There are 171 nuclear reactors for the production of electricity in operation on the territory of 18 countries of Europe. There are currently 12 reactors under construction, and another 26 are in the planning phase
During the 1960s and 1970s, due to the accelerated development and improvement of nuclear technologies, there was an expansion of the construction of nuclear power plants in other countries as well. That trend stagnated after the accident in Chernobyl in 1986, as well as after the accident in Fukushima in 2011, due to concerns about the safety of existing reactors and the necessity of additional safety improvements – says Vladimir Janjić, assistant director and head of inspection at the Directorate for Radiation and Nuclear Safety and Security of Serbia.
According to the time of creation and the level of technological development, nuclear reactors can be divided into four generations. Some of the key attributes that characterize each generation are, among others, the safety and security of reactors, nuclear fuel and associated systems, economic efficiency, compatibility with the national energy grid, and the life cycle of nuclear fuel.
Most of the active reactors in Europe belong to the second generation
– Most of the reactors active today in Europe belong to the second generation. They were built during the seventh and eighth decades of the last century. Over time, safety and security systems and procedures have been constantly improved. This was done in accordance with stricter regulatory requirements and international standards. So we are talking about the so-called II+ generation of reactors. From the mid-1990s and during the following decade, the application and construction of generation III and III+ reactors began. The construction of the reactors itself has been further improved. As well as the technology of production and use of nuclear fuel, thermal efficiency and safety and security systems
The fourth generation of nuclear reactors is under development. It is expected to be ready for commercial use after 2030. Many countries are also considering the construction of small modular reactors. This technology is still in the stage of development and testing. However, it is considered to be the future of the further development of the nuclear industry. Most countries decide to purchase commercially available reactors and supporting systems from Russia (Rosatom), USA (Westinghouse), France (Framatome) or Canada (Candu Energy).
– In Europe, there are 171 nuclear reactors in operation that are used for the production of electricity, in 18 countries. France has 56, Russia 38, including the Asian part, Ukraine 15, Great Britain nine, Spain and Belgium seven each, Sweden and the Czech Republic six each, Finland five, Slovakia, Hungary and Switzerland four each, Germany three, Romania and Bulgaria each two, and one each is located in Belarus, Slovenia and the Netherlands. All these nuclear power plants generate from 20 to 25 percent of the total electricity production on European soil.
Twelwe reactors are currently under construction in Europe
Currently, 12 reactors are under construction. In Great Britain, Slovakia, Russia, Ukraine, France and Belarus. Another 26 reactors are in the planning phase: in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Ukraine, Great Britain. To date, a total of 118 nuclear reactors in Europe have reached the end of their useful lives. They have either already been dismantled or are in the process of being decommissioned.
The working cycle of currently active nuclear reactors is on average 50 years. Many countries deciding to extend their life, based on the comprehensive condition of systems and components, economic profitability and available capacities for electricity production. It is expected that the working life of the new generations of reactors will be longer than 60 years. That will also affect the economic profitability of the construction of nuclear power plants. It is estimated that by 2025, a third of the existing nuclear reactors in Europe will be at the end of their initially planned working life.
Certain countries, such as Italy and Lithuania, have permanently shut down all their nuclear power plants or plan to do so in the near future, such as Germany and Belgium. There are countries that build energy stability mainly on nuclear technology. They will do it by building new power plants or expanding current capacities. In Austria and Denmark, just like in Serbia, laws prohibiting the construction of nuclear power plants are in force.
The biggest challenges as storing spent nuclear fuel are still unresolved
One of the main challenges of the nuclear industry is the problem of storing spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste resulting from the decommissioning of nuclear facilities. It is estimated that around 7,000 cubic meters of high-level waste is generated annually in the EU. Most countries temporarily store spent nuclear fuel and other high-level waste in surface facilities that require ongoing maintenance and monitoring. Finland is currently the only country that permanently disposes of its radioactive waste in underground geological repositories.
Alternative solutions, apart from reducing the total amount of radioactive waste, include the processing of spent nuclear fuel in order to extract unused uranium and plutonium. It can be reused for the same purposes. Currently, processing of spent nuclear fuel in Europe is carried out in France and Russia.
