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26 Jul 07. The innovative Boeing Blended Wing Body (BWB) research aircraft — designated the X-48B — flew for the first time last week at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The 21-foot wingspan, 500-pound unmanned test vehicle took off for the first time at 8:42 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time on July 20 and climbed to an altitude of 7,500 feet before landing 31 minutes later. The X-48B flight test vehicle was developed by Boeing Phantom Works in cooperation with NASA and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory to gather detailed information about the stability and flight-control characteristics of the BWB design, especially during takeoffs and landings. Up to 25 flights are planned to gather data in these low-speed flight regimes. Following completion of low-speed flight testing, the X-48B likely will be used to test the BWB’s low-noise characteristics, as well as BWB handling characteristics at transonic speeds. (Source: Shephard)
30 Jul 07. ApNano Materials, Inc.(www.apnano.com), a provider of nanotechnology-based products, today announced the establishment of a subsidiary of ApNano Materials that will develop and manufacture the company’s new NanoArmor™ line of nanotechnology-based bullet-proof products. The new subsidiary will start with products that enhance the performance of personal safety items such as bullet proof vests and helmets, and will continue with protection products for vehicles and aircraft. “The company has already started negotiations with investors,” said Aharon Feuerstein, ApNano Materials’ Chairman and CFO. “In addition, NanoArmor potential products have already attracted huge interest from military, law enforcement and homeland security organizations and agencies in various countries.” The Nano Armor products will be based on ApNano’s proprietary nanospheres and nanotubes, which are excellent shock absorbing materials and among the most impact resistant substances known in the world today. These revolutionary nanoparticles of inorganic compounds provide exceptional shock absorbing capabilities. ApNano’s nanomaterials have up to twice the strength of today’s best impact resistant protective armor materials such as boron carbide and silicon carbide used in hard armor plates, and is 4-5 times stronger than steel. The Nano Armor products will be made of tungsten disulfide (WS2) nanoparticles, currently manufactured by ApNano Materials, under the trade name NanoArmor™. In addition, the subsidiary will develop multi-walled titanium-based nanoparticles which will enable it to produce over 50% lighter weight armor products.
29 Jul 07. U.S. refusal to supply Lockheed Martin F-22s for Japan’s current fighter requirement has prompted Tokyo’s defense ministry to propose a stealth technology demonstrator, ensuring it will be more independent of Washington in future programs. Pushing back the decision date on a replacement for its F-4 Phantoms to 2009 at the earliest, the Japanese defense ministry says it is looking at flying the old McDonnell Douglas fighters longer. It is also seeking information on potential replacements from non-U.S. suppliers—presumably the Eurofighter consortium and Dassault Aviation. Japanese media reports quote officials saying the proposed stealth technology demonstrator would give Tokyo leverage in seeking F-22s as Phantom replacements—suggesting that the U.S. might as well relent, because Japan will get a stealth fighter on its own if it has to. But it is obvious that Japan is in no position to develop a stealth fighter quickly enough for the Phantom replacement requirement, the F-X.The project does, however, show that Japan is determined to be less dependent on the U.S. for later combat aircraft requirements, or at least to have a stronger position when negotiating for U.S. aircraft to fill them. The U.K. similarly invests in stealth partly to keep a seat at Was