Rapid Fire Oct. 31, 2012: J-31 Maiden Flight

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* 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 […]

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