07 Apr 03. The first fuel cell-powered submarine began its maiden voyage after decades of development. Built at the Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werft (HDW) shipyard, the “U31” uses tanks of hydrogen and oxygen to feed fuel cells which convert gases into water and electricity. The technology allows the submarine to prowl silently under water for two or three weeks without resurfacing.
11 Apr 03. Soaring costs of the U.S. Air Force’s F/A-22 fighter have cut the number of planes affordable under the current budget to less than a third of 750
first planned. A $36.8bn spending cap set by Congress would cover the purchase of 235 planes. But defense officials said they are counting on $6.7bn more to obtain a total of 276 of the planes being made by Lockheed Martin.
07 Apr 03. At the end of a first phase of negotiations, Fiat and the Carlyle Group signed a memorandum of understanding for the sale of all the aerospace operations of FiatAvio. Exclusive due diligence activities will begin in the next few days and will last approximately five weeks. Negotiations with Carlyle are based on an enterprise value of €1.6bn. Once the necessary resolutions will have been passed, Finmeccanica will also participate in the negotiations as an industrial partner. FiatAvio has 14 facilities, 9 research centers and over 5,000 employees. In 2002 the company reported revenues of €1,534m and an operating income of €210m.
7 Apr 03. Boeing announced that the Echo Ranger, an unmanned autonomous underwater vehicle, or AUV, that performs deepwater surveying in depths up to 3,000 meters (10,000 feet), for gas, oil and telecommunications companies, has entered service in the Gulf of Mexico. The Echo Ranger was jointly developed by Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, Fugro N.V. (Amsterdam: FUGR – News), and Oceaneering International, Inc. (NYSE: OII – News) under an alliance to provide deepwater AUV survey services around the world.
9 Apr 03. The U.S. Army’s new Viper Strike precision munition, supplied by Northrop Grumman and dispensed from its Hunter UAV, scored seven direct hits in nine attempts against targets in demonstrations conducted March 29 and 30. Targets ranged from compact pickup trucks to multiple rocket and missile launchers to a countermeasured tank. Co-sponsored by the Army’s Precision Fires Rocket and Missile Systems and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems Project Offices, the drops were performed at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. They were intended to validate the concept of the Viper Strike and to demonstrate operational capability of the integrated Hunter and Viper Strike systems.
4 Apr 03. Boeing and the Japan Defense Agency, along with the trading company ITOCHU, have signed the contract for the first aircraft of the Japan Air Self Defense Force 767 Tanker Transport program. The program includes four aircraft and support.