Rapid Fire March 23, 2012: Robotic Refueling, Suspensions

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* The US Navy’s MZ-3A military research airship is about to get another year’s lease on life, as an Army test bed. With LEMV coming along, that’s probably a good idea. * The GAO says US Army payroll is a mess – not the kind where you get to eat. * Dassault Aviation released its 2011 results [PDF]. Net sales were down 21% to 3.3B euros (about $4.4B) because of markedly lower Falcon business jet deliveries vs. a record 2010. Defense orders grew 17.5% to 931 million euros. The consolidated backlog is down 7% to 8.75 billion euros. * Rafael announced 2011 sales of $1.98B, up 7% from the previous year. Its backlog, 70% of which comes from exports, is down $103M to $3.46B. * Canada has scaled back its plans for an Arctic naval facility at Nanisivik. * There’s not much yet specific to defense in the Guardian’s highlights of the UK’s 2012 budget, save this: a faster Afghanistan withdrawal would save 2.4 billion pounds by 2015. * European Union members are considering pooling air refueling and medical field hospital resources. In the EU’s unmistakable burospeak: “A Declaration of Intent for the Establishment of Multinational Modular Medical Units.” * […]

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