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by Gail Helmer

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Wednesday September 5, 2001

PC News

Screens: Jane's Attack Squadron
Xicat Interactive and Mad Doc Software have released six screenshots from their upcoming WWII combat simulation "Jane's Attack Squadron".

Mad Doc Software's description of "Jane's Attack Squadron":

Jane’s Attack Squadron is a next generation World War II flight combat simulation for the PC. The focus of gameplay is on low-level attacks of tactical targets, over ground and sea. Missions include air strikes on a wide range of targets including warships, subs, trains, tanks, airfields, and factories. Other mission types add variety, and include Patrol, Intercept, and Strategic Bombing.

Theater of Operations Missions are set in the Western European Theater, primarily in Western France, Western Germany, and the Low Countries. Sea-based missions are flown over the English Channel and North Sea off the European coast.

The Western European landscape is recreated in detail using Mad Doc Software’s next-generation rendering engine. Over 1 million square miles of terrain have been modeled, using high resolution ground textures and accurate digital height elevations. Numerous buildings and structures, from smaller dwellings to huge industrial complexes and notable landmarks, have been meticulously modeled. Hundreds of villages, towns, and cities along the flight path have also been modeled, along with railways, roads, rivers, and airfields. The typical mission starts near the objective, or the player can jump instantly to the next objective. Hard core sim players have the option to fly realtime between waypoints,.

Missions and Multiplayer Game Play Jane’s Attack Squadron offers single missions, campaigns, quick missions, and training missions. Campaigns combine single-style missions, and put the player in the role of squad leader, while quick missions allow the player to set a few parameters and jump into the fray. Training missions cover basics (takeoff and landing) and attack maneuvers (such as dive-bombing and using rockets and torpedoes).

The game also includes robust multiplayer support for up to 8 players via LAN or TCP/IP. Multiplayer options include deathmatch style Dogfights.

Aircraft Jane’s Attack Squadron will feature up to 14 flyable aircraft. Each has an accurately modeled 3D cockpit with fully functioning dials and gauges. The game also boasts one of the most detailed aircraft damage systems in any aircraft simulation. Each aircraft is composed of multiple components, each being completely damageable and many which can also break off. Bullet decals also appear in the exact location of bullet strikes, ensuring that battle damage will never look the same way twice.

Signature aircraft are the top WW2 fighter-bombers, such as the American P-38, P-47, and P-51, as well as the German Fw-190, Me-262 and Bf-109. Some medium and heavy bombers also appear, including the American B-17 and the German Ju-88.

Land and Sea Targets Jane’s Attack Squadron provides the user with an unparalleled ground attack combat experience for a prop sim. Features range from tanks fighting each other on the battlefield, to battleships conducting shore bombardment, to FLAK and Ant-Aircraft guns firing back at the player.

Military vehicles include a variety of tanks, jeeps, and trucks that traverse the battlefield and make ripe targets for strafing, bombing, and rocket attacks. Artillery guns provide indirect fire on the battlefield while smaller caliber AA guns threaten lower flying aircraft. Going in low to take out enemy ground targets is a harrowing experience!

The Jane’s Attack Squadron world is populated with numerous mission targets, both tactical and strategic. Ground targets include factories, landmarks, trains, airfields, fuel and ammo dumps, villages, V2 sites, and bridges. Each structure has detailed multiple levels of damage with corresponding smoke and fire effects.

Battleships, destroyers, subs and merchant ships also populate the Jane’s Attack Squadron world. Naval ships can conduct shore bombardment, and also attack other naval targets. The challenge is real - if the player fails to take out a destroyer in time, it can actually sink the ships of a friendly convoy.

Xicat Secures Jane's License
Xicat Interactive revealed, during ECTS (Europe's Premier Interactive Entertainment Expo), earlier this week that they have reached an agreement with Jane's Information Group for sole licensing rights to publish military simulations under the Jane's brand. The first title under this agreement is "Janes Attack Squadron" being developed by Mad Doc software. "Jane's Attack Squadron" is a World War II flight combat simulation for the PC. Our roving reporter Steve "Biggs" Beardall had the opportunity to check out this new "Jane's" title and he said "The new WWII sim was having a few problems with the graphics settings. It is not in the same league as say, IL-2, but it looked like a lot of fun." No word on a release date, but we will keep you posted.

So what does this mean for all the EA Jane's titles? COMBATSIM has learned that EA still owns the code for all internally developed Jane's Combat Simulation titles; the USNF series, the Longbow series, F-15, WW2 Fighters and F/A-18. Less clear is the status of IAF, USAF, 688i and Fleet Command, as they were done by outside developers.