Huawei AITO M5 – power reserve up to 1240 km, acceleration to 100 km/h in 4.4 s, all-wheel drive and operating system HarmonyOS
On 6th of March 2022, an official event took place in China, during which Huawei launched the deliveries of its first AITO M5 vehicles. Simultaneously, the first buyers began to receive cars throughout the country. Despite the fact that the AITO M5 is produced at the partner company, Seres, it is Huawei that is responsible for the interior and exterior design of the car, part of the engineering work and marketing. Therefore, in China, no one has any questions about which company is behind this car.
AITO M5 is a hybrid crossover. The power plant consists of a 1.5-liter gasoline engine. There is a pair of electric motors and a traction battery with a capacity of 40 kWh. The maximum power of the power plant of the top version is 370 Kw (496 hp). The crossover accelerates to 100 km/h in 4.4′. On pure electricity, the car can travel up to 150 km, and the consumption in hybrid mode is only 3.2 liters per 100 km. The maximum power reserve, measured by the WLTC method, reaches 1242 km
The base rear-wheel drive version was offered on pre-order for $39,600. The most affordable all-wheel drive variant was priced at $44,300, while the flagship all-wheel drive version was $50,700. Huawei believes it will be able to sell about 300,000 AITO M5s this year .
With at least 1,000 stores nationwide, assuming each store sells 30 smart cars every month, we can sell at least 30,000 cars per month. In about 10 months, Huawei will be able to hit its yearly target if the momentum continues. The car maker will also earn more than 100 billion yuan (about $15.72 billion) in revenue, and Huawei will fulfill its promise to create the most profitable car manufacturer in the Chinese market.
Richard Yu, Huawei
3 reasons for entering automotive market
Richard Yu also named three reasons that prompted Huawei to enter the automotive market. The first is the US sanctions, because of which it was necessary to diversify the business. The second is the behavior of buyers that has changed as a result of the pandemic, who prefer to shop online and at the same time trust trusted brands. The third is the opportunity to accelerate the implementation of own devices and solutions of the Internet of things in related industries.
AITO M5 is the world’s first car with Huawei Drive One hybrid powertrain and the world’s first with Huawei HarmonyOS Smart Cockpit. It runs HarmonyOS, of course, and the standard cockpit kit includes a 10.4-inch screen in the dashboard, another 15.6-inch display on the center console, wireless charging for a smartphone, and much more. The car also has atmospheric lighting, Nappa leather seats, a head-up display and a high-quality 1000 W Huawei Sound sound system.
The President of the United States in an address to the nation publicly acknowledged the fall of the American economy, blaming Russia for this. Collapse is inevitable…
US President Joe Biden warned his fellow citizens in a recent address to the nation that they would have to suffer for democracy in Ukraine.
At the same time, he deftly linked official inflation, gigantic by the standards of the United States, with the events taking place around Ukraine. Well, as always, only Russia is to blame for this.
A very strange explanation of the situation, given that the liberals assured us that the Russian economy is only a statistical error in the overall world economy. And, in general – since 2018, Apple Corporation alone is worth more than the entire Russian economy! If you are to believe these “evaluations”.
But the US government knows better. Since the average American has to suffer for democracy in Ukraine (through frenzied inflation and rising prices for everything), then let him suffer.
Russia’s actions really affect inflation in the United States regardless. That could lead to the collapse of not only their economy, but also to the collapse of the entire modern financial system. This is due to the fact that Russia has gained sovereignty and no longer sells its natural resources for almost free, especially energy. Something that was happening during the last decade of the last century. Arrival of Putin changed that situation.
In Russia today, too, high inflation, which is 8.7%. In the US, inflation is 7.5%. But there is one big difference: in Russia, inflation is in rubles, while in the US it is in dollars.
What does it mean?
Prices for goods are always rising with us, as there is inflation. But they grow in rubles, while in dollars they, on the contrary, fall.
For example, just yesterday the dollar exchange rate was 77 rubles, and today it costs 80 rubles.
That is, goods produced within Russia fell in price against the dollar.
Let’s take gasoline as an example.
In 2014, a liter of 95th gasoline cost 35 rubles, or 1 dollar (the dollar exchange rate was also 35 rubles then).
Today, a liter of AI-95 gasoline costs 53 rubles, that is, $0.69 at a dollar rate of 77 rubles (or $0.66 at a rate of 80 rubles).
