Rapid Fire Oct. 31, 2012: J-31 Maiden Flight
- According to the usual blogs dedicated to watching (or intentionally leaking?) China’s military efforts, AVIC’s J-31 prototype jet fighter made a short maiden flight earlier today. However the Chinese will have to spend dearly to develop competitive homegrown engines.
- The Philippine’s Coast Guard is finalizing the purchase of 5 French patrol vessels for a total of $4.8B pesos (around $116M). Manila Standard.
- French contractors have their sights on a much bigger market, with 20 billion euros at stake in Qatar, between jets, helicopters, air defense systems and more. La Tribune [in French].
- Talks of Russia’s “secret” B-90 Sarov submarines are resurfacing, as they are reportedly close to testing one equipped with hydrogen fuel cells. How to achieve Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) – aside from using nuclear power of course – was already envisioned about 80 years ago, but since then achieving it reliably and safely has proven difficult until fairly recently. German Type 212 subs use fuel cells developed by Siemens and HDW.
- The US DoD announced publicly that its Military Intelligence Program for 2012 amounted to $21.5B down from $24B in 2011, though it alone is higher than many countries’ entire defense budget. The administration’s request for FY13 is $19.2B. That’s about all you will know about it short of having the right clearance.
- The European Union is considering sending 200 troops to train Mali’s military, but that will take time and they are not to be involved in a fighting role. Reuters.
- Finmeccanica signed a “global supply chain deed” with the Australian Ministry of Defence, in the footsteps of other large contractors including Thales, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman. The contractors commit to hiring a team that finds and certifies Australian businesses to join their supply chains.
- The Maritime Security Challenges conference that was held in Canada earlier this month posted videos of its panels that include several sessions on aircraft carrier developments in the US (embedded below), the UK, and China.