Exclusive Team Factor Screens
Czech game developer 7FX sent us 10 new screens from their upcoming title "Team Factor". The new screens show off the multiplayer game. The game will feature three different teams: red, which represents the Russian Spetznaz; blue, a combination of US Army Rangers and German Fallschirmjaegers; and black, which represents the rest of the world. Each team has four basic character types with unique abilities. The game will include more than 40 types of realistic weapons, including pistols, rifles, shotguns, grenades, and machine guns. Team Factor is currently in the pre-alpha stage of development at 7FX. 7FX is currently preparing a two level game demo to be released the beginning of September. London based company Singularity Software will be publishing Team Factor. Release Date: Not Available.

Operation Flashpoint Patch 1.20
Rumors are swirling around the release of Operation Flashpoint's Patch 1.20. Speculation is that the release date will not be until September 12. In an email from Codemasters, "The patch should be on our website for download on Friday 7 September". Note: If you have the US version, then you already have version 1.20. There is no need to download upgrades or patches to version 1.10 .

Matrix Games Announces Fall Line-up
Matrix Games has announced the signing of a deal with ApeZone to publish their latest game Starships Unlimited II "Starships Unlimited II" combines the flow of real-time strategy games with the detailed control of turn-based games. Play a game of interstellar combat and conquest. Lead your fledgling space-faring race to discover and, eventually, dominate the galaxy. Use the tools of combat, diplomacy, intelligence and trade on your way to victory.

Matrix Games is also hard at work on two other game designs, which should be released this fall. "Combat Leader" is an eastern front tactical armored combat game where you can command a single squad or an entire battalion. "Uncommon Valor" is Gary Grigsby latest operational level campaign for the South Pacific from 1942 to the end of 1943 covering every ship and plane.

WWII Online Squad Page Maintenance
Playnet has announced that today and all this week they are doing some maintenance to the WWII Online squad pages hosted as part of their Player Services website. In addition to removing squad names which violate Playnet's Terms of Service for abusive, offensive or otherwise inappropriate content they are deleting inactive squads and implementing a review and acceptance step for all new squadrons in the game. They hope this causes a minimum of inconvenience to squad leaders. If you have questions or problems, please contact [email protected]

Military News

Northrop Grumman Restores USS Cole
A significant event in the restoration of USS COLE (DDG 67) by Northrop Grumman Corporation was achieved Labor Day weekend when the Aegis destroyer was rolled onto the shipyard's floating drydock in preparation for launch on Sept. 15, 2001.

Northrop Grumman Ship Systems moved the ship over land by a system of electrically powered cars traveling over rails. The ship arrived at the company's Ingalls Operations on Dec. 13, 2000, from Aden, Yemen, and was moved on land where she has remained during the restoration. Shipbuilders have completed the structural replacements and repairs and the ship is on schedule to be redelivered to the U.S. Navy next spring.

A-10 Crashes In Arizona
NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. (AFPN) -- An A-10 Thunderbolt II crashed Sept. 3 in Arizona near Mesquite, Nev. The single-seat aircraft belongs to the 23rd Fighter Group at Pope Air Force Base, N.C. Capt. Frederick H. Sellers, the pilot of the A-10, ejected from the aircraft and was treated and released from the Mike O'Callaghan Federal Hospital here. The A-10 is a twin-engine jet designed for close air support of ground forces. Air Force officials are investigating the incident.

Fully Configured KC-130J Tankers Delivered To USMC
Lockheed Martin has delivered the first three fully configured KC-130J tanker aircraft to the United States Marine Corps. These aircraft, the first of seven to be delivered this year, will be based at Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station N.C.

The USMC KC-130J program calls for the one-for-one replacement of the entire active duty and reserve fleet of 79 KC-130 F/R/T models. The Marine Corps has 11 KC-130Js on order, with the FY02 President's Budget containing funding for four more KC-130Js. The Marine Corps intends to request aircraft at the rate of at least four per year.

Key enhancements of the KC-130J over previous models include increased performance, survivability and ground safety enhancements, digital technology, improved operational effectiveness, and reductions in required personnel and maintenance costs.

Using only wing and external tanks, the KC-130J has a 57,500 pound (8,455 U.S. gallons) fuel offload capability while performing a 500-nautical mile radius mission, compared with 38,000 pounds (5,588 U.S. gallons) for the current fleet of KC-130Fs. The aircraft is also configured to accept a fuselage tank if desired, adding another 24,392 pounds (3,600 U.S. gallons) of fuel to a mission. The standard probe-and-drogue configuration is suited for helicopters and jet aircraft. Internal provisions for its own refueling probe provide even greater flexibility if required.

