China’s Ministry of National Defense has formally acknowledged development of the Y-20 military airlifter, four days after images of a prototype appeared on a Chinese Internet forum devoted to military matters. The aircraft was shown undergoing taxi tests at an airfield in Northwestern China, supposedly affiliated with the developer, Xian Aircraft Industry Group of the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (Avic), according to Chinese reports. Also at the site was a J-20 fighter jet prototype.
AIN Defense Perspective » January 4, 2013
Oman confirmed a long-expected order for 12 Eurofighter Typhoons, and also decided to buy eight BAE Systems Hawk advanced jet trainers (AJTs). The contract is worth about $3.75 billion; deliveries will begin in 2017. The Typhoons will replace aging Jaguar strike aircraft in the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO), while the Hawk AJTs will supplement or replace the RAFO’s Hawk Mk103/203s. BAE Systems will provide in-service support.
The U.S. Navy and prime contractor Northrop Grumman completed the first at-sea deck handling tests of the X-47B unmanned combat air system (UCAS) demonstrator last month. The demonstrator aircraft, one of two built for the program, performed numerous activities aboard the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman both in port at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., and during the 15-day test phase at sea.
The U.S. Congress has passed legislation that delays the threatened automatic cuts in federal government spending by two months until March 1, sparing for now a $55 billion reduction in the Department of Defense (DOD) budget for the current fiscal year. That budget currently stands at $552 billion, after the Congress authorized the Fiscal Year 2013 spending bill late last month. The President signed the defense authorization bill on January 3.
There is renewed speculation on unofficial Chinese websites that the country has closed a deal with Russia for licensed production of the Tupolev Tu-22M3 long-range supersonic bomber. But there has been no confirmation from Moscow or Beijing, and a senior military researcher in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has discounted the speculation.
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