By manipulating the ruble exchange rate, it is possible to minimize the damage from dollar inflation within the Russian economy. Another thing is that the real incomes of citizens will decline, but the economy will only develop and grow. That is why, even with high oil prices, the ruble still does not return to its previous values of 50 or even 30 rubles per dollar. And this will not happen as long as the US economy (and with it the EU economy) is in crisis.
However, the crisis in the United States did not arise because of the situation in Ukraine, as Joe Biden talks about it. Ukraine is just a good excuse to divert the attention of US citizens from the really fundamental economic problems.
The United States, like no one else, knows how to manipulate inflation and dispel any threats and risks to its economy in the global financial system.
Their freshly printed candy wrappers are supplied by market demand and supply
US economists are very smart people. They have built an economic model in which the US economy will grow and develop in almost any circumstances. And if something goes wrong, you can always print more money and pour it into the economy. Like doping.
The worst nightmare for the US economy is the deficit generated by excessive inflation. And this can happen only in one case. It is when there is not enough goods in the world that the United States needs. And it cannot be bought for any money. Under such conditions the more dollars are printed, the more expensive the desired product will be, and the more expensive the product, the more inflation will be. And it goes in spiral.
Look at the US inflation chart:
1. 1951-1954: Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in Abadan (oil crisis)
2. Arab-Jewish war (oil crisis of 1973-1974)
3. Islamic revolution in Iran (oil crisis of 1979-1980)
4. The global financial crisis of 2008 (a lot of oil)
5. Present time (physically there is not enough oil).
The real cause of the inflation
The cause of inflation in the US is the global energy crisis. All statements that US inflation is a temporary event were based on the erroneous hope that demand for hydrocarbons would soon stabilize. Today, however, it has become clear that this will not happen. As a result, the States even had to unpack their strategic oil reserves and enter the world market with it. However, all this was in vain, as the price of oil is already approaching $100 per barrel. Price of oil started rising before Ukrainian crisis. It is true that current crisis is certainly making it even worse.
The world simply no longer has enough energy resources to meet all the needs of the world economy. Russia controls around 23% of energy exports in the entire world economy (oil, gas, coal, electricity). Any provocation of Russia will only raise energy prices.
The United States is well aware of this.. Without long-term access to resources, it is impossible to contain inflation, since energy is the basis for the production of any product and service. It seems that fracking is approaching its maximum. It probably already happened. Not to mention that energy acquired by that methodology is expensive. Only weak Russia would allow plundering of its resources as during Yeltsin era. All sanctions introduced by US and EU against Russia since 2014 simply failed.
US dollar is not only currency but commodity as well
Remember the times when the price of oil reached the mark of more than $140 per barrel? But even then there was no such inflation in the US. Why? It’s simple: oil can be arbitrarily expensive – the United States will always buy it and in any quantity. But what to do if there is no physical oil? Then the price is absolutely not important – it still will not be enough for everyone.
Importance of “petro-dollar”
How is oil (and most other goods) traded on international markets? Saudi Arabia has made agreement with US that all oil trading will be in US dollar. Other oil producers (including USSR) followed. That means that anyone with need to buy oil would have to pay it in US dollar. Many were forced to buy US dollar making it become some sort of a commodity. That is aloso one of the reasons of it being “reserve currency”.
US and the rest of the “west” relied od cheap energy and commodities to support their growth, high living standard and world domination. In their greed they “exported” manufacturing industries to developing countries (China being one of them some 20 years ago). That made American rich class even richer. It also deprived American government revenue from taxes. Accelerated development of the “third world” countries also means higher demand for energy and resources.
V.V. Putin, in a recent address to the people of Russia, during which recognition of the independence of the DPR and LPR was announced, confirmed what has been obvious for a long time – US sanctions are aimed at curbing the development of Russia. Nothing to do with democracy, human rights, ot any other reasons that CNN/BBC would like you to believe.
As long as there is government in Moscow that will not allow pillaging of Russian natural resources, there will be pressure through sanctions and attempts to surreound it with unfriendly regimes in their neighborhood. Prices of natural gas went through the roof not because of Russia using it as a weapon but because someone in EU decided to go “green” overnight. It failed miserably.
New German, Swedish subs offer alternatives to Taiwan’s Indigenous Submarine Program and Australia’s nuclear ones under AUKUS
Last month Germany and Sweden, two world leaders in conventional submarine design, unveiled three models that could prove to be better strategic choices than Taiwan’s Indigenous Defense Submarine program and Australia’s plan to acquire nuclear-powered submarines under its AUKUS alliance.
Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Maritime Systems (TKMS) in cooperation with Fincantieri of Italy started construction of the U212 Near Future Submarine (NFS) for the Italian Navy. The first U212 NFS is scheduled to be launched in 2026, with its acceptance into the Italian Navy in 2027. Work on the second unit is scheduled to start in 2029.
The U212 NFS is a design evolution of the U212A, which first entered Italian Navy service in 2006. At present, the Italian Navy operates four U212A units. Compared with the U212A, the U212 NFS is 1.2 meters longer, has enhanced hydrodynamics and silence in a 59-meter hull, and surface displacement of 1,600 tons.
Designed to operate in tropical waters
The new class is also designed to operate in tropical waters, meaning that it is optimized for operations in the warmer southern and eastern parts of the Mediterranean off North Africa and Turkey. This also means that the design could be sold to tropical climate clients such as Taiwan and Indonesia.
The first two boats of the U212 NFS use the same Siemens hydrogen fuel cell air-independent propulsion (AIP) technology from their U212A predecessors, but introduce lithium-iron-phosphate batteries for its new energy storage and management system, which is billed to be a “game-changer” in underwater warfare. Fincantieri is also developing a new type of AIP system for the third U212 NFS.
In terms of sensors, the U212 NFS also features a new sail mast design which can accommodate seven electrical masts with one extra space for an optional mast, allowing for future development of the class as a fully electric submarine.
A fully electric submarine such as the SMX31E New Full Electric Concept completely eliminates any need to surface during operations, meaning it can stay submerged as long as today’s nuclear submarines, which are only limited by crew endurance and supplies.
Current AIP technologies significantly minimize but do not eliminate the need for conventional submarines to periodically surface to run their diesel engines to charge their batteries.
Other sensors include six non-penetrating electrically hoisted masts and the new generation optical penetrating attack periscope, all provided by L3Harris, low probability of intercept radar by GEM Elettronica, Link 11/16 datalinks from Leonardo and a digital sonar suite by ELAC Sonar.
Rated to be cyber-secure
Compared with the U212A, the U212 NFS features more Italian-made technology, such as an integrated platform control system (IPCS) provided by Fincantieri Seastema, steering and diving control system by Avio Aero, and combat management system (CMS) by Leonardo.
These systems are rated to be cyber-secure by the Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR), making the U212 NFS the second cyber-secure design by Fincantieri after the Thaon di Revel class offshore patrol vessel (OPV).
The class is designed with open architecture in mind, enabling easy software upgrades such as third-party software, remote computing, extensive acoustic processing know-how and submarine mission-specific applications.
The Leonardo Black Shark Advanced (BSA) torpedo is projected to be the main armament of the U212 NFS, with the class also designed to deploy long-range cruise missiles. The U212 NFS also retains the special forces support capability of the U212A and can operate alongside unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs), which extends the surveillance capability of the class.
Germany and Israel signed a deal for three Dakar0-class submarines from TKMS. These boats are intended to replace three of Israel’s older Dolphin class boats which entered service in the 1990s.
The deal envisions that the first of these new boats would be delivered to Israel in 2027, and includes provisions for the creation of a submarine training simulator in Israel and supply of spare parts.
While Israel keeps the technical details of its new submarines classified, these new boats are said to be significantly more capable than the preceding Dolphin boats. The boats are said to be armed with 16 multipurpose torpedo tubes that can fire torpedoes, Turbo Popeye cruise missiles and even manned swimmer delivery systems, submersibles designed to stealthily insert special forces teams for covert underwater or amphibious operations.
Possibility of a vertical launch systems (VLS)?
Concept art of the Dakar class released by TKMS shows a much-enlarged sail, which has led to different speculation about the design’s capabilities. Speculations abound that this distinctive feature could be used to house vertical launch systems (VLS) for nuclear-tipped cruise or ballistic missiles. (Israel, of course, is tight-lipped about its alleged nuclear weapons program.)
Sweden has also begun the construction of its A26 Blekinge class submarines. It is a follow-on design to Sweden’s Gotland boats, whose stealth capabilities were made famous in 2005 by sinking the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier during naval exercises.
