Page 1 Daily News
by Gail Helmer
Friday, January 12, 2001
Shrapnel Games to Publish ProSIM's Armored Task Force.
Shrapnel Games has announced an agreement to publish Captain Patrick Proctor's next wargame Armored Task Force. Building on the success of BCT: Brigade Combat Team, ProSIM is creating an even more challenging, all-encompassing simulation of modern warfare. Everything will be modeled, practically down to the bolts on the vehicles wheels. Shrapnel Games will be featuring an early alpha at the 2001 Connections in February. The game is scheduled for a physical release in August of this year. A retail price has not been set, but it is expected to be in the $40-$50 range. For more detailed information on Armored Task Force, go to Shrapnel Games' website at Shrapnel Games: ProSIM
News from the Flanker Front.
Over the past couple of weeks there has been a lot of speculation as to what will and will not be included in Flanker 2.5. Matt Wagner, Flanker Producer, reveals the inside scoop on SSI's plans for Flanker 2.5.
The list below encompasses many of the new features that have been incorporated into Flanker 2.5. Given our desire to release Flanker 2.5 by the end of the month, we are holding off on any additional features in order adequently test the product.
Flanker 2.5 New Features
***Disclaimer - All of the above is subject to change. As with any software development project, there are always variables that may prevent us from doing everything we plan to include or keep in this upgrade.***
New Operation Flashpoint Site.
Codemasters has launched its official Web site for the upcoming tactical action game Operation Flashpoint. The game is being developed by Prague-based Bohemia Interactive, and it takes place in the Cold War-era Soviet Union.
Players begin the game as a NATO private on a peacekeeping mission, and they engage in battle both on foot and in vehicles such as jeeps and helicopters. Players can progress in rank depending on their performance in a series of missions. Operation Flashpoint is scheduled for release in March. The new site is at: Operation Flashpoint
CDV Software Entertainment Announces New Productions.
CDV Software Entertainment has announced a group of new projects, including Psychotoxic: The 4th Horseman, a futuristic 3D shooter from NuClearVision coming in 2002, and an add-on for its World War II real-time strategy game Sudden Strike.
Games slated for release in 2001 include the US version of Sudden Strike, European Wars: Cossacks, Explomaen, Mystery of the Druids, Vyruz, Alcatraz, War Commander, and the Sudden Strike add-on. The ambitious list of games is due in part to the success of Sudden Strike in the German market, though it's uncertain which of the games mentioned will be released in the US.
US Army Apaches Flying Again.
Less than 60 of the Army's 742 Apache helicopters are still on the ground as their tail rotor swashplate assemblies are repaired. The Army directed the grounding of all 742 AH-64A and D Apache aircraft worldwide Dec. 14 as a precautionary measure following the discovery of a faulty tail rotor swashplate assembly, officials said. COMBATSIM.COM Daily News: Army Grounds Apache Fleet, Dec. 15/00
"We are working as a team to return all Apaches to flight operations as fast as possible," said Dan O'Boyle, a spokesman for the Army's Aviation Program Executive Office at Redstone Arsenal, Ala. On Dec. 21, 648 Apaches were returned to flight operations after an inspection determined they didn't have swashplate assemblies from potentially defective lots, O'Boyle said. The Army already completed repair-and-replace action on 35 of the 94 AH-64 Apaches from potentially defective, he said. The remaining 59 Apaches will be returned to flight operations as they get repaired, he said. All Apaches should be fit for flight by the end of February. All Apaches needing repair-and-replace action are getting it at the Army Depot Corpus Christi, Texas, O'Boyle said. The swashplate assembly is a key component of the helicopter's flight control system, and its failure could result in the loss of an aircraft and crew injuries, he said.
U.S.Navy Changes Gulf Pilot Status From Dead to Missing.
Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig has changed the status of Cmdr. Michael Scott Speicher from Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered (KIA/BNR) to Missing in Action (MIA). Speicher's F/A-18 aircraft was shot down by enemy fire in the first day of the air war over Iraq on Jan. 17, 1991. He was placed in an MIA status the next day. On May 22, 1991, following a Secretary of the Navy status review board that found "no credible evidence" to suggest he had survived the shootdown, his status was changed to KIA/BNR.
In December 1995, working through the International Committee of the Red Cross, investigators from the Navy and Army's Central Identification Laboratory entered Iraq and conducted a thorough excavation of the crash site. In September 1996, based on a comprehensive review of evidence accumulated since the initial KIA/BNR determination, the Secretary of the Navy reaffirmed the presumptive finding of death.
Over the years since that determination was made, the Navy and the U.S. government have consistently sought new information and continued to analyze all available information to resolve Speicher's fate. This additional information and analysis, when added to the information considered in 1996, underscored the need for a new review. Based on the review, Danzig has concluded that Speicher's status should be "Missing in Action."
DD 21 Land Attack Destroyer Revealed.
