A round-up of this month's engineering news from around the world with a regional focus on Russia.
Defence giant BAE Systems announced plans to axe 1,775 jobs and end shipbuilding in Portsmouth. The firm said 835 jobs will be lost in Glasgow, Rosyth and Filton, near Bristol, while 940 jobs will be lost in Portsmouth bringing shipbuilding operations there to an end in the second half of next year.
Poland angered environmentalists by planning a coal industry summit on the sidelines of a UN climate conference being held in Warsaw. The country, which is heavily reliant on coal power, said governments must find ways to cut emissions from coal, which generates 40 per cent of world electricity, and not pretend it will simply wither away in favour of greener energy.
Japan said it will create a new military research centre, similar to the USA’s Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), looking to exploit civilian technologies with defence potential and moving another step away from the self-imposed strictly anti-military policy that has been in place for the past six decades since the end of the Second World War.
Iran claimed to have developed a new unmanned aerial vehicle, supposedly its biggest and most powerful drone so far. Called the Fotros, it can stay in the air for up to 30 hours and has a flying range of 1,250 miles, which makes it capable of covering much of the Middle East, including Israel, in one mission.
India decided to cancel a corruption-plagued deal to buy 12 AW101 helicopters from Anglo-Italian firm AgustaWestland. The €560m (£470m) deal went off track in February after Giuseppe Orsi, then chief executive of Italian defence group Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland’s parent company, was arrested by Italian police for allegedly paying bribes to secure the deal.
The US Naval Research Laboratory successfully concluded six years of challenging technology development with the first vertical launch of an unmanned aerial vehicle from a submerged submarine. The fully electric fuel cell-powered drone took off from the Los Angeles class USS Providence’s torpedo tube using a ‘Sea Robin’ launch vehicle system designed to fit within an empty Tomahawk launch canister used for launching Tomahawk cruise missiles.
The International Atomic Energy Agency issued a public alert after a truck carrying radioactive cobalt 60 used in radiotherapy was stolen in Mexico on the way from a hospital to a radioactive storage facility. The radioactive material was later discovered in a field removed from its protective container. The authorities said anyone manipulating the cobalt pellets without protective gear was in danger of death.
China launched its lunar lander Chang’e-3 carrying the country’s first extra-terrestrial rover Yutu in a bid to become the third country in history to soft-land an object on the Moon. The event, seen as another step in an ambitious space programme, stirred a debate about the safety of space activities due to the fact that expired stages of the rocket fell on a Chinese village, damaging two houses.
Wreckage of a Japanese Second World War submarine that had been missing since 1946 was discovered accidentally by Hawaiian marine researchers at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. The 122m-long vessel was identified as the I-400 Sen-Toku, one of the largest pre-nuclear submarines ever built. It is believed the US forces seized and sank the vessel after the war to prevent it falling into the hands of the USSR.
Iraqi Kurdistan signed a package of contracts with Turkey to develop oil and gas resources of the semi-autonomous region and export it via Turkey. The move has enraged Baghdad, which claims sole authority over Iraqi oil resources. It is believed oil export will commence soon, using a new pipeline linking Iraqi Kurdistan with the existing Turkish Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline that will bring the oil to world markets.