The Swedish Navy has ordered two units, the HSwMS Blekinge and HSwMS Skåne, with the aft section of one boat already put in place.
The class is built around Saab’s Ghost technology, which stands for Genuine Holistic Stealth. Ghost is a family of technologies meant to reduce the Blekinge boats’ detectable signatures.
Some of these technologies include rubberized mounts and baffles inside the submarine to reduce detectable machinery and crew noise, and careful design of all interior surfaces to minimize noise such as specific airflow speeds in air ducts, minimum bending radius on cables and pipes and the design of outboard holes and cavities.
In addition, the Blekinge class uses a new hull and fin shape to reduce hydrodynamic noise, and the boats’ mast has a unique shape to minimize radar signature.
Extended operation time
The class features an improved version of the Stirling AIP engine fitted in the Gotland class, which is 30% smaller, yet delivers more power. The Stirling AIP engine works by heating and cooling gases in its cylinders to force pistons up and down.
In the case of the Gotland and Blekinge boats, liquid oxygen and diesel are used to heat the engine, while cold seawater is used for cooling. This technology allows the class to operate for an extended time without surfacing to recharge its batteries by running its diesel engines.
A unique feature of the Blekinge boats is the Multi Mission Portal, which allows the launch and retrieval of diverse mission payloads, such as special forces or UUVs to extend the boats’ sensor range, which makes the class a potent underwater intelligence-gathering platform.
Moreover, Sweden also offers the Oceanic Extended Range (XR) submarines, which are designed for navies whose capability requirements include extended missions or long-distance operations.
Notably, the Australian Collins-class was built according to this design philosophy. The Collins boats were built between 1993 to 2001, with Saab working alongside the Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC), providing technology transfer for design and construction using an advanced modular method.
Offering more sensible alternatives to Australia and Taiwan
These new submarine designs may satisfy the submarine capability requirements of both Taiwan and Australia, offering more sensible alternatives considering the tactical, operational, strategic and political challenges they face in their respective submarine programs.
In the case of Taiwan, it has a significant shipbuilding industry but has limited experience in building warships, and no experience in building submarines.
While countries such as Australia, Canada, India, Spain, the UK and the US are assisting Taiwan in building its own conventional submarines, this is not a guarantee of success. For instance, Australia’s Collins boats were built from the Saab Gotland class, and Australia received considerable technical assistance from Sweden and the US in this project.
However, the Collins class turned out to be plagued with various problems, which forced Australia to seek replacements.
It may be more rational for Taiwan to harness its strengths, such as AI, software, semiconductors, electronics and the production of asymmetric weapons, which it can realistically manufacture such as torpedoes, naval mines and cruise missiles, rather than take huge risks by building its own submarines.
Also, should Taiwan persist in acquiring submarines, these subsystems can be integrated into an established, open-architecture submarine design suited for tropical operations.
An Open Architecture design
Thus, the U212 NFS or a derivative of the class makes sense for Taiwan’s submarine capability requirements. It is an open-architecture design, as shown by the integration of Italian and US subsystems into a German hull, and is designed for tropical operations as well.
As such, Taiwanese subsystems and weapons can be fitted into this already established design. Such an arrangement fulfills Taiwan’s capability requirements for submarines and harnesses its stronger strategic sectors.
Australia may have made a mistake in the first place in disqualifying TKMS in favor of DCNS from France, as the U214 class from TKMS has capabilities that far exceed those of the Collins class. Further, TKMS offered Australia the U216, which is a scaled-up version of the U214 built to Australian capability requirements.
Australia initially chose to settle on the DCNS Shortfin Barracuda as a replacement for its Collins boats.
However, the deal with DCNS ran into several problems, such as finding a sensible rationale to justify retrofitting a conventional propulsion system to a hull designed for nuclear propulsion, the incompatibility of US combat systems in a French-designed hull, long development time leading to obsolescence on delivery, the failure of DCNS to invest enough in Australian suppliers and labor and cost overruns.
These factors may have led Australia to drop its deal with DCNS and make a bold move to acquire nuclear submarines with technical assistance from the US and UK under AUKUS.
