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  • New in 2019: Army Europe adds new units, boosts air defense, artillery

    4 janvier 2019 | International, Terrestre

    New in 2019: Army Europe adds new units, boosts air defense, artillery

    By: Todd South The new units the Army plans to add to its troops stationed in Europe are a small but crucial part of its support of allies and force projection on the continent. That ongoing work has seen increases in rotations, a focus on improving ground vehicle lethality and protection, and reactivating units with a European battlefield focus. U.S. Army Europe announced in September that it would add another 1,500 troops to units that would be stationed in the following areas of Germany: Grafenwohr, Ansbach, Hohenfels and Baumholder. Currently there are about 33,000 U.S. soldiers in Germany alone. Though the complete standup and stationing won't conclude until September 2020, according to plans, the base of those units begins building now. And that includes a field artillery brigade headquarters, two Multiple Launch Rocket Systems battalions and supporting units at Grafenwohr, a Short-Range Air Defense battalion at Ansbach and other supporting units at Hohenfels and Baumholder. In addition, existing units will move within the country. That includes one military police brigade headquarters and a battalion headquarters moving in Bavaria, a signal battalion to Baumholder and a truck company to Kaiserslautern. These changes are part of an overall move back to power projection and ally support, which had declined following the peak of U.S. troop stationing in the 1980s, a drawdown through the 1990s and during the post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Our number one priority is readiness, which must be sustained through training, personnel and equipment. We set the theater to support operational plans and contingencies throughout Europe and enable an efficient flow of forces as needed, so we must maintain critical capabilities and enhance interoperability,” Col. Joe Scrocca, spokesman for U.S. Army Europe, told Army Times. Beginning in 2016, the Army announced nine-month deployments for an armored brigade combat team in Europe, putting more troops in the region to train with Eastern European allies, especially in Poland, Romania and the Baltics. Today, there are more than 8,000 rotational soldiers in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. The Army also is beefing up its equipment in Europe. In late 2017, the first of the Army's upgunned Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle-Dragoon — which features a 30mm cannon instead of the previous M2 .50-caliber machine gun — arrived at the 2nd Cavalry Regiment. The same unit was also among the first to receive the Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station capable of firing a Javelin missile, also called the CROWS-J. The initial fielding that began in August included 86 systems across the Army with another fielding planned for late 2020.

  • Here’s the Army’s latest electronic warfare project

    4 janvier 2019 | International, Terrestre, C4ISR

    Here’s the Army’s latest electronic warfare project

    By: Mark Pomerleau Europe's increasingly contested environments have required increasingly complex electronic warfare planning tools. Vehicles, however, can't house the power of command posts, so the Army is adapting an existing system for the tactical edge. The Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool, or EWPMT, is a command-and-control planning capability that allows commanders and soldiers to visualize on a screen the effects of electronic warfare in the field. As part of efforts to provide soldiers additional capabilities for EWPMT ahead of the program's scheduled add-ons — an effort dubbed Raven Claw — the Army received feedback that troops at the vehicle or platform level don't need the full application required at command posts. This feedback coincided with other observations from the Raven Claw deployment, which officials said were mixed. “It does what it's supposed to do, but it requires a lot of computing capacity and also it requires a lot of inputs from the [electronic warfare officers] right now,” Col. Mark Dotson, the Army's capability manager for electronic warfare, told C4ISRNET in a November interview. In response, a new effort called Raven Feather “will address both processing consumption and critical EW tasks required at the vehicle/platform level,” Lt. Col. Jason Marshall, product manager for electronic warfare integration at Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors, told C4ISRNET in response to written questions. “Raven Feather will provide a more tactically focused Graphical User Interface as part of the EWPMT Raven Claw system mounted in the vehicle or loaded into the Mounted Family of Computer Systems (MFoCS).” Dotson added that the Army is eyeing lighter versions of the capability that could be available for lower echelons that may not need as much modeling and simulation. “We're looking at ways to tailor it specifically to the echelon, and then that will help us with the platform we need to put it on,” he said. The modeling and simulation might be important at the staff officer level, he added, but he questioned whether that computing power is needed at the micro-tactical level.

