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08 Jun 15. America is building a fake city to test drones. Out in the middle of a desert a company is building something that at first glance seems utterly pointless: A fake city. Capable of holding an entirely imaginary population of 35,000 people this city will have an industrial sector, a suburban centre and even a park. There’s just one thing that’s missing, and that’s people. Instead this city is going to be filled with robots, from drones to self-driving cars to DARPA’s life-saving superhero ‘bots. Being built by the Center for Innovation Testing and Evaluation this giant complex is actually being modelled on the ‘Nuclear Towns’ in the 50s that were used by the US Military to test the first atomic bombs. The hope is that this giant city-sized laboratory will be able to help Google, Amazon and even Apple test the new generation of automated robots without the risk of them actually crashing into buildings full of real people. Construction will finish within the next year or so and companies can begin testing after then. With regulators in the UK and the US remaining incredibly cautious about the benefits of drones, the city will act as a template upon which tech companies can perfect their products. (Source: UAS VISION/Huffington Post)
11 Jun 15. US Navy christened Littoral Combat Ship Gabrielle Giffords. The US Navy christened its tenth littoral combat ship (LCS), the future USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), during a midday ceremony June 13 at Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama. LCS 10 is named after former United States Representative Gabrielle Giffords. The LCS class consists of the Freedom variant and Independence variant, each designed and built by different industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin (for odd-numbered hulls, e.g., LCS 1). The Independence variant team is led by General Dynamics, Bath Iron Works (LCS 2 and LCS 4) and Austal USA (for the subsequent even-numbered hulls). Purchased under the innovative block-buy acquisition strategy, there are 12 ships currently under construction.
11 Jun 15. India’s indigenous aircraft carrier floated out. The Indian Navy’s first indigenously built aircraft carrier, Vikrant, was floated out at Cochin shipyard in south India’s Project 71 Indigenous Aircraft Carrier programme passed another milestone on 10 June with the undocking of the carrier Vikrant at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL).
The undocking, which followed the completion of post launch structural work, was planned for 28 May but had to be postponed a number of times due to problems with the dry dock gate and silt at the gate mouth that required dredging. The most visible aspects of work already completed include the flight deck, island structure and hull sponsons. In addition, CSL says that all underwater work – shafting, propellers, rudders, and stabilisers – has been completed. Vikrant will now undergo minor structural work and outfitting for the next 18 months. Cabling, piping, electrical equipment and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are among the major systems that will be installed, along with the Russian-designed aviation facilities complex. Local media have reported that while 14 contracts have been signed with the Rosoboronexport arms export agency for the carrier’s aviation complex, delivery of major equipment is yet to begin. An Indian Parliamentary Defence Committee report published in April ascribes these delays to “administrative and procedural delays [in Russia] in obtaining internal clearances from their government.” (Source: IHS Jane’s)
10 Jun 15. India launches 16th Aadesh-class patrol vessel, lays keel fo