The nucleus of the new KC-130J is the Flight Refueling Ltd (FRL) Mk32B-901E aerial refueling system. It features two electrically driven hose drum units and is microprocessor-controlled (1553B). The FRL system allows fuel delivery to be adjusted at the hose end to better suit various receivers. Ram air turbine driven fuel boost pumps in each pod improve fuel offload. The Mk32B-901E system delivers 270-350 gallons per minute at 50 psig without the need for fuselage tank boost pumps as required in the current fleet. This significant improvement over the current fleet of Marine KC-130s provides greater mission flexibility. Removing the large fuselage tank from the cargo area frees the Marines to conduct simultaneous refueling and cargo missions without sacrificing fuel offload capability.

ATK to Supply Smart Weapons for Italian Air Force
ATK (Alliant Techsystems) said it has been selected by Alenia DIFESA, Breda Meccanica Bresciana, Brescia, Italy, to supply the Common Munitions BIT/Reprogramming Equipment (CMBRE) system for use by the Italian Air Force. Deliveries under the $1 million contract will begin in May 2002 and continue through March 2003.

Developed and produced by ATK Integrated Defense Company, Clearwater, Fla., CMBRE is a portable field test system for smart weapons that is used to determine if the weapons are operational and to program flight and planning data for tactical missions.

The CMBRE system will be used by the Italian Air Force to support the Paveway III laser-guided bomb system and an upcoming procurement of the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM).

"We are pleased to supply the CMBRE system to Alenia DIFESA and the Italian Air Force," said Jed Holzapfel, vice president, International Business Development. "ATK has been involved in the development and production of electronic weapons testing systems since the mid 1980s, and the CMBRE system represents the state of the art in this important technology."

Gripen Team Responds Brazilian RFP For New Fighters
The SAAB-BAE Systems Gripen joint venture company, which is responsible for the manufacture, marketing and support of the Gripen new-generation swing-role fighter internationally, says it will submit a fully compliant response to the formal Request for Proposals (RFP) for 24 new fighters to meet the future defence needs of the Brazilian Air Force.

This will be based on the supply of Gripen, the world's most capable and cost effective combat aircraft in operation today, supported by a comprehensive programme of industrial partnerships and offset with Brazilian companies in the defence and aerospace and commercial business sectors.

"Gripen is a first class weapon system, designed and manufactured in Europe. It is the first new-generation swing-role fighter in operational service world-wide and will provide Brazil with higher levels of technology and skills transfer than any of its main competitors in the F-X program," states Simon Carr, Gripen sales and marketing director.

"The combination of Saab and BAE Systems, two of the world's most experienced and respected manufacturers of aerospace and defence equipment, will offer a wide range of opportunities for long-term partnerships with Brazilian industry in support of a Gripen sale. This will include high-technology, aerospace and commercially-focused projects. "

So far Saab and BAE Systems have implemented offset programmes in more than 30 countries with a total value in excess of USD 22 billion.

Gripen has been selected to serve as the backbone of the Swedish Air Force, which has ordered 204 fighters and the South African Air Force, which has a requirement for 28 to meet their 21st century defence needs.

NAVSYSTEM 3000 for Swedish CombatBoat-90
Transas Scandinavia has received an order to supply an extensive range of advanced navigational equipment to 27 units of the Swedish Defense CombatBoat-90 project. This will be the last batch of over 160 fast boats constructed for the Swedish Amphibious Forces.

Transas Scandinavia AB will develop and install an integrated system, called NAVSYSTEM 3000, designated for use by the pilot (helmsman) and co-pilot (navigator). This solution will include Transas Marine's Navi-Sailor 2500 navigational software and Litton's Bridgemaster-E radar in the black box version.

The delivery set also contains a wide range of other navigational aids and equipment from leading manufacturers. In addition, Transas Scandinavia will manufacture and supply a 19" solid rack-unit capable of withstanding vibration, shock, electromagnetic distortion and other forces. The unit will also be integrated with the navigation processor and will provide interfaces to all the navigation signals, video distribution and GPS Black box receiver. In the future, an AIS (Automatic Identification System) can be connected to the NAVSYSTEM 3000.

The vessels will be specially equipped for UN peace-keeping operations and the Transas Navi-Sailor 2500 system will be interfaced with dedicated equipment for encrypted radio communication (PC-DART).

Production and assembly of the rack cable connectors and NAVSYSTEM 3000 will be carried out at Transas Scandinavia's facilities in Gothenburg. Deliveries for this project are scheduled to take place, from December 2001 to January 2003.

Transas has been participating in the CombatBoat-90 project, since 1994. Following extensive trial and evaluation procedures, Transas was awarded the fleet order for onboard navigation systems and the order for a simulator to train patrol boat pilots.

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