The team of General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin announced on January 10, 2001 some specifics about its design of the Navy's DD 21 land attack destroyer. Referred to as the Blue Team, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works and Lockheed Martin said that their version of DD 21 will contain many key innovations and will lead to the "Navy after next." Integrated electric drive will enhance survivability and increase design flexibility for all future combatants, improving quality of life and dramatically changing how sailors live, work and fight at sea.
The Blue Team's proposal, which was submitted to the Navy in December, will be for a ship with a complement of about 95-a reduction of more than 70 percent compared to current surface combatants. Operations and support costs for the ship will be reduced by 42 percent. This results in a reduction of more than 40 percent in total ownership costs to the Navy and the taxpayer.
General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin said that their multi-mission ship will attain littoral maritime dominance and bring unprecedented land attack capability to the surface Navy by combining great survivability with unparalleled joint force connectivity. Total ship systems integration supported by a new command and control architecture will achieve performance goals that are both affordable and reliable.
The Blue Team DD 21 also has a dramatically reduced signature with its tumblehome hull and integrated topside design. The ship will defeat any air threat. With its reduced acoustic signature and exceptional maneuverability, the Blue Team's proposed DD 21 can defeat the mine threat-a key to being able to survive, fight and win in the littorals.
A ship's company crew of 95 (without the aviation detachment) can successfully execute all required missions, perform maintenance and cleaning and conduct damage control over a six-month deployment. This assertion is based on extensive analysis, modeling and simulation, and has been validated through interviews by Blue Team members with over 700 experienced fleet sailors.
The Blue Team DD 21 will be operated by a 15-person watch team working in a highly automated bridge and an advanced Mission Control Center (MCC) using multi-modal work stations and task-managed prompting. The MCC will control the entire ship and replace today's CIC, Sonar Control, Engineering Control Center, and Damage Control Central. The watch team can concentrate on strategy and tactics, making decisions on accurate and relevant information. DD 21 will employ a four-section watch to provide eight hours of uninterrupted sleep underway.
DD 21 is the first ship designed for the sailor from the keel up. Sailors will live in staterooms with a maximum of three people per stateroom with privacy built into the design. Modern recreational and exercise facilities are complemented by an innovative food service. Food service is achieved with a dramatic reduction in personnel. Using advanced technologies and a food service complex designed for efficiency, a seven-person team (instead of the 80 or so on conventional ships) requires no augmentation by temporary personnel. A ship-to-shore electronic interface provides on-line maintenance, administrative and medical support. It also supports a video teleconferencing capability with family, as well as Internet and on-line education. Significant improvement in work quality through the elimination of drudge work such as paint chipping and mess cooking has been achieved in the Blue Team's DD 21.
The key to DD 21 survivability is a damage-tolerant design. Examples include zonal distribution and redundancy, which will ensure that power will be maintained, and the loss of no single space will cripple the ship. In the event of damage, the first response is through the Ship Systems Automation (SSA). SSA provides for extensive internal situational awareness to detect and react to a damage event and begin the recovery process. SSA detects, isolates and contains damage much more effectively than conventional approaches. Automation is augmented by Rapid Response Teams who will have the equipment and skills to handle any event. They will use sensors, wireless communication, wearable computers/mini-cams and personal location devices to gain and maintain total situational awareness, guided by a Readiness Control Officer in the Mission Control Center. DD 21 damage control and recovery concepts presage the future for Navy Damage Control doctrine and tactics. For more info on the DD21 visit the: Blue Team Site
CALCM Delivered To The U.S. Air Force.
The Boeing Company has delivered the first Block 1A Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missile, or CALCM, to the U.S. Air Force. Six of the new missiles were recently shipped to Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Wash., for inspections and ground checks prior to a planned first flight in February. The new Block 1A configuration includes a precision accuracy kit that uses a third-generation GPS receiver, advanced navigation software, and a GPS anti-jam system for a significant increase in immunity to electronic jamming.
During the next year Boeing will deliver more than 200 kits of the new hardware and software to be retrofitted into earlier Block 0 and Block 1 models of CALCM. Boeing was awarded two contracts in 1999 to convert 322 surplus Air-Launched Cruise Missiles into CALCMs. Of those missiles, 132 will be delivered in the Block 1A configuration. Boeing has already delivered 140 of those in the Block 1 configuration. The final 50 missiles will be delivered in the new AGM-86D configuration, which has the avionics upgrades as well as a new, penetrating warhead for hardened and buried targets. Boeing is making the conversions at its Weapons Programs center in St. Charles, Mo.
CALCM is the only air-launched, conventionally armed, long-range standoff missile deployed in the U.S. Air Force inventory. It is produced by modifying surplus nuclear-armed AGM-86Bs (ALCMs). It features a high-explosive blast-fragmentation warhead and a GPS receiver for accurate GPS-aided inertial navigation. Launched from B-52H aircraft, CALCM provides the U.S. Air Force with an economical, rapid response, worldwide conventional strike capability; this makes it a cost-effective choice for additional system upgrades and new mission applications. Boeing has proposed a new, extended-range version of CALCM for the Air Force's Extended Range Cruise Missile requirement.