  • Croatia gives Israel deadline for sale of US-made fighter jets

    4 janvier 2019 | International, Aérospatial

    Croatia gives Israel deadline for sale of US-made fighter jets

    Croatia urges Israel to overcome disagreement with the US by January 11 or says it will cancel deal. Croatia has urged Israel to overcome a rare disagreement with the United States and to confirm it can carry through on a deal to sell 12 used American-made fighter jets. Croatia's Defence Ministry said on Thursday it needed an answer from Israel by January 11 or the Balkan country's $500m order for a dozen F-16 aircraft would be cancelled. Israel made a tentative deal to sell the upgraded F-16 Barak fighters to Croatia in March pending US approval for allowing the jets to go to a third party. The deal ran into trouble after the US State Department hinted that Israel needs to strip off the upgrades that were added after Israel took delivery of the planes from the US some 30 years ago. Israel upgraded the jets with sophisticated electronic and radar systems, which was crucial in Croatia's decision to buy the planes from Israel rather than from the US. "If the planes are not in accordance with what we have agreed, the deal will not be carried out and we will have another purchase bid," Croatia's parliament speaker, Gordan Jandrokovic, said. Relations between the Trump administration and Israel have been very close, particularly on defence issues. But the sale of the jets to Croatia appears to be an exception. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Tuesday in Brazil but didn't agree on a way to end the impasse. "We are expecting final and clear stands from both Israel and the United States on this issue and then we will make a final decision," Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said. Croatian Defence Minister Damir Krsticevic said Thursday that Israel provided guarantees during the contract bidding process that US officials would greenlight the sale. The controversy over the bid has triggered calls for the defence minister's resignation. The deal is Croatia's largest single military buy since it split from the Yugoslav federationduring the 1991-95 war. NATO member Croatia faces a mini arms race with Russian ally Serbia, which recently received six used Russian MiG-29 fighter jets. SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

  • Le Pentagone passe des contrats pour près d’un milliard de dollars pour les futurs F-35

    3 janvier 2019 | International, Aérospatial

    Le Pentagone passe des contrats pour près d’un milliard de dollars pour les futurs F-35

    Le groupe américain Lockheed Martin a obtenu un contrat de plus de 721 millions de dollars pour le développement des futurs avions de combat F-35 Lightning II, le type de chasseur choisi par la Belgique pour remplacer ses F-16 à partir de 2023, a annoncé le Pentagone. Cet avenant à un contrat antérieur doit permettre à Lockheed de développer et de tester ce que le Pentagone qualifie de «Technology Refresh 3 (TR3) System» pour les avions du lot de production (LRIP) 15, des avions à commander en 2021 pour des livraisons prévues en 2023. Le nouveau contrat porte sur un montant de 712,482 millions de dollars. Les travaux concernés par ce contrat seront effectués à Fort Worth (Texas), qui abrite la principale ligne de production du F-35, un chasseur furtif de 5ème génération, et devraient être terminés en mars 2023, a précisé le Pentagone dans un communiqué daté du 27 décembre. Le lendemain, le ministère américain de la Défense a annoncé l'attribution d'un contrat de 230,145 millions de dollars au motoriste Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, filiale de United Technologies Corp., pour les tests des moteurs F-135 qui propulseront le F-35 dans sa version Block 4 et destinés à l'US Air Force, à l'US Navy, au corps des Marines et aux clients étrangers.

  • UK Defence Diving and Maritime Regulations

    3 janvier 2019 | International, Naval

    UK Defence Diving and Maritime Regulations

    Defence maritime regulations These publications specify the Defence maritime regulations for health, safety and environmental protection for UK MOD maritime activity Defence diving regulation This Defence Safety Authority Regulatory publication articulates the Defence Maritime Regulator requirements for the safety of defence diving activity.

  • Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - January 2, 2019

    3 janvier 2019 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

    Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - January 2, 2019

    NAVY Risk Mitigation Consulting Inc.,* Destin, Florida, is awarded a maximum amount $95,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for mission assurance assessments of installation/facilities infrastructure and facility-related control systems for the Department of the Navy . The work includes, but is not limited to the collection and evaluation of data concerning the criticality of facilities, utilities, industrial control systems, and supporting infrastructure based on mission impacts, probable threats and hazards, and degrees of vulnerability to determine the overall risk posture of the asset. Work will be performed at various Navy and Marine Corps installations at various locations within the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic area of responsibility, both inside and outside the continentalU.S., including, but not limited to, California (24.6 percent); Virginia (13.0 percent); Florida (10.1 percent); Maryland (7.2 percent); Washington (5.8 percent); Hawaii (4.3 percent); Texas (4.3 percent); South Carolina (4.3 percent); Washington, District of Columbia (2.9 percent); North Carolina (2.9 percent); Mississippi (2.9 percent); Georgia (2.9 percent); Tennessee (1.5 percent); Rhode Island (1.5 percent); Pennsylvania (1.5 percent); New York (1.5 percent); New Jersey (1.5 percent); Louisiana (1.5 percent); Indiana (1.5 percent); Illinois (1.5 percent); Connecticut (1.4 percent); and Arizona (1.4 percent). The term of the contract is not to exceed 60 months with an expected completion date of January 1, 2024. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance (Navy) funds in the amount of $10,000 are obligated on this award, and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Future task orders will be primarily funded by operations and maintenance (Navy and Marine Corps). This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website and Federal Business Opportunities website, with six proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic, Norfolk, Virginia, is the contracting activity (N62470-19-D-2002). Raytheon Co., El Segundo, California, was awarded $81,224,627 for modification P00007 to a previously awarded fixed-price-incentive=-firm-target contract (N00019-17-C-0042). This modification provides for the procurement of 228 configuration components required for completion of Configuration D Retrofit Component engineering change proposals for the F/A-18E/F and EA-18G aircraft for the Navy and the government of Australia. Work will be performed in Forest, Mississippi (53 percent); Andover, Massachusetts (36 percent); and El Segundo, California (11 percent), and is expected to be completed in February 2022. Fiscal 2019 aircraft procurement (Navy); and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) funds in the amount of $81,224,627 will be obligated at time of award. No funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This modification combines purchases for the Navy ($80,692,484; 99 percent) and the government of Australia ($532,143; 1 percent) under the FMS program. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity. Lockheed Martin, Rotary and Mission Systems, Moorestown, New Jersey, is awarded a $28,882,337 cost-plus-incentive-fee modification to previously awarded contract N00024-16-C-5102 for AEGIS Baseline 9 Integration and Delivery, TI-08 CG Upgrade, AEGIS Baseline 9 Capability Development, Capability Improvements, Baseline 9 Sea Based Non-Cooperative Target Recognition Development and Radar Engineering. Work will be performed in Moorestown, New Jersey, and is expected to be complete by July 2019. Fiscal 2019 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy); fiscal 2013 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy); fiscal 2019 other procurement (Navy); 2019 operations and maintenance (Navy); and 2019 weapons procurement (Navy), funding in the amount of $28,882,337 will be obligated at time of award and funds in the amount of $1,530,764 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity. Bell-Boeing JPO, Amarillo, Texas, is being awarded $23,325,145 for cost-plus- fixed-fee delivery order N0001918F5004 against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-17-G-0002) in support of the V-22. This order provides support of ongoing flight test and evaluation of the V-22 test aircraft. Work will be performed at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland (90 percent); and Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona (10 percent), and is expected to be completed in December 2018. Fiscal 2018 aircraft procurement (Navy); and fiscal 2018 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funds in the amount of $23,325,145 will be obligated at time of award; none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity. SRA International Inc., Chantilly, Virginia, was awarded an $11,336,940 firm-fixed-price contract for command, control, communications, and computer system afloat operations and sustainment support for capabilities aboard the Military Sealift Command (MSC) fleet of ships, and the MSC network operations centers. This contract includes a six-month period of performance. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Virginia, and work is scheduled to commence Jan. 1, 2019, and is scheduled to be completed June 30, 2019. This contract will be funded with Navy working capital funds; and U.S. Transportation Command working capital funds. Funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was awarded as an other than full and open requirement under unusual and compelling urgency procedures. Only one offer was solicited and received. The Navy's Military Sealift Command, Norfolk, Virginia, is the contracting activity. (N3220519C1000) (Awarded Dec. 31, 2018) Structural Associates Inc., * East Syracuse, New York, is awarded $10,008,000 for firm-fixed-price task order N4008519F4299 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N40085-17-D-5048) for repairs for insulator shop relocation Building 166 at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The work to be performed provides building repairs and modernization to the historic 1941 Building 166. Exterior envelope repairs and replacement will include, but are not be limited to, roofing and wall systems, trim, windows and window systems, skylights, door repairs, concrete, the installation of roof and wall insulation, and reconfiguration of the building entrance to provide accessibility. Interior repair and renovation includes, but is not limited to, reconfiguration of existing toilet facilities, the renovation of electrical and plumbing systems, the replacement of deteriorated heating ventilation and air conditioning equipment and controls, and the modernization of fire protection systems. Work will include egress paths in order to improve space utilization, accessibility and life safety. The task order also contains five unexercised options, which, if exercised, would increase cumulative task order value to $10,691,110. Work will be performed in Kittery, Maine, and is expected to be completed by March 2020. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance (Navy) contract funds in the amount of $10,008,000 are obligated on this award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Four proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Virginia, is the contracting activity. Correction: Contract awarded on Dec. 27, 2018 to Bell Boeing JPO, Amarillo, Texas, was announced with the incorrect award amount and contracting activity. The contract should have stated the award amount of $ $24,448,390 and that the contracting activity is the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, New Jersey. All other contract information is correct. ARMY O'gara-Hess & Eisenhardt Armoring Co. LLC,* Fairfield, Ohio, was awarded a $60,736,752 firm-fixed-price contract to procure Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles protection kits. Bids were solicited via the internet with six received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2023. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Michigan, is the contracting activity (W56HZV-19-D-0041). Endeavor Robotics Inc., Chelmsford, Massachusetts, was awarded a $32,400,000 firm-fixed-price contract for reset, sustainment, maintenance, and recap parts for Robot Logistics Support Center technicians to support the overall sustainment actions of the entire Endeavor family of small, medium, and large robots. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Jan. 2, 2024. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Michigan, is the contracting activity (W56HZV-19-D-0031). CORRECTION: An $89,520,585 modification (0053 09) to contract W52P1J-11-G-0053 awarded to BAE Systems Ordnance Systems Inc., Radford, Virginia, announced Dec. 31, 2018, listed the wrong amount of funds obligated. The correct amount of obligated funds is $7,895,422. All other information in the announcement was correct. AIR FORCE BAE Systems Information and Electronics Systems Integration, Nashua, New Hampshire (FA8604-19-D-4021); The Boeing Co., Defense, Space & Security, St. Louis, Missouri (FA8604-19-D-4022); General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.(GS-ASI), Poway, California (FA8604-19-D-4020); Goodrich Corp., UTC Aerospace Systems, ISR Systems, Westford, Massachusetts (FA8604-19-D-4023); Harris Corp., Electronic Systems, Integrated Electronic Warfare Systems, Clifton, New Jersey (FA8604-19-D-4027); Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas (FA8604-19-D-4026); Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, Melbourne, Florida (FA8604-19-D-4024); and Raytheon Co., Raytheon, El Segundo, California (FA8604-19-D-40250), have been awarded $22,500,000 ceiling indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts for the formation of a collaborative working group of various industry partners to work as single extended entity to develop, evolve, update via pre-planned product improvement initiatives, as well as manage and provide configuration control of the open mission systems and universal command and control interface standards, collectively referred to as the Open Architecture Standards. These contracts provide for the development, updating and management of the above standards with the following business goals, promote adaptability, flexibility, and expandability; support a variety of missions and domains; simplify integration; reduce technical risk and overall cost of ownership of weapon system programs; enable affordable technology refresh and capability evolution; enable reuse; enable independent development and deployment of system elements; and accommodate a range of cybersecurity approaches. Work will be performed at the industry partner facilities in Nashua, New Hampshire; St. Louis, Poway, California; Westford Massachusetts; Clifton New Hampshire; Fort Worth, Texas; and Melbourne, Florida, and is expected to be complete by December 31, 2022. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. Air Force Life Cycle Management, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity. *Small business