Doubts about Australia’s plan to acquire nuclear submarines
It is highly likely that Australia’s plan to acquire nuclear submarines under AUKUS will not materialize, as political considerations regarding maintaining command and control should Australia lease a US Virginia class nuclear boat, vague terms in technology, cost and labor sharing within AUKUS, opposition to nuclear power in Australia and its lack of infrastructure to support nuclear submarines play out against its plan.
That said, Australia may have compounded its mistakes in its deal with DCNS by picking an equally unfeasible solution with AUKUS for its submarine capability requirements.
In addition, should Australia choose to lease nuclear submarines from the US, it would not be until the 2030s when an aging US nuclear boat would be available for lease, and only in the 2040s would Australian nuclear boats have any strategic effect.
This leaves a huge capability gap between the planned obsolescence of Australia’s Collins boats in 2026, and before its planned nuclear submarines become fully operational in the 2040s.
By then, the geopolitical situation and China’s naval capabilities may have vastly changed. Australia’s only feasible choice to maintain its underwater warfare capabilities is to acquire conventional submarines to fill this capability gap.
However, with the capabilities of today’s conventional submarines approaching those of their nuclear counterparts, perhaps Australia’s quest for nuclear submarines was an unnecessary venture in the first place.
Considering Australia’s bad experiences with its Saab-built Collins boats and its deal with DCNS, it may well do for it to revisit talks with TKMS to acquire new conventional submarines that fulfill its capability requirements.
Australia is looking to replace older jet trainers, but Serbia could be first to adopt the jet in a combat role
Boeing’s T-7A Red Hawk jet trainer, which it developed together with Swedish aviation firm Saab for the U.S. Air Force, is already generating interest on the international market. The T-7A, which could also have a future as a light combat aircraft, is now officially in the running to replace the Royal Australian Air Force’s BAE Hawk jet trainers and could be an option to supplant the Serbian Air Force’s G-4 Super Galeb jet trainers and J-22 Orao ground attack planes.
Boeing officially announced that it had submitted the T-7A for Australia AIR 6002 Phase 1 future Lead-In Fighter Training System (LIFTS) competition on July 30, 2020, according to FlightGlobal. This was five days after Nenad Miloradovic, Serbia’s Acting Assistant Minister of Defense for Material Resources, said his country was exploring the possibility of buying Red Hawks in a televised interview, which Jane’swas first to report on.
“The T-7, which is scalable, interoperable and configurable, is ideally suited to address the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) next-generation frontline fast-jet aircraft training requirements,” Boeing said in a statement to FlightGlobal regarding the Australian LIFTS program.
“No other training system in the world today will better develop the skills required to operate the RAAF’s most advanced frontline aircraft like the F/A-18 Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler and the F-35,” Chuck Dabundo, Boeing’s Vice President for the T-7 program, added. It’s worth noting that the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler are both also Boeing products. The RAAF is also an operator of Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and is working with the company’s Australia-based division on an advanced loyal wingman-type drone effort, known as the Airpower Teaming System, which you can read about more in this past War Zone piece.
The RAAF is looking to replace its entire fleet
The RAAF is looking to replace its entire fleet of approximately 33 BAE Hawk Mk 127 Lead-in Fighter (LIF) jet trainers, which it first ordered in 1997. Last year, the U.K.-based manufacturer completed an upgrade program for all of these jets, which included a improved electronic warfare system, as well as Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning (EGPWS) and Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) suites. Though these aircraft don’t have a radar of their own, they also have updated radar emulation capabilities when combined with podded systems, such as the Air Combat Manoeuvring Instrumentation (ACMI) pod. The aircraft have new glass cockpits with digital multi-function displays, as well.
The upgraded Mk 127s have a configuration very similar to the Hawk T2s, originally known as Mk 128s, that the U.K. Royal Air Force flies. It’s interesting to note that Northrop Grumman had initially planned to submit the T2 to the U.S. Air Force’s T-X competition, but ultimately went with a clean sheet design after deciding that the modernized Hawk could not meet that program’s requirements. The Boeing-Saab T-7A was the winner of the T-X competition in 2018.
Australia hopes to have picked a winner for its LIFTS competition in the next few years and have all of the new jet trainers delivered by 2033. Previous estimates have said that the entire procurement effort, which could include various ancillary items and services, could cost between $4 and $5 billion Australian dollars, or between around $2.85 billion and $3.56 billion at the present rate of conversion. The U.S. Air Force is only slated to receive its first production T-7As in 2023.