USS Cole Commission Report Revealed.
The United States Defense Department must view terrorists as a "relentless enemy" and confront them "with the same intensity and discipline that we have used in the past to defeat conventional antagonists," Defense Secretary William Cohen said Jan. 9. Cohen was quoting the unclassified USS Cole Commission Report, which was released that day. The report was co-authored by retired Army Gen. William W. Crouch and retired Navy Adm. Harold W. Gehman. Cohen requested the report following the Oct. 12 bombing of the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen, that killed 17 sailors and injured 39.
The report recognizes the military has dramatically strengthened force protection procedures since the 1996 terrorist attack against Khobar Towers, Saudi Arabia. But notes terrorists are determined to try to intimidate U.S. forces and prevent the United States from pursuing worldwide national security interests. "They will continue to tenaciously look for exposed seams in our force protection armor," Cohen said during a Pentagon news briefing. "Since Khobar Towers, Department of Defense has made tremendous improvement and paid a tremendous amount of attention to force protection," Crouch said. "We have focused on installations and fixed facilities. ... Nevertheless, as (Cohen) said, the terrorist, who is very persistent, has gone after our vulnerability."
The commission wasn't intended to place blame for the tragedy, but to find areas in which to make improvements to military force protection plans, Cohen said. There should be no zealous search for accountability, which, carried to the extreme, would lead to "an imbalance where commanders in the future would fail to take action for fear of any repercussions." DOD owes it to the families of those killed and injured in the blast, and to all servicemembers, to at least look at the matter of accountability, Cohen added. "There's a delicate balance that has to be maintained," he said.
Cohen also directed Joint Chiefs Chairman Army Gen. Henry Shelton to review the commission's report and a forthcoming report from the Navy's Manual of the Judge Advocate General and advise Cohen on "matters associated with this incident, including issues of accountability." The instructions to Shelton came in a Jan. 9 memo that also reminded that the chairman is "the principal advisor and focal point ... on all anti-terrorism and force protection issues."
The commission's report found ships in transit provide a weak point. "There are institutional changes that have to be made and improvements which have to be made to try and prevent this from taking place in the future," Cohen said. "(But) as good as we get or will get in the future ... terrorists are bound to examine other ways of finding vulnerabilities. We saw when we started to really strengthen the force protection elements for fixed sites (after the Khobar Towers bombing) ... they moved to our embassies, bombing the embassies in East Africa. And as we take additional measures here with our fleet, no doubt they will look for other softer targets to go after."
The 30-member USS Cole Commission examined five areas: organization, antiterrorism and force protection, intelligence, logistics and training. The report lists 30 findings within these areas and accompanying recommendations. A major issue the commission focused on is that the Cole did not have specific intelligence tailored to its visit to Aden. Cohen said the members of the Cole Commission found this to be a shortfall for all ships in transit. "There was not specific intelligence communicated to the captain of the ship; the warnings that were received were general in nature and not directed against this ship; and they preceded this tragedy at least a month prior to that time," he said. "So one of the recommendations would be to get much greater focus on intelligence that is focused for the ships and for all the commanders."
The commission found no credible intelligence that could have predicted this attack. The commissioners noted transiting ships do not have enough intelligence analysts, but rely on support from outside agencies. "We recommend that ... the theater intelligence centers focus some resources on tracking, dedicating intelligence products, overwatching and advising these transiting units as to the risks into the areas in which they are going," Gehman said. He also said units in transit need to be better trained to demand this type of intelligence support. "They need to ask more difficult questions." Gehman praised DOD and the intelligence community for shifting analysis resources to the anti-terrorism mission. He said these efforts must continue and grow, particularly assets related to human and signals intelligence.
The report recommends the defense secretary consolidate all functions related to combating terrorism under one individual at the assistant secretary of defense level. The commission also recommended DOD work more closely with other Cabinet agencies that work significantly outside the United States. "The Department of Defense is not the only department that's conducting engagement activities," Gehman said. "Treasury, Commerce, State, as well as Defense and others all have engagement activities. And we believe that further coordination and consolidation of activities would be to the benefit of everybody."
The third recommendation concerns host nations providing security to transiting U.S. forces. "It's in the department's best interest that host nation security forces be capable and willing to help us with our force protection roles," Gehman said. "In many of these places that we visit, the host nation is either unwilling or unable to provide that support. We're very, very good at military- to-military support. What we're talking about here is military-to-non-military support, and we would like to see that process streamlined."
The commission made 13 anti-terrorism/force protection recommendations. They include changing the term "threat condition" to another term that better reflects its purpose such as "alert states" or "force protection posture". Threat condition is too easy to confuse with threat level, and the term does not clearly convey that it is an operational posture, not an explanation of conditions in an area, Crouch said. "If the terminology is not easily interchanged, we think it will be of real benefit to users," he said. The commission also found the standing rules of engagement in place in the region were adequate and "fundamentally sound," and saw no reason to revise them. Other recommendations include:
Gehman said force protection training should take on a higher priority, "up to a priority which is equal to a unit's primary mission." He acknowledged this would take more time and resources, but said the ends justify the means. "What we are trying to do here is suggest that the training needs to be of sufficient sophistication to be able to recognize the unexpected rather than just react to the expected," he said.
