Avionics can be defined as the development and production of electrical equipment for use in aircraft, spacecraft and satellites, and missiles, whilst the aerospace industry can be defined as the industry that researches, designs, manufactures, operates, and maintains vehicles moving through air and space.
Thanks to strong historical investments in defence, South Africa is considered to have strong aerospace capabilities in both the public and private sectors. More recently, government attention to initiatives such as micro-satellite development have helped bolster the capacity of the sub-sector, and the area of Unmanned Air Systems and Vehicles (UASs and UAVs) is being explored.
Within this sub-sector, applications can fall into the following segments:
Commercial and industrial
Millbug electronics can be included in many systems within aerospace products, including areas such as:
Navigation and guidance (including unmanned systems)
Power management and storage
Imaging, night vision and recording
Information management and processing
Entertainment systems (in the case of commercial aerospace)
Radar is an acronym for Radio Detection and Ranging. It is a method to identify the range, altitude, direction or speed of both moving and fixed objects such as aircraft, ships, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain by using a narrow beam of extremely high-frequency radio pulses or electromagnetic waves that get reflected back by the object to the transmitter. The signal is then displayed on a radarscope. The direction of the reflected beam and the time between transmission and reception of a pulse determine the position of the object.
The radar sub-sector includes all technologies related to the generation, transmission, reception and processing of data for radar applications. The sector is also expanded to include related technologies, such as ultrasound and sonar-based systems as they operate on similar principles.
The radar sector includes both military and civilian applications. Radar is still primarily used in defence systems and is becoming tightly integrated into battlefield management systems. Military uses of radar technology include:
Detection systems for aircraft and missiles
Marine radar and sonar technologies
Electronic evasion systems
Synthetic aperture imaging systems for surveillance
Radar jamming systems
Radar technology is also used extensively in non-military applications. The most prevalent of such systems are civilian airport landing and control tower systems, which rely primarily on both short-range and long-range radar technologies. Meteorological systems also utilise weather radar technology to assist in weather predictions. Other non-military uses of radar and related technology include:
Automotive radar systems
Ground penetrating radar for mining and prospecting
Sonar-based fish detection systems
Commercial marine radar systems
Radar guns for measuring speed, including in sport applications
Radar level sensing (for level-sensing applications)
As an SMT electronics manufacturer, Millbug is strategically positioned to supply all manner of components in the Avionics, aerospace and radar sectors.
It is a highly internationalised industry with strong global companies, which in some cases have vertically integrated groups that supply some components and subassemblies internally. As with the automotive industry, very high quality standards and reliability are required, and supplier selection is carefully managed. Vast localization opportunities exist with Millbug as a result.