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China, Iraq, Offsets

Dated: 29 Sep 2014
Posted by Christine Chan
Category: International
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China: Pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong grew over the weekend as last week’s student protesters were joined by thousands of pro-democracy Hong Kong residents. Clashes erupted between protesters and police as the police used pepper spray, tear gas, and batons in attempts to disperse the crowds. Rallies continued to expand on Monday after riot police withdrew, having failed to break up the demonstrations.

Iraq: U.S.-led airstrikes continued (BBC) in both Syria and Iraq over the weekend. According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Syria’s biggest gas plant, a grain silo, and a storage container were hit, while Iraqi forces claim to have stopped the advance of ISIS militants in a key strategic town near Baghdad thanks to renewed airstrikes.

Offsets: Lockheed Martin Corp said it will buy a European-built military communications satellite for South Korea as part of a $7 billion deal to supply Seoul with 40 F-35 fighter jets, in what industry observers call among the most unusual ‘offset’ agreements ever to accompany a major arms sale. Lockheed, which builds its own satellites, declined to detail the cost of the new satellite or name its manufacturer, but said the spacecraft would provide a ‘state-of-the-art’ system that met South Korea’s military requirements.

Boeing, Robotic Cheetah, France

Dated: 19 Sep 2014
Posted by Christine Chan
Category: Business Model, International, Security, Technology
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Boeing: The head of Boeing’s defense unit, Chris Chadwick, is preparing a road map that would concede the fighter market to Lockheed and pin the business’s future on other aircraft, including military versions of its commercial jetliners. With defense revenues down from 56% in 2003, to 38% in 2013, the company is at a crossroads, sitting between their legacy portfolio, and a reshaping portfolio.  Boeing Chief Executive Jim McNerney told investors in July that keeping defense and space revenue around $30 billion a year requires replacing the lost fighter revenue by winning contracts such as a new long-range strike bomber, a proposed Air Force trainer jet and the Navy’s UCLASS carrier-based drone program.  Additionally there is a drive to build more software products, emulating the technology industry’s effort to balance sales of hardware.

Robotic Cheetah: MIT researchers have developed an algorithm for bounding that they’ve successfully implemented in a robotic cheetah — a sleek, four-legged assemblage of gears, batteries, and electric motors that weighs about as much as its feline counterpart. While a bit slower, in experiments on an indoor track, the robot sprinted up to 10 mph, even continuing to run after clearing a hurdle. The MIT researchers estimate that the current version of the robot may eventually reach speeds of up to 30 mph.

France: French President François Hollande announced that the country’s first airstrikes in Iraq destroyed an ISIS logistics center on Friday morning. The French airstrikes are the first addition to U.S. military action in Iraq against ISIS.  Meanwhile, the United Kingdom said it would help arm Kurdish forces, support the Iraqi government, keep supplying humanitarian help and coordinate with the United Nations to battle ISIS.