Thursday, January 11, 2001
ICQ Users' Identities Not Safe From Trojan Horse.
Hundreds of ICQ users have found themselves temporarily duped out of their online identities, as a new Trojan horse is making its way around the Net. ICQ members are identified by numbers. With more than 42 million registrations, newer numbers have become quite lengthy, making the shorter numerical IDs of early ICQ adopters hot properties.
Now those shorter name tags are the targets of theft, as malicious hackers are distributing a Trojan horse that steals passwords and commandeers control of ICQ accounts. A Trojan horse is a piece of computer code that behaves in an unexpected, usually nefarious manner. In this case, the Trojan is disguised as a JPEG image file, distributed by email, that steals the ICQ password from the user's hard drive.
AOL, which bought ICQ last year, said it had anticipated the theft of low-numbered ICQ accounts and had provided a way of verifying the authenticity of the accounts' original owners and restoring control to them. Users whose passwords have been stolen can be re-authenticated at ICQ.com. So far, about 200 ICQ users have reported having their passwords stolen in recent weeks, AOL said. The Trojan was first reported by Wired News.
X-32B Completes Low-, Medium-Speed Taxi Tests.
The Boeing X-32B Joint Strike Fighter concept demonstrator moved closer to its first flight with the Jan. 8 completion of initial low- and medium-speed taxi tests to verify function and integration of crucial aircraft systems.
"The propulsion and on-board systems met our expectations, which were based on X-32B static tests and our experience on the X-32A," said Frank Statkus, Boeing vice president and JSF general manager. "The high level of commonality built into the X-32A and (X-32B) is paying off. Just like the X-32A, the (X-32B) performed well at 30 knots (34.5 mph) and again at the medium-speed taxi test at 60 knots (69 mph)."
During the taxi tests, Boeing lead short-takeoff and vertical-landing test pilot Dennis O'Donoghue stayed in contact with test engineers who monitored the aircraft's instrumentation from their control room. "We conducted functional checkout of the nose wheel, steering, brakes and anti-skid systems, and evaluated ground handling qualities during these tests. Everything went exactly as planned," O'Donoghue said. "During taxi, the aircraft handled just like the X-32A."
The next step involves Boeing certification and government verification of low- and medium-speed taxi test data prior to the high-speed taxi test. Following high-speed taxi, the X-32B will begin flight testing with an initial flight from Palmdale to test facilities at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The first flights at Edwards will validate basic airworthiness, to be followed by STOVL transition testing at altitude. The aircraft will then be flown to the Navy's test facility at Patuxent River, Md., to continue testing, which will include vertical landings. Taxi tests are important steps leading to the X-32B first flight, Statkus said, but the focus is really on successful completion of the whole flight-test program. "First flight will happen when the team and the plane are ready to begin the entire flight test program, and that is determined in large part by this kind of interim testing," he said.
To perform STOVL maneuvers, the system redirects engine thrust downward through lift nozzles in the airframe. For conventional flight the lift nozzles are closed and thrust flows rearward through the two-dimensional thrust-vectoring cruise nozzle -- the same as in the X-32A -- to propel the aircraft forward and up to supersonic speeds. In more than 500 trials on the STOVL engine run stand, transition times between conventional and vertical thrust and back again have been consistently accomplished in one to three seconds. This rapid and direct transition capability is critically important for unrestricted STOVL operations and aircraft safety. The company's X-32A demonstrator, which made its first flight Sept. 18, has completed 100 percent of its government-required aircraft carrier variant low-speed handling tests at Edwards as well as aerial refueling and supersonic flight.
Germany's Leopard 2 Considered The World's Best Tank.
In a new analysis of the world tank market, Forecast International/DMS finds that, based on an overall comparison in terms of lethality, fightability, mobility and survivability, the Leopard 2A6EX comes out on top. Although the Leopard 2A6EX ranked above the M1 Abrams (in the A2 System Enhancement Package model), the gap between the two tanks remains exceedingly small. In this year's survey, the deciding factor was the Leopard 2's 55-calibre version of the Rh 120mm tank cannon and the formidable DM 53 long rod penetrating ammunition. The Abrams is slated to receive the same cannon, but not for several years.