  • Thales inaugure un hub Innovation et un Digital Competence Center à Toulouse

    3 janvier 2019 | International, C4ISR

    Thales inaugure un hub Innovation et un Digital Competence Center à Toulouse

    MARINA ANGEL Dans la foulée de sa Digital Factory, qui après Paris, vient de s'installer à Montréal et Singapour, le groupe Thales vient de se doter à Toulouse d'un nouveau hub d'innovation et d'un Digital Competence Center. De nouveaux outils pour accélérer la transformation digitale du groupe, qui pourraient bientôt être dupliqués au sein d'autres sites du groupe. Le groupe Thales vient d'inaugurer à Toulouse, ce 19 décembre 2018, un nouveau hub Innovation et un Digital Competence Center. Deux nouveaux outils destinés à accélérer sa stratégie de transformation digitale au plus près de ses équipes de développement et avec une volonté de renforcer ses coopérations avec l'éco-système régional.Les deux structures sont hébergées dans un espace dédié de 1 500 m2, au cœur du site avionique toulousain de Thales, où quelque 950 personnes (principalement des ingénieurs) travaillent notamment sur le développement de systèmes et de solutions pour les cockpits et les cabines des avions du futur. "L'objectif est de développer en région de nouvelles méthodes d'innovation et d'amplifier une dynamique déjà bien amorcée avec la création de notre Digital Factory", annonce Gil Michielin, directeur général des activités avioniques mondiales de Thales. PRIORITÉ À L'AVION CONNECTÉ ET PLUS AUTONOME Créée en juin 2017 à Paris, l'équipe de la Digital Factory de Thales occupe déjà 250 spécialistes principalement en intelligence artificielle, big data et cybersécurité, recrutés à la fois au sein du groupe et en externe, dont la mission est d'accélérer la transformation digitale du groupe en appliquant toutes les recettes de l'open innovation et du travail collaboratif. Des relais, les "Digital Champions", ont été désignés au sein des différents sites du groupe et par métier, pour faire émerger des besoins utilisateurs et les soumettre aux équipes de la Digital Factory qui travaillent ainsi pour le compte de toutes les entités du groupe."Nous montons des équipes très agiles de 3 à 8 personnes, qui s'engagent à livrer des premiers MVP (Minimum Viable Product) dans un délai très court de 4 mois maximum", explique Olivier Flous, directeur de la Digital Factory. Le concept a déjà fait ses preuves. "Nous avons à notre actif le développement d'une vingtaine de MVP avec pour certains des premiers déploiements en cours", précise Olivier Flous. Dotée d'un budget de 150 millions d'euros sur trois ans, la Digital Factory dispose aujourd'hui de deux nouvelles bases à Montréal, au Canada et à Singapour. Avec son propre hub Innovation et son nouveau Digital Competence Center, le site de Toulouse se dote à son tour de ses propres espaces collaboratifs, avec une spécificité régionale. "A Toulouse, l'accent sera mis tout particulièrement sur l'avion connecté et l'autonomie", précise Gil Michielin. FAIRE ÉMERGER DE NOUVEAUX PROJETS Le hub Innovation et le Digital Competence Center ont la même ambition de faire émerger de nouveaux projets, à la fois en s'appuyant sur les expertises de la Digital Factory, en valorisation le savoir-faire des équipes de R&D toulousaines et en favorisant de nouvelles coopérations avec les entreprises du territoire régional, notamment en direction des PME et des start-up. "Nous avons conçu ces nouveaux espaces pour faire émerger de nouveaux projets, mais aussi pour accompagner leur développement et leur déploiement", insiste Gil Michielin. Il s'agit à la fois de booster les équipes toulousaines du groupe pour développer en interne de nouvelles méthodes d'innovation et de s'ouvrir en direction de clients ou de partenaires, dans une dynamique d'open innovation. Un premier challenge toulousain sur la cybersécurité vient ainsi d'être organisé, associant des équipes de Thales, des ingénieurs d'Airbus et de Latécoère, mais aussi de sociétés régionales, telles que Pole Star ou iTrust. "En parallèle, nos équipes sont allées à la rencontre d'une centaine de startups toulousaines et en ont identifié environ 25, avec lesquelles nous serions susceptibles de développer de nouveaux projets", indique par ailleurs Laurent Lenoir, directeur du site avionique de Thales à Toulouse. ACCÉLÉRER LE DÉPLOIEMENT DE NOUVEAUX CONCEPTS L'objectif est de faire émerger de nouveaux projets, mais aussi d'accompagner des projets issus d'autres sites et de les amener jusqu'au développement commercial. Après une première phase pilote conduite sur son site de Chatellerault (Vienne), le groupe a ainsi décidé de transférer à Toulouse, le projet "PartEdge", issu initialement d'un MVP identifié par les équipes de la Digital Factory. Le projet porte sur le développement d'un nouveau système de gestion de pièces de rechange pour les équipements aéronautiques. Pour répondre aux attentes des compagnies aériennes et contribuer à réduire une des causes d'immobilisation au sol des avions commerciaux, PartEdge veut créer une marketplace où les compagnies pourront trouver en temps réel la bonne pièce, au bon prix et dans les meilleurs délais. L'objectif est maintenant de changer d'échelle et d'accompagner le projet jusqu'à sa maturité commerciale. Le Digital Competence Center est aussi déjà impliqué dans un projet industrie 4.0 visant à améliorer des process de production de calculateurs et de capteurs. DUPLIQUER L'INITIATIVE SUR D'AUTRES SITES DU GROUPE Une trentaine d'ingénieurs travaillent déjà au sein du Digital Competence Center de Toulouse, conçu pour accueillir jusqu'à une centaine de personnes. Cet espace sera probablement amené à grandir, mais aussi à être dupliqué sur d'autres sites du groupe. Un Digital Competence Center devrait ouvrir prochainement ses portes à Mérignac, en Gironde. Le concept pourrait ensuite essaimer au sein du groupe. "En injectant dans notre organisation des structures agiles et en migrant le développant de projets sur des plates-formes conçues pour libérer la capacité de créativité et d'innovation, nous contribuons aussi à l'attractivité de nos sites", remarque aussi Gil Michielin. Le groupe, qui emploie 4 500 salariés à Toulouse, avec, outre l'avionique, des sites et des équipes impliqués dans le spatial, la sécurité et la défense), a recruté cette année 150 personnes et table sur un niveau de recrutement similaire pour 2019. MARINA ANGEL

