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NEWS IN BRIEF

EUROPE

17 Feb 06. UK Trade & Investment will be leading a delegation of pioneering UK
nanotechnology organisations at the flagship nano tech 2006 event, taking
place in Tokyo next week. In all, seventeen organisations will be represented at the event, including Akubio, a Cambridge-based instruments company, AML, leaders in aligned wafer-bonding techniques and Salisbury-based Nanosight, recently awarded Department for Trade & Industry funding to develop a revolutionary new method of detecting biological agents. Other UK companies traveling to Tokyo include Oxford Instruments, a leading provider of nanotechnology tools and systems and a pioneer of processes targeted at high brightness LED applications. The London Centre for Nanotechnology will also be present, with a dedicated area to profile the new bio-nanotechnology facility based at University College London. The exhibition includes a new product showcase where MNT products made by UK companies will be exhibited. For example, metaFAB will showcase its new dual, femtosecond deep ultraviolet laser machining facility built by UK laser systems integrator Exitech Ltd. In separate news, the UK Micro and Nanotechnology (MNT) Network has announced it is inviting applications for the 2006 MNT Quality Mark scheme. The Quality Mark is designed to benchmark the development and implementation of best practice and to set a strict minimum standard of performance and achievement for MNT companies. The scheme was launched last year with the first six MNT companies receiving their awards at an official ceremony in September. Firms or organisations are now being invited to apply for certification within the 2006 application round. All companies who are members of the MNT directory, a comprehensive database of the UK’s MNT facilities and services, are eligible for the free benchmarking survey.

17 Feb 06. The Airbus A380 superjumbo will enter service later this year as scheduled despite the rupture of a wing during ground tests. The wings of the 555-seater may require “refinements at certain points” as a result of the fracture, which happened Tuesday during ground testing in Toulouse. Before certifying an airliner for commercial service, aviation authorities set its “limit loads” — the maximum strain each part is likely to be placed under during extreme turbulence or hard landings. New planes are required to resist loads of 1.5 times the limit. The A380 wing had been bent upward by 24.3 feet at the tip, reaching 1.45 times its limit load — or 3.3 percent short of target — when the rupture appeared in a section between the two engines.

USA

14 Feb 06. South Korea requested the United States to send pricing and availability data of the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile systems of Lockheed Martin for its surface-to-air missile procurement project, a military source said Monday. The Air Force asked Lockheed Martin for the pricing and availability data in the mid-November and the U.S. company plans to give the price information by next month, the official at Lockheed Martin’s office in Seoul said. The U.S. government is reviewing the data before sending it to Seoul, he added. The Defense Acquisition Program Administration, in charge of the country’s arms procurement affairs, also confirmed it.“The request was made in terms of an information gathering on future negotiations of patriot missile systems,” Park Sung-soo at the agency’s public affairs office told The Korea Times. “However, we don’t have a firm plan yet to introduce the PAC-3 system.” Under the $1 billion project, code-named SAM-X, South Korea plans to buy 48 advanced Patriot missile interceptors to replace aging Nike Hercules missiles against the threat of North Korean ballistic missiles. The government is currently seeking to purchase secondhand, German-made PAC-2 GEM missiles, instead of more modern and capable PAC-3 systems of the United States, citing financial constraints. The “hit-to-kill” PAC-3 Miss

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