New and improved fire control components, the addition of an auxiliary power unit, as well as overall performance helped push the Leopard 2 A6EX ahead of the M1A2 System Enhancement Package model in Forecast International's latest ranking. Even so, the M1A2 System Enhancement Package, which is bringing all M1 tanks to a single improved level, represents a major enhancement to the Abrams' already formidable proven fighting ability. Indeed, based on its superior performance during the Persian Gulf War, the Abrams stands at the head of the ranking in terms of combat performance. In addition, the vacillating Russians aside, the M1 is still the only tank in production that firmly uses a vehicular gas turbine as its prime mover. The US Army recently selected the General Electric LV-100 vehicular gas turbine to re-power the Abrams. Coming in at third place in the rankings is Japan's highly sophisticated Type 90, an amalgamation of German tank technology and Japanese expertise in advanced electronics. The Type 90 is followed by the Leclerc of France and the United Kingdom's Challenger 2, both in their latest versions. Making a significant rise in the rankings this year is Israel's Merkava in the latest Mark III Baz model. Contributing to this rise in the standings is the enhanced armour protection and greatly improved fire control components of this latest version of the Merkava. The latest analysis and ranking again has the omnipresent Russian tanks falling short of their Western counterparts, despite some recent major improvements as well as the continued lead by the Russians in active defence systems.
Forecast International/DMS Inc is a leading provider of Market Intelligence and Analyses in the areas of aerospace, defence, power systems and military electronics and specialises in long-range industry forecasts.
F-16 Test Aircraft Retires in Dayton.
F-16 serial number 75-0750 has completed a distinguished career as an advanced technology test aircraft for more than 22 years. It is best known for its service as the Advanced Fighter Technology Integration (AFTI)/F-16 technology demonstrator since the early 1980s.
Aircraft 750 flew its final flight on Jan. 9, 2001 from its birthplace in Fort Worth, Texas, to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. It is scheduled to be retired and inducted into the Air Force Museum there.
"The AFTI/F-16 has been an excellent platform because of the F-16ís basic modern systems, the relative ease of incorporating advanced technologies and the F-16ís low cost of operation and maintenance," said Don Swihart, AFTI Program Manager at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Dayton. "The AFTI/F-16 has been a real workhorse in proving out advanced fighter technologies, and it is fitting that this aircraft have its final resting place in the Air Force Museum."
Aircraft 750 was originally built as an F-16A, the sixth A model and seventh of eight aircraft in the F-16 Full-Scale Development program. It first flew and was delivered to the U.S. Air Force in April 1978. Since then the aircraft has been modified extensively many times and participated in 10 flight test programs. The aircraftís last achievement was the very successful Joint Strike Fighter Integrated Subsystems Technology demonstration in Fort Worth during October-November 2000. The aircraft was modified with an all-electric flight control system with electrohydrostatic actuators and a 270-VDC switched reluctance electric power system. It was the first aircraft to fly with an all-electric flight control system, adding to its many aviation firsts. Government studies show the combination of technologies will reduce weight, improve reliability and maintainability, increase survivability, and trim costs compared to traditional hydraulic actuator systems.
During its 22-plus year career, the aircraft accumulated 756 flights and 1,446 flight hours. Much of the time the aircraft was undergoing extensive modifications at the Fort Worth plant. This unique aircraft was flown by more than 23 test pilots from Lockheed Martin (and predecessors), U.S. Air Force, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, U.S. Marine Corps and the Swedish Air Force. Customers have included the U.S. Air Force (various agencies and commands), U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, NASA, Swedish Air Force and DoDís Joint Strike Fighter program. "The AFTI/F-16 has been a great tool for early testing of high-payoff technologies and has enabled early introduction of valuable capabilities into F-16 production," said Gary Ervin, vice president of Advanced Development Programs at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Palmdale, Calif.
Technologies that have transitioned into F-16 production include: digital flight controls, multifunction displays, dual multiplex bus avionics architecture, wide-angle head-up display, up-front controls, single-switch mission reconfiguration, dorsal avionics compartment, digital data link, digital terrain system, automatic terrain following and system-wide integrity management, digital terrain system, night vision system (night vision goggles and compatible cockpit lighting), improved takeoff and landing control laws, and voice annunciation. Items going into the F-16 in the near term include helmet-mounted cueing of weapons and sensors, digital color map display, internalized FLIR targeting system, and in-flight route planning. Advanced technologies demonstrated that have promise for the next generation of fighters or future incorporation on current fighters include: voice interaction, auto ground collision avoidance, head-steered FLIR imaging, covert radar altimeter, electric flight control actuation, and cooperative engagement capability (separated target sensor and shooter).
VMGR-234 Attains 100,000 Class A Mishap Free Flight Hours.
The Marines of Marine Aerial Refuel and Transport Squadron 234 (VMGR-234), recently achieved a flight hour milestone for a Reserve Air Wing component of the Marine Corps. On Nov. 18, two KC-130's departed from Carswell Field here with hopes of achieving the goal of 100,000 Class A mishap-free flight hours. A Class "A" Mishap is an aviation accident or incident, which results in a fatality or the complete loss of an aircraft. This is the first time a Navy or Marine Reserve KC-130 Unit that has reached 100,000 mishap-free flight hours.
