Wednesday, January 23, 2013

North Korea planning on nuke test


In a statement carried by KCNA news agency, the top military body said the "high-level nuclear test" and more long-range rocket launches were aimed at its "arch-enemy", the US.

The statement gave no time-frame for the test. North Korea has conducted two nuclear tests, in 2006 and 2009.

The move comes two days after a UN Security Council resolution condemned Pyongyang's recent rocket launch.

The Security Council also expanded sanctions against the communist country following its December launch, which was seen by the US and North Korea's neighbours as a banned test of long-range missile technology.

North Korea said the rocket put a satellite into space.

Panetta lifting combat ban on women in armed services

WASHINGTON — Pentagon chief Leon Panetta has lifted the military's ban on women serving in combat, a move that will allow women into hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando jobs, a senior Defense official said Wednesday.

The move, which was recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, overturns a 1994 rule banning women from such roles, said the Pentagon official speaking on condition of anonymity because the decision has not been announced publicly.

Panetta's decision gives the military services until January 2016 to seek special exceptions if they believe any positions must remain closed to women. It comes after more than 10 years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The official said the services will develop plans for allowing women to seek the combat positions. Some jobs may open as soon as this year. Assessments for others, such as special operations forces, including Navy SEALs and the Army's Delta Force, may take longer.

The official said the military chiefs must report back to Panetta with their initial implementation plans by May 15. The announcement on Panetta's decision is not expected until Thursday.

Panetta's move expands the Pentagon's action nearly a year ago to open about 14,500 combat positions to women, nearly all of them in the Army. This decision could open more than 230,000 jobs, many in Army and Marine infantry units, to women.

Sikorsky and Boeing teaming up to build the next gen combat helicopter?

Sikorsky and Boeing will once again team over a military rotorcraft project, this time the venture is the U.S. Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate’s (AATD) requirement for a Joint Multi-Role (JMR) technology demonstrator (TD), the forerunner to the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) requirement in the 2030s.
Signed on January 13, the agreement means that the companies will submit a joint proposal to the AATD for the JMR TD Phase 1. A contract would follow in autumn for a platform demonstrator that would be used to evaluate next generation technology.
There has been no statement whether the JMR would be based on any current helicopter manufactured by either Sikorsky or Boeing, although a Boeing representative said the expectation was that further details regarding the project would be revealed before the March 2013 deadline.
Phase 2 would begin in 2015 and that would take the project forward through the inclusion of the mission equipment package.
Should the Sikorsky Boeing team then be successful, the hope is that they would then be jointly responsible for the production of the FVL (medium) aircraft, which would replace the current Sikorsky Black Hawk and Boeing Apache fleets within Army Aviation (around 4,000 helicopters).
The two rotorcraft primes have teamed before, most notably on the ill-fated RAH-66 Comanche. Two RAH-66 prototypes were built and conducted flight testing from 1996 to 2004. Widely acknowledged as having made important steps forward during its development, despite the aircraft’s eventual cancellation due to considerable cost overruns it is feasible that both companies feel that aspects of their previous joint development project could be useful to the JMR. Both Sikorsky with its S-97 Raider development based on the X2 and Boeing with its advanced Apache E have cutting-edge technologies to bring to the party. This makes teaming in this economically challenging environment a logical step for both companies.
Chris Chadwick’s released statement on the announcement alluded to the shared history: “Our teaming agreement is the continuation of a long-standing relationship between Boeing and Sikorsky and reflects a common vision for the future of Army aviation.” He continued: “Our combined technical strengths and our collective program management expertise make this partnership an exciting development in meeting the Army’s JMR program objectives.”
Finally, the statement hinted that there could be more than one demonstrator aircraft developed for the 2017 deadline.


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