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19 May 08. Laser heats up the fusion future. The world’s most powerful laser has heated matter to a truly sweltering 10 million Celsius. The Vulcan laser concentrated energy equivalent to 100 times the world’s electricity production into a spot just a few millionths of a metre across. Writing in the New Journal of Physics, scientists said they could create the conditions for fractions of a second. The experiments demonstrated concepts which could be key to building a future nuclear fusion reactor. The UK has proposed an even more powerful laser facility, known as Hiper (High Power laser Energy Research), which will study the feasibility of laser fusion as a potential future energy source. “Hiper is a proposed, very large-scale facility and so we have to check that our understanding is correct,” explained Professor Peter Norreys of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) in Oxfordshire where the experiments took place. Nuclear fusion is looked on as a panacea in a world that demands ever increasing amounts of energy. The fuel for the process is deuterium and tritium, two heavier forms of hydrogen that are commonly found in seawater. The process naturally occurs in the core of the Sun where huge gravitational pressure allows this to happen at temperatures of around 10 million Celsius. At the much lower pressures on Earth, temperatures to produce fusion would need to be much higher – above 100 million Celsius. Ultra powerful lasers, such as Hiper, have been proposed as one method for reaching these extreme conditions, although many remain sceptical about the technique. The project has been drawn up to capitalise on another project at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. NIF is expected to demonstrate energy production from laser driven fusion between 2010 and 2012. If proven, the technology could rival the current favoured technique for initiating fusion which uses superconducting magnets to contain and fuse the hydrogen nuclei. This technique will be used in the 10bn-euro International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) currently being built in Cadarache, southern France. (Source: BBC)
16 May 08. Thales has announced the launch of its new-generation range of COMINT
& EW services, systems and equipments called Q (Communications Intelligence & Electronic Warfare). The CIEW family is primarily designed to meet the current
defence and security threats while delivering information dominance and enabling
Command & Control operations on the digitised battlespace. Under the Q brand, the CIEW family includes the global know-how of Thales to design and deliver COMINT & EW solutions tailored to the missions and operational environments of defence and security users, respectively named Intelligence Q, Land Q and Naval Q. Q mission packages rely on the same core equipment capabilities for interception, analysis, direction-finding and Command and Control warfare or force protection, which can be tailored to fulfil each user’s operational environment.
May 08. IVECO Defence and KMW deliver KMW Grizzly prototypes. The KMW Grizzly is a new, medium weight highly protected vehicle, developed by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), designed for operation with the German Army based on the 6×6 Trakker chassis from IVECO adapted to meet the needs of the German Army. It is being developed under the direction of the German Ministry of Defence technology and procurement agency (Bundesamt für Wehrtechnik und Beschaffung). The first vehicle will be delivered as early as November 2007. Germany has ordered 100 units with 9 prototypes being delivered now. The Grizzly is designed to meet the German Army’s “Class 4” protected command and role-specific vehicles, with a gross vehicle weight of 25 tons, and transportable on the Airbus A400M aircraft. Currently, the German Army could use only the smaller 12