The accrual of 100,000 hours took 25 years to attain, following the squadron's transition to the KC-130 Hercules Aircraft in 1975 while stationed in Glenview, Illinois. The squadron has flown around the world, to places such as Italy, Colombia, Egypt, Turkey, Norway, Thailand, Australia, Peru and Japan, where the risk for an accident was always present. However, through constant training to ensure aircrew proficiency and quality maintenance, the inherent dangers were minimized and the squadron was able to focus on completing its mission. The lead KC-130 was the first to surpass the "flight safety" goal for the Squadron while the second KC-130 carried photographers to capture this historic event. The occasion ended with the two KC-130's completing a formation fly-over of NAS Fort Worth and a brief ceremony at the hangar after the aircraft taxied in.
AAAV: Faster and Greater Power From the Sea
General Jones, Commandant of the Marine Corps said it best with the statement to the Direct Reporting Program Manager Advanced Amphibious Assault following the Pentagon's approval to proceed into the final phase of development: "..you have transformed a revolutionary concept into the reality of a revolutionary weapons system. Your efforts have ensured that the AAAV will remain a keystone capability in support of the corps' vision of warfighting in the 21st century.." The Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAAV) is the Marine Corps' highest priority ground program designed specifically for the signature mission of the Service. This advanced warfighting system moves three times faster and carries greater firepower than the legacy amphibian, providing Marine warriors from the sea greater flexibility and a superior tactical advantage.
The 21st century Marine Corps' is being shaped today through the transformation of revolutionary warfighting concepts into the reality of revolutionary weapons systems towards a strategically agile, operationally mobile, and tactically flexible expeditionary force. In the 1980's, the Navy and Marine Corps developed the concept of Over-The-Horizon (OTH) amphibious operations to avoid enemy strengths, exploit enemy weaknesses, and protect Navy ships from increased land-based missile threats and sea-based mine threats. The AAAV along with the MV-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft and the Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) form the "Amphibious Triad" designed to provide true expeditionary maneuver warfare capability. As a ground-up new design by and for Marines, the AAAV is built to correct deficiencies inherent in the legacy amphibian in addition to providing a modern, integrated platform capable of operations across the full spectrum of future Military operations in accordance with emerging Marine Corps concepts and doctrine. In addition to its greatly increased speed on the water, the AAAV will provide superior land mobility, greatly increased firepower, integrated Command and Control functionality, and advanced survivability features that will be absolutely essential for effective 21st century Marine warfare. To quote the Commandant: "...the AAAV will remain a keystone capability in support of the Corps' vision of warfighting in the 21st century."
The AAAV's unique capabilities will include: (1) over three times the water speed of the current AAV; (2) nearly twice the armor protection of the current AAV; (3) the ability to defeat future threat light armored vehicles; (4) land mobility equal to or greater than the M1A1 tank; (5) effective command and control with subordinate, adjacent, and higher units; and (6) NBC protection for both the crew and embarked personnel. The Marine Corps AAAV Technology Center, located in Woodbridge, Va. has successfully developed, built, and tested various new integrated systems for incorporation into the AAAV. Development will continue into full rate production leading to the initial operational capability (the first complete AAAV company) for the Fleet Marine Forces in fiscal year 2006. The 1,013 AAAVs will continue to be fielded to Marine units as production rates allow through the years 2007-2016. AAAV production will conclude with Full Operational Capability in 2016.
Wednesday, January 10, 2001
Combat Mission Version 1.1 Released.
Battlefront announced today the release of Combat Mission version 1.1, featuring live Internet play. Battlefront wants everyone to know that if you previously downloaded any of their public betas, you should delete them all. They will not be compatible with the real v1.1. For the complete list what is new to v1.1 and to get the download for PC or Mac click here: Battlefront
GAME Studios---Formerly Known as Mattel Interactive.
Since the purchase of Mattel Interactive by Gores Technologies back in October, a new name to unify the Entertainment Division of The Learning Company was being decided. The division will now be known as GAME Studios, and it will serve both as third-party publisher and internal developer of PC and console-based content.
The GAME Studios division will also continue to market and publish products under the Strategic Simulations Inc. (SSI) brand. "As a result of the sale and corporate restructuring, both industry media and gamers were under the impression that SSI was going away. That definitely isn't true," says Bret Berry, Vice President of Product Development. "Since it was sold to Mindscape, Inc. in 1994, SSI has always existed as a brand within a greater divisional structure, whether it was part of Mindscape, The Learning Company or Mattel, and it will continue to do so."
Berry goes on to add, "There's no doubt that SSI has a great history, and has garnered a great deal of respect within the gaming community. When coming up with a new name and structure for our division, retaining the SSI brand as part of GAME Studios was pretty much a no-brainer."
The 2001 line-up for SSI will be Silent Hunter II (May 2001), Destroyer Command (May 2001), Harpoon4 (July, 2001) and Flanker Attack (July, 2001).
EBWorld.com and Alienware Computers Partner.
Interactive entertainment retailer EBWorld.com, a subsidiary of Electronics Boutique Holdings Corp., and Alienware Computers announced today an exclusive marketing partnership to feature Alienware high-performance computers on EBWorld.com. This agreement will put EBWorld.com game enthusiasts one click away from designing their gaming dream machine.
