Many of the chemicals used in the manufacturing of explosives can also be utilised to make sanitisers.

The Casspir, is a highly mobile and versatile vehicle used extensively in conflict zones in demining and protection operations. Denel Land Systems are looking at options to convert Casspirs into field ambulances, says Du Toit

Boeing Assists with COVID-19 Recovery and Relief Efforts

CHICAGO, March 27, 2020—Boeing continues to support our communities and the heroic healthcare professionals working tirelessly to stop the COVID-19 virus. We’re taking additional steps to support COVID-19 recovery and relief efforts. These include:

  • Boeing will begin using its 3D printing capabilities at several facilities across the United States to manufacture face shields to help protect those who are on the front lines of fighting the virus. Our initial production goal is to produce thousands of face shields per week followed by subsequent production increases. Boeing has additive manufacturing machines in St. Louis, Missouri; El Segundo, California; Mesa, Arizona; Huntsville, Alabama and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that will be used for this initial response, as long as those facilities remain in operation, consistent with federal, state and local health orders and the health and safety of Boeing employees.
  • We have also offered the use of our Dreamlifter, one of the largest cargo carriers in the world, to help transport critical and urgently needed supplies to healthcare professionals. We’re coordinating closely with government officials on how best to provide our support.
  • To date, Boeing has donated tens of thousands of masks, gloves and other equipment to hospitals in need. We’re also analyzing several other ways we can use our engineering, manufacturing and logistics expertise to help the cause.

Airbus secures new face mask supplies to support Europe’s fight against COVID-19

Getafe, 28 March 2020 – Airbus has deployed a new air-bridge flight between Europe and China to deliver additional face mask supplies to France, Germany, Spain and United Kingdom health systems in support of the COVID-19 crisis efforts.

The aircraft, an Airbus A330-200 undergoing conversion as Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), took off on 26 March at 19.15 local time (CET) from Airbus’ Getafe site near Madrid (Spain) reaching the Airbus site in Tianjin (China) on 27 March. The aircraft, operated by an Airbus crew, returned to Spain on 28 March at 04.05 local time (CET) with a cargo of more than 4 million face masks.

In recent days, Airbus had already organised flights from Europe and China with A330-800 and A400M aircraft to donate thousands of face masks to hospitals and public services around Europe.

The picture shows the A330MRTT departing Airbus’ Getafe site on 26 March

Airbus A330MRT
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