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August 21, 2023 | International, Aerospace

Rare Beasts: 5 Military Aircraft That You Might Not Have Heard Of

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  • Norfolk Naval Shipyard can go ahead with power and steam plant, state air quality regulators say

    December 7, 2020 | International, Naval

    Norfolk Naval Shipyard can go ahead with power and steam plant, state air quality regulators say

    By DAVE RESS DAILY PRESS | DEC 04, 2020 AT 5:14 PM Norfolk Naval Shipyard can proceed with plans to build a plant to supply the steam and most of the electricity it uses, the State Air Pollution Control Board ruled. The board found that the new facility would not boost pollutants — including sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide — above air-quality standards. Its staff analyses also found increased emissions of those chemicals would not be significant, although the board staff did note that increases in very small particulate matter would be significant. The shipyard wants to install two natural gas-powered turbines, each capable of generating 7 megawatts of electricity, as well as a boilers, heat-recovery generators and one 2.4 megwatt steam turbine. The $30 million project would allow the yard to generate its own steam, instead of purchasing it from the nearby Wheelabrator plant. The plant also would supply most of the electricity the yard now receives from Dominion Energy. James Boyd, president of the Portsmouth branch of the NAACP, said the project would add pollutants to the already bad air, raising serious environmental justice concerns. In a letter to the board, he also said forecasts of emissions miscalculated totals, by reporting pollutant totals from one gas turbine and one burner from the steam generator, instead of calculating the total of all the turbines were operating. University of Richmond geography professor Mary Finley-Brook noted that the shipyard is a Superfund site, which means its neighbors are more vulnerable to harm from emissions. Finley-Brook said the assessment of impact on community health was inadequate. A study for the board by two Massachusetts-based PhD toxicologists said air currently is safe and new plant would not change that, while board staff said air quality in the area had improved over the past 20 years. Chesapeake Bay Foundation executive director Peggy Sanner said she is disappointed that the board did not require monitoring and reporting of actual emissions from the plant, once it is operating, in 2022. “There are serious environmental justice concerns around building a new fossil fuel plant in this predominantly African-American community, which is overwhelmed by health risks from industrial pollution, she said, adding " Portsmouth residents already live near high concentrations of toxic waste at the nine Superfund sites within a 15-mile radius.”

  • US Air Force pauses flight ops for more than a hundred C-130s over ‘atypical’ cracking

    August 9, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    US Air Force pauses flight ops for more than a hundred C-130s over ‘atypical’ cracking

    By: Valerie Insinna WASHINGTON — More than a quarter of Air Mobility Command's C-130 Hercules fleet are being temporarily removed from service after “atypical” cracking was found. During scheduled depot maintenance, the U.S. Air Force discovered cracking of the lower center wing joint — also known as the “rainbow fitting” — which led Air Mobility Command head Gen. Maryanne Miller to order an inspection of a portion of the fleet, according to an AMC statement released Wednesday evening. A total of 123 of 450 C-130H and C-130J aircraft will be temporarily grounded while inspections occur. “This temporary removal of service will not impact ongoing C-130 support to overseas contingency operations,” AMC said in its statement. The decision to pause operations and conduct inspections was made after a single C-130 was found with the lower center wing joint cracks, said AMC spokesman Maj. Jonathan Simmons. But the risk posed by the issue — that the wing could become dislodged from the aircraft — was so serious that the Air Force decided to move forward with inspections for all planes that could potentially be impacted. The 123 aircraft chosen to go through inspections have not been equipped with an “extended service life center wing box” and have flown more than 15,000 hours. Maintainers will look for cracking, and, if discovered, will replace the rainbow fitting. That repair takes “approximately one to two months” to do and is “dependent on depot level availability and capacity,” Simmons noted in an email. Currently, AMC believes it has an adequate supply of rainbow fittings and is not concerned about a potential shortfall. If no defects are found, the aircraft will return to service. So far, eight aircraft have gone through inspections and are now able to fly, Simmons said. Each inspection is set to take eight hours, but the command does not know how long it will take to move all 123 aircraft through the inspection and repair process. “The Air Force takes the safety of its airmen and aircraft very seriously and is working diligently to identify and repair affected aircraft as soon as possible,” AMC said in its statement.

  • Spear unveils submarine-launched Ninox 103 drone

    June 17, 2022 | International, Naval

    Spear unveils submarine-launched Ninox 103 drone

    Israeli company Spear has unveiled a new drone that launches from a submarine and loiters for nearly an hour, providing surveillance while the launch platform remains submerged.

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