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Culhwch

Culhwch, in Welsh mythology, is the son of Cilydd son of Celyddon and Goleuddydd, a cousin of Arthur and the protagonist of the story Culhwch and Olwen. In this tale the etymology of Culhwch is explained as "sow run", but this is to be folk etymology. According to the narrative, Culhwch is born to his maddened mother Goleuddydd after she is frightened by a herd of swine; the swineherd finds Culhwch in the pigs' run, takes him back to his father Cilydd. Culhwch is described as being "of gentle lineage". Culhwch's father, King Cilydd son of Celyddon, loses his wife Goleuddydd after a difficult childbirth; when he remarries, the young Culhwch rejects his stepmother's attempt to pair him with his new stepsister. Offended, the new queen puts a curse on him so that he can marry no one besides the beautiful Olwen, daughter of the giant Ysbaddaden. Though he has never seen her, Culhwch becomes infatuated with her, but his father warns him that he will never find her without the aid of his famous cousin Arthur.

The young man sets off to seek his kinsman. He asks for support and assistance. Arthur agrees to help, sends six warriors to join Culhwch in his search for Olwen, they travel onwards until they come across the "fairest of the castles of the world", meet Ysbaddaden's shepherd brother, Custennin. They learn that the castle belongs to Ysbaddaden, that he stripped Custennin of his lands and murdered the shepherd's twenty-three children out of cruelty. Custennin set up a meeting between Culhwch and Olwen, the maiden agrees to lead Culhwch and his companions to Ysbadadden's castle; the warrior Cai pledges to protect Goreu with his life. The knights attack the castle by stealth, killing the nine porters and the nine watchdogs, enter the giant's hall. Upon their arrival, Ysbaddaden attempts to kill Culhwch with a poison dart, but is outwitted and wounded, first by Bedwyr by the enchanter Menw, by Culhwch himself. Ysbaddaden relents, agrees to give Culhwch his daughter on the condition that he completes a number of impossible tasks, including hunting the Twrch Trwyth and recovering the exalted prisoner Mabon ap Modron.

Culhwch accepts the giant's child and, with the help of Arthur and his knights completes the numerous tasks. With the anoethau completed, Culhwch and others who "wished ill to Ysbaddaden Bencawr" ride to his court; the giant's beard and flesh are shaved off by Caw of Pictland and, accepting his humiliation and defeat, he is dragged away by Goreu, who avenges his murdered brothers by beheading the giant. Ysbaddaden's head is placed on the spike of the citadel, Goreu claims his uncle's lands as his own, Olwen is free to marry her love. A brief reference to Culhwch is made in Marwnad Cynddylan, a seventh-century awdl-poem, in which the mythological hero is compared to the deceased Cynddylan, a seventh-century ruler of Pengwern. Text of Culhwch and Olwen, translated by Lady Charlotte Guest

MU90 Impact

The MU90 Impact is an advanced lightweight anti-submarine torpedo of the 3rd generation developed by France and Italy for navies of France, Germany, Denmark and Poland. It is designed to compete with and outperform the United States-built Mark 54 in the anti-submarine role, has been developed in a special MU90 Hard Kill version for torpedo anti-torpedo defence; the MU90 is built by a consortium of French and Italian companies. The MU90 was the result of separate projects in Italy from the 1980s. In France, a project under the direction of Thomson Sintra created the "Murène" in 1989, while in Italy Whitehead started work on an A244 replacement known as the A290. In 1990 the first attempts to merge the two efforts started, a process, completed in 1993 with the formation of EuroTorp; the French intended to use the new torpedo on their frigates, Atlantique 2 aircraft, Lynx helicopters and NFH90 helicopters. They wanted 1000 units, but the end of the Cold War saw their requirement cut to 600 in 1991, 450 in 2000 and 300 torpedoes in 2008.

The project has cost France €1,150m in 2012 prices at a unit cost of €1.6m, or €3.8m including development costs. 25 torpedoes per year will be delivered to France until 2014. The MU90 is capable against any current or perceived threat, including a bottomed stationary mini-submarine, known versions of anechoic coatings, various decoys, it is capable of launch speeds up to 400 knots, allowing it to be dropped from maritime patrol aircraft flying at high speeds, or rocket-assist launchers. Powered by an electric pump-jet, it can be run at "silent" speeds to avoid giving its location away to the submarine, or "dash" at speeds over 29 knots, it uses a shaped charge warhead that can penetrate any known submarine hull, in particular Soviet double hull designs, while remaining just as deadly in shallow waters where conventional warheads are less effective. In 1986 France and Italy began a collaboration to develop an anti-submarine missile based on the Italian Otomat missile. France dropped out of the programme but Italy has fitted the MBDA MILAS missile to its Durand de la Penne-class destroyers and FREMM anti-submarine frigates.

MILAS is an 800 kg missile. After deciding that its Mark 46 torpedoes were inadequate, Australia set up the JP2070 project in 1998 to buy torpedoes for its Adelaide-class frigates, Anzac-class frigates, AP-3C Orion aircraft, S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopters and planned SH-2G Super Seasprite helicopters; the Seasprites were cancelled and the Orions and Seahawks were removed from the MU90 programme on budget grounds. The A$639m project to buy a classified number of MU90 has been criticised by the Australian National Audit Office on the grounds of cost, insufficient test firings which failed to reveal defects in the torpedo, the lack of commonality with the Navy's air-launched torpedoes; the MU90 reached IOC in November 2012. Australia Denmark Egypt France Germany Italy Morocco Poland Sting Ray - British equivalent Mark 54 Lightweight Torpedo - US Navy's equivalent APR-3E torpedo - Russian equivalent Yu-7 torpedo - Chinese equivalent

NCC Class V

The NCC Class V was a 0-6-0 steam locomotive design used by the Northern Counties Committee for goods train service. Three were built at the NCC's parent company's Derby Works, numbered 71–73, they were soon after "renumbered" X, Y and Z, to allow the class U locomotives to be renumbered into the 70–73 number block. The V class was renumbered 13–15. All passed to the Ulster Transport Authority in 1949. Between 1951 and 1953, the UTA rebuilt them with Belpaire boilers and reclassified them as Class V1, they were withdrawn from service in 1961 and 1964. All were scrapped. Rowledge, J. W. P.. Irish Steam Locomotive Register. Stockport, Merseyside: Irish Traction Group. ISBN 0-947773-33-9. GNRI Class V