Navy Names Destroyer To Honor Paul H. Nitze.
Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig has announced the decision to name the 44th ship of the Arleigh Burke class of guided missile destroyers, "Nitze."
DDG 94's name will honor Paul H. Nitze, whose distinguished government career included serving as the 57th secretary of the Navy from 1963 to 1967. During his time as the Navy secretary, he raised the level of attention given to quality of Service issues. His many achievements included establishing the first Personnel Policy Board and retention task force (the Alford Board), and obtaining targeted personnel bonuses. He lengthened commanding officer tours and raised command responsibility pay. Nitze became a strong advocate for officers' advanced education opportunities and worked to enhance greater integration of senior Navy staff by moving the Chief of Naval Operations' office next to his own. He also worked to ease unnecessary burdens on sailors by relaxing in-port duty section requirements and hiring civilian custodial workers.
Born in Amherst, Mass., on Jan. 16, 1907, Nitze graduated "Cum Laude" from Harvard University in 1928. After working in investment banking where he was known as a Wall Street prodigy, he left in 1941 to enter government service. In 1942, he was chief of the Metals and Minerals Branch of the Board of Economic Warfare, until named director, Foreign Procurement and Development Branch of the Foreign Economic Administration in 1943. During the period 1944-1946, Nitze served as director and then as vice chairman of the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey for which President Truman awarded him the Medal of Merit.
For the next several years, he served with the Department of State, beginning in the position of deputy director of the Office of International Trade Policy. In 1949, he was named deputy to the assistant secretary of State for Economic Affairs. In August of that year, he became deputy director of the State Department's policy planning staff, and was appointed director the following year. As director, Nitze was the principal author of a highly influential secret National Security Council document (NSC-68), which provided the strategic outline for increased U.S. expenditures to counter the perceived threat of Soviet armament.
>From 1953 to 1961, Nitze served as president of the Foreign Service Educational Foundation while concurrently serving as associate of the Washington Center of Foreign Policy Reseach, the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University. His publications during this period include "U.S. Foreign Policy: 1945-1955." In 1961 President Kennedy appointed Nitze assistant secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs and in 1963 he became the secretary of the Navy, serving until 1967.
Following his term as secretary of the Navy, he served as deputy secretary of Defense (1967-1969), as a member of the U.S. delegation to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) (1969-1973), and assistant secretary of Defense for International Affairs (1973-1976). Later, fearing Soviet rearmament, he opposed the ratification of SALT II (1979). He was President Reagan's chief negotiator of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces treaty (1981-1984). In 1984, Nitze was named special advisor to the president and secretary of State on Arms Control. For more than forty years, Nitze was one of the chief architects of U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union. President Reagan awarded Nitze the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985 for his contributions to the freedom and security of the United States.
Danzig said, "Paul Nitze, in his many central roles in and out of government, brought strategic intellect and extraordinary courage to bear that helped shape our national security in an era when it was uniquely challenged. As secretary of the Navy, he also demonstrated a respect and care for sailors and Marines that directly improved their quality of service. USS Nitze will reflect Paul Nitze's toughness and care in all that the vessel undertakes for America in the years ahead."
Arleigh Burke class destroyers are equipped to operate with battle groups in high-threat environments and conduct a variety of missions, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, in support of national military strategy. They also provide essential escort capabilities to Navy and Marine Corps amphibious forces, combat logistics ships and convoys.
These multi-mission ships are equipped with the Navy's AEGIS combat weapons system, which combines space-age communication, radar and weapons technologies into a single platform for unlimited flexibility and significant influence while operating "Forward...From the Sea." These destroyers replace older, less capable ships that are being taken out of service as the Navy reduces spending while maintaining quality as part of its overall plan to recapitalize the fleet.
DDG 94 will be built by Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, and will join the fleet in 2004. The ship is capable of firing surface-to-air missiles and Tomahawk cruise missiles from forward and aft vertical launching systems and is configured with port and starboard torpedo tubes, one five-inch gun; and advanced electronic warfare systems. This will be the 16th Flight IIA Arleigh Burke class destroyer to employ an embarked helicopter detachment capable of supporting dual SH-60 helicopters. Additional information about this class of ship is available on line at Navy Facts: Destroyers
ESC delivers ninth Joint STARS.
The Electronic Systems Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass, delivered the ninth E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System production aircraft, better known as Joint STARS, to the 93rd Air Control Wing at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., recently.
Joint STARS is the world's most advanced airborne surveillance and target acquisition system. Joint STARS provides near real-time, accurate information on surface targets and slow moving aircraft to air, land and naval forces. As proven battle management force multiplier, it assures U.S. and coalition forces preserve peace, control crises and win wars. A cooperative effort among prime contractor Northrop Grumman, the joint program office and the wing focused on delivering the aircraft in ready-to-go status. As with the eighth delivery, which came four months ago, a wing team of eight aircraft maintainers traveled to Northrop Grumman's production facility to participate in the preparation and delivery process.