Serbia is looking to replace its G-4 Super Galeb and J-22 Orao
Serbia is also in the process of exploring replacement options for its G-4 Super Galebs and J-22 Oraos, both of which were developed by SOKO in the former Yugoslavia during the Cold War. SOKO designed the G-4 on its own, but crafted the J-22 together with Romania’s Avioane Craiova. The J-22 first entered Yugoslav service in 1978, with the G-4 arriving five years later. The Serbia Air Force inherited examples of both of these aircraft, among many other types, after the breakup of Yugoslavia, which began in 1991.
That Serbia is looking at the T-7A as one possible replacement for its G-4s makes good sense. The single-engine G-4 is roughly comparable to many other jet trainers of its era, including early generations of the BAE Hawk. The Red Hawk would offer a substantial increase in overall capability and performance over the Super Galebs in lead-in and advanced jet trainer roles.
However, if the Serbian Air Force were to adopt the T-7A, or a variant or derivative thereof, as a replacement for the J-22, it would make the country the first to operate the aircraft in a dedicated combat role. The J-22 is a ground-attack aircraft that can also carry out tactical reconnaissance missions when carrying a pod equipped with visual and infrared cameras. The jet has an internally-mounted 23mm GSh-23 twin-barrel automatic cannon and can carry various weapons on any of five external hardpoints, two under each wing and one under the fuselage centerline.
Potential to serve as a light fighter jet
Serbia didn’t come to the idea of using a version of the T-7A in this role, either. There has already been talk for years, as The War Zonehas explored in the past, about how the Red Hawk offers the growth potential to serve as a light fighter jet with a robust ground-attack capability. Boeing itself highlighted this again just this month, suggesting that the aircraft could be a good and relatively low-cost choice for countries looking to replace aging light jet combat aircraft, such as Northrop F-5 Tiger IIs and Franco-German Alpha Jets. Both of those Cold War-era aircraft remain in widespread use around the world.
The G-4s also have a limited secondary air-to-ground capability. It is possible that Serbia could acquire a single trainer-attack-type variant to replace both those jets and the J-22s.
“These are the initial steps in developing new capabilities as no such capital acquisition is realized overnight,” Miloradovic said in his interview, according to Jane’s. “The [T-7A] aircraft itself is supersonic and features modern avionics, and as such would be able to entirely replace our ground attack aviation and being multirole would also be able to support our [MiG-29 Fulcrum] interceptors.”
Beyond the Red Hawk’s capabilities and performance, any foreign customer would be able to benefit from the significant investments that the U.S. government has already made in the design, as well as the supply chains to support it, all of which will help reduce the jet’s unit cost and what it takes to operate and maintain it. The U.S. Air Force has already said it will buy at least 351 examples and possibly up to 475 of the T-7As, which are set to be a major component of its future pilot training programs, if nothing else, for years to come.
The features of the highly specialized anti-aircraft complex of the Russian design “Abakan”, capable of withstanding ballistic missiles, have become known. At the same time, the new air defense system is as automated as possible. It is analogous to the well-proven Israeli Iron Dome system
SAM is not strategic, and this is emphasized by its developers. “Abakan” is not a competitor to the S-300 and S-400. This is a highly specialized system, and this is its main feature. The tasks of “Abakan” include the interception of operational-tactical ballistic missiles, as well as hypersonic targets, for other targets it does not work as efficiently.
The anti-aircraft missile system ZRK 98R6E “Abakan” used missiles from one air defense system, and the radar from another. When creating it, the developers took missiles from the Antey-4000 anti-aircraft system and a radar station from one of the promising anti-aircraft systems. Which one is not disclosed. This combination made it possible to make “Abakan” unique in its characteristics.
The future customer of the complex was one of the countries of the Middle East. It required specific characteristics. A multifunctional complex of the S-400 or S-500 type was not required. The order was for a highly specialized anti-aircraft complex capable of fighting ballistic targets.
Moreover, it had to be as automated as possible. Russian developers from “Almaz-Antey” managed to create in a short time the air defense system “Abakan”. It fully meets the requirements of the customer. The complex is designed to combat single-stage missiles with a speed of up to 3 km per second.
The air defense missile system is capable of hitting targets at an altitude of 25 km and a range of up to 45 km. The complex can be easily integrated into any anti-missile system and can operate both autonomously and in conjunction with other air defense systems.
