November 29, 2017

News Briefs – November 29, 2017

Report: North Korea fires ballistic missile

The Yonhap news agency reports that North Korea has launched a ballistic missile.

South Korea’s military says the missile was fired from an area north of Pyongyang early Nov. 29.

The news agency reported South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff saying that it and U.S. authorities are analyzing the trajectory.

The launch is the first since Sept. 15 when North Korea fired an intermediate ballistic missile. AP

Russian fighter intercept of U.S. recon plane deemed ‘unsafe’

The U.S. military says a Russian fighter flew within 50 feet of a U.S. Navy reconnaissance jet over the Black Sea with full afterburners on, causing violent turbulence that knocked the American plane into a 15-degree roll.

U.S. European Command Spokesman Juan Martinez said Nov. 28 the maneuver by the Russian Su-30 jet in front of the Navy P-8A on Saturday is being treated as an “unsafe intercept.”

Martinez said the P-8A was “conducting a routine operation in international airspace” at the time of the intercept.

Intercepts occur regularly but it is the first encounter reported as unsafe since June when Stuttgart-based EUCOM released dramatic photos of a Russian jet coming so close to a U.S. plane over the Baltic Sea that the Russian pilot could be seen in the cockpit. AP

Israel’s Iron Dome system deployed on ships for first time

Israel’s military has for the first time deployed its Iron Dome rocket defense system aboard a ship.

Head of the Weapons Department in the Israeli Navy Col. Ziv Barak said the system will defend Israel’s ships and “strategic assets” at sea, like its offshore gas platforms, and is now operational.

The announcement Nov. 28 came after the military said it had successfully tested the system in an exercise where “projectiles that simulated existing threats in the region” were intercepted.

Its deployment on ships stems from lessons learned from the 2014 Gaza war and is part of Israel’s multi-layer rocket and missile defense system.

Iron Dome protects against short-range rockets, and intercepted hundreds of projectiles fired by the Islamic militant group Hamas and other Palestinian gunmen at Israeli towns in 2014. AP

Airbus names new top salesman amid legal troubles

Airbus is replacing its combative, long-serving sales chief with a Rolls Royce executive as the European plane maker tries to stay competitive with Boeing.

Eric Schulz will take over as chief of sales for Airbus commercial planes in January, the company said Nov. 28, calling it “a critical juncture of our company’s development.”

Airbus praised outgoing top salesman John Leahy as “a living legend” for overseeing sales of more than 90 percent of Airbus planes ever sold. Leahy, 67, had been expected to retire soon after 23 years in the position.

Before joining Rolls Royce, Schulz also worked at Air France, Goodrich and other companies in the industry.

Airbus recently lost out to Boeing in a major deal with Gulf carrier Emirates, and is also facing corruption investigations in three countries. AP

Airbus, Rolls-Royce, Siemens developing a hybrid plane

Airbus, Siemens and Rolls-Royce are teaming up to develop a hybrid passenger plane that would use a single electric turbofan along with three conventional jet engines running on aviation fuel.

The plane is an effort to develop and demonstrate technology that in the future could help limit emissions of carbon dioxide from aviation and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

The three companies said Nov. 28 they aim to build a flying version of the E-Fan X technology demonstrator plane by 2020.

The aircraft would be based on the existing BAe 146 four-engine regional jet. The hybrid version would generate electric power through a turbine within the plane. That power would be used to turn the fan blades of the single electric turbofan engine.

If the system works, a second electric motor could be added, the companies said.

The companies said European plane maker Airbus SE would be responsible for building the aircraft’s systems into a working whole, control systems and flight controls. Britain-based Rolls-Royce plc would make the generator and the turbo-shaft engine, while German engineering company Siemens AG would deliver the two-megawatt electric motor to power the engine. Rolls-Royce the aircraft engine maker is distinct from the luxury car brand owned by BMW AG.

The companies said they were looking ahead to the European Union’s long-term goals of reducing CO2 emissions from aviation by 60 percent, as well as meeting noise and pollution limits that they said “cannot be achieved with technologies existing today.” CO2 — carbon dioxide — is a greenhouse gas that scientists say contributes to global warming.

Other projects for hybrid or electric planes are in the works. Kirkland, Wash.,-based Zunum Aero says it is working on a 12-seat hybrid-electric commuter jet. The company’s website lists its partners as Boeing, jetBlue Technology Ventures, and the Department of Commerce Clean Energy Fund. AP

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