This team joined people from the on-site Defense Contract Management to complete both the government's contractual inspection and a large percentage of the wing's acceptance inspection simultaneously. This joint effort reduced wing maintenance inspections by more than 50 percent upon delivery and allowed the aircraft to be placed into the active flying schedule more quickly. Prior to delivery, the team took time to de-seal and re-seal potential leak areas, providing the wing a more reliable aircraft fuel system and more dependable aircraft availability.
During production, the contractor also incorporated two aircraft avionics upgrades originally scheduled to be completed by the wing after delivery. Improvements to the aircraft's VHF omni-directional radio system and the installation of the ground proximity warning system were performed at the Northrop Grumman facility. Accomplishing these modifications before delivery saved the wing an additional 10 days. "It's a great achievement for the Joint STARS Joint Program Office and the prime contractor to deliver this first class combat capability to the warfighter," Connor said. "It's an achievement made possible by the active participation of the 93rd Air Control Wing and the cooperative efforts of everyone involved. They should all be proud of this fantastic accomplishment." Source: Chuck Paone Electronic System Command Public Affairs.
Army To Launch New Advertising Campaign.
The Army announced today a compelling new advertising campaign, marking its first major change in advertising direction since 1981. Ads unveiled today by Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera will open the innovative campaign, which centers on the message "An Army of One." The multimedia campaign, the result of extensive research, will present a powerful, 21st century appeal, highlighting Army values and unity while relating them to the personal aspirations of today's youth.
"The 'Army of One' campaign focuses on the strength and teamwork of the U.S. Army as a united force of many soldiers, while reinforcing the concept that each individual makes a unique contribution to the Army's success," said Secretary Caldera. "Today's youth want to feel empowered to make a difference individually and as a group." Mr. Caldera added, "This campaign illustrates the personal transformation that occurs when young men and women become soldiers, and develop into leaders. This transformation is a result of the training, expertise and empowerment only the Army can provide."
The new campaign employs a full range of media from television to radio, to direct mail to the Web site Go Army and Internet activities to target youth and those who influence them. The campaign initially will consist of three television spots and ten print ads. The first television commercial airs Jan. 11 on NBC during the hit comedy "Friends," which begins at 8 p.m. (EST). Additional commercials will air on other prime-time television programs over the following weeks.
The new communications campaign will be used throughout the U.S. Army, unifying powerful recruiting messages for the active Army, Army Reserve and Army ROTC.
Tuesday, January 9, 2001
Important News from The Wargamer.
Wargamer.com and PiesTactics.com going offline - but only temporarily. The Wargamer stated this is due to a "steadily worsening relationship with and performance by our current ISP following an acquisition of that company late last year". Wargamer will be moving their servers, but not without noticeable service interruption.
As a result, The Wargamer , Pie's Tactics , and Jane's Hangar , as well as any affiliate sites and sections hosted there, will all go offline at approximately 4 p.m. on Thursday, January 12th (EST) and remain offline for several days. Operations are expected to be on or about Tuesday, January 16th. This interruption of services, unfortunately, will also impact ALL @wargamer.com email addresses, ftp traffice, as well as all general sevices of the site, to include the SSI Scenario Archive, sponsored jointly by The Wargamer and Strategic Simulations, Inc.
Strategy First to Publish Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Battle.
Strategy First Inc. has announced that it has added another great title to its 2001 line-up by signing a North American publishing agreement with Breakaway Games for Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Battle. Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Battle is a real-time strategy game that captures the pomp and pageantry of the Napoleonic era. Based on the award-winning Sid Meier's Gettysburg engine, Waterloo brings back to life Napoleon's most memorable battles of the 19th Century.
With over 25 historical scenarios, the game features unique Orders of Battle, famous troop types, including dragoons, hussars, cuirassiers, as well as the Old and Young guard, and famous landmarks like the Hougoumont complex, La Haye Sainte and Plancenoit Church. The game also features over 60 historically accurate and hand painted uniforms which reflect the grandeur of the period. Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Battle is scheduled for release in Q1 2001 and will be distributed by Infogrames throughout North America.For more info on this title visit: Breakaway Games
Cohen Asks JCS Chairman To Review Cole Report.
Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen today released the report of the USS Cole Commission and asked the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to submit his advice concerning implementation of the report's recommendations and any other additional actions the Department should now take.
The USS Cole Commission report was co-authored by retired Navy Admiral Harold W. Gehman and retired Army General William W. Crouch. Secretary Cohen appointed them as co-commissioners to lead a review of lessons learned from the Oct. 12, 2000, attack on USS Cole in Aden, Yemen. The commissioners were directed to review applicable Department of Defense policies and procedures and address force protection matters, rules of engagement, logistical support, intelligence and counterintelligence efforts and any other matters deemed pertinent by the review panel. The unclassified report is at: Defense Link
Air Force Improving Odds Of Hitting Moving Surface Targets.
The Air Force has awarded two contracts, totaling more than $23.3 million, for research that supports the Affordable Moving Surface Target Engagement II program. The Air Force Research