Part of a bigger system
The complex was created to work in tandem with Russian long-range anti-aircraft missile systems. Its task is to supplement them. It is designed to help can create a modular air defense system. It is known that the same S-400 has a limited number of launchers, and if you borrow a certain number of missiles to intercept complex targets, then the number of ammunition for intercepting conventional targets will already be less than required.
Here “Abakan” will come to the rescue, which will deal with complex ballistic targets. The complex is capable of destroying both modern and advanced non-strategic ballistic missiles in the air. Also, “Abakan” can work in conjunction with foreign anti-aircraft missile systems. Any country can expand the capabilities of its air defense-missile defense system with the help of “Abakan”.
The combination of S-400 and “Abakan” is becoming especially relevant. This takes place in the context of a bet on the so-called oversaturation of air defense/missile defense. It is when a large number of objects are simultaneously attacked. This is most clearly seen in the technology of “drone swarm” being created in many developed countries. It theoretically can break through almost any air defense, since there are not enough missiles for all these kamikaze drones and attack drones.
Similar to the Israeli Iron Dome
“Abakan” can work not only in conjunction with other air defense systems, but also independently. The complex is capable of performing tasks that are inherent in such a tactical missile defense complex as the Israeli Iron Dome. Experts call the new Russian air defense system a universal air defense-missile defense system, which can be used to protect important military-industrial facilities, including command posts, from enemy strike weapons.
For the first time, the Abakan air defense missile system was presented at the international exhibition Dubai Airshow 2021, held in the United Arab Emirates in November this year.
Hydrogen has become an energy project of the future for the European Union. The question is who will produce this resource? In all of Eurasia, only one state has at the moment a solid project for the development of a hydrogen industry. It is Russia.
The gas itself does not pose risks to the environment and to humans and is very widespread in the universe. Unfortunately, humanity does not yet have the possibilities for ”space mining”. So we have to find local sources. On Earth, hydrogen in gaseous form is not found in sufficient quantities. However, it can be extracted from other substances such as water through the process of electrolysis. At the industrial level, it seems that the majority will opt for syngas (synthetic gas) which is a mixture of hydrogen with carbon monoxide that is produced by steam heating natural gas. Subsequently hydrogen is separated. The downside is that CO is a polluting gas.
Germany, Japan, Russia and China are the main countries working on a hydrogen strategy and infrastructure. Of all this Russia has been talking for several years, more intensely since last year, about its role as a producer and exporter of hydrogen. The natural gas reserves it holds will help the Russian Federation to retain its place as an energy exporter for much of Eurasia.
Until a large-scale adoption of hydrogen there is a need to implement pilot projects. In this regard Germany, China and Russia are talking, designing and already testing in different measures, means of transportation that work with hydrogen. Yesterday, November 1st 2021 China announced the launch of local production of a hybrid locomotive. These will be used in the Autonomous Region of Inner Mongolia. On a line that transports coal. Several countries in Europe have already presented hydrogen passenger trains. We have examples such as the one made by Alstom, hydrogen buses (in London), planes and ships. In Russia they have the Aurus Hydrogen car and the hydrogen train produced by Transmashholding (TMN).
Russia has little reason to adopt hydrogen on a large scale. For many decades their oil and natural gas reserves will remain more economically efficient. The Federation is expected to be the main element of energy stability for a ”green” European Union.
WHAT IS CHINA’S CHOICE?
China’s energy sector, however, is more complex. It will in future rely on renewable energies (wind, solar and hydro-power), ”classic” nuclear energy and thorium-based nuclear energy that it is experimenting with in Wuwei.
China is the world leader in the production and marketing of electric cars. For this reason it is actively working on the development of a new sodium-ion battery. The company CATL announced the entry into industrial production and the development of a production chain for such batteries by 2023. The chances of personal hydrogen cars being widely adopted in China are minimal in the coming years. The country has opted for another energy infrastructure in this regard.
In general, even in the European Union, they do not see a reliable hydrogen pump infrastructure in which ordinary users can power their personal cars. At the moment there are reasons for concern about the transport and storage of this highly flammable gas, more dangerous as diesel or gasoline.
It seems that some very powerful investors in Australia are also picking hydrogen as the fuel of the future. Needless to say that Australia is one of the leading exporters of LNG.