  • China’s Moon Landing: ‘New Chapter in Humanity’s Exploration of the Moon’

    3 janvier 2019 | International, Aérospatial

    China’s Moon Landing: ‘New Chapter in Humanity’s Exploration of the Moon’

    By Steven Lee Myers and Zoe Mou BEIJING — China reached a milestone in space exploration on Thursday, landing a vehicle on the far side of the moon for the first time in history, the country's space agency announced. The landing of the probe, called Chang'e-4 after the moon goddess in Chinese mythology, is one in a coming series of missions that underscore the country's ambitions to join — and even lead — the space race. China landed another rover on the moon in 2013, joining the United States and the Soviet Union as the only nations to have carried out a “soft landing” there, but the Chang'e-4 is the first to touch down on the side of the moon that perpetually faces away from the Earth. The mission “has opened a new chapter in humanity's exploration of the moon,” the China National Space Administration said in an announcement on its website. The agency said the spacecraft landed at 10:26 a.m. Beijing time at its target on the far side of the moon. The probe sent back to the earth the first close-up image of the moon's far side using a relay satellite China calls “Queqiao,” or “Magpie Bridge,” the space agency said in a notice that included images it said were taken by the probe. Although a latecomer by decades to space exploration, China is quickly catching up, experts say, and could challenge the United States for supremacy in artificial intelligence, quantum computing and other fields. “This space mission shows that China has reached the advanced world-class level in deep space exploration,” said Zhu Menghua, a professor at the Macau University of Science and Technology who has worked closely with the Chinese space agency. “We Chinese people have done something that the Americans have not dared try.” China now plans to begin fully operating its third space station by 2022, to put astronauts in a lunar base by later in that decade, and to send probes to Mars, including ones that could return samples of the Martian surface back to Earth. Though the moon is hardly untrodden ground after decades of exploration, a new landing is far more than just a propaganda coup, experts say. Full article:

  • US Navy to buy two Ford-class aircraft carriers

    3 janvier 2019 | International, Naval

    US Navy to buy two Ford-class aircraft carriers

    The US Navy has announced its intention to block-buy two Ford-class aircraft carriers, US Senate Armed Services Committee member Tim Kaine has confirmed. The Ford-class warships are equipped with electromagnetic-powered aircraft launch system (EMALS) and are expected to replace Nimitz-class carriers, which have served the US Navy for more than 40 years. Welcoming the announcement, Kaine said: “I'm thrilled the navy has decided to pursue a block-buy for aircraft carriers, something I've been advocating to save billions in taxpayer dollars and offer more certainty to the Hampton Roads defence community. “This smart move will save taxpayer dollars and help ensure the shipyards can maintain a skilled workforce to get the job done. Newport News builds the finest carriers in the world, and I know they are ready to handle this increase in work as we make progress toward the navy's goal of a 355-ship fleet.” In June 2017, Huntington Ingalls Industries' (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding division delivered the first Ford-class aircraft carrier, Gerald R Ford (CVN 78), to the US Navy following completion of acceptance trials in May. The USS Gerald R Ford was built at a cost of $13bn and commissioned in July 2017. According to HII, the Ford-class carriers have a nuclear power plant, a redesigned island, electromagnetic catapults, and improved weapons movement, as well as an enhanced flight deck capable of increased aircraft sortie rates. The navy expects to spend around $43bn to build the first three ships in the class. Deployment of the ship is estimated to result in $4bn in total ownership cost savings for the navy. Last year, the navy asked HII for detailed pricing on the cost of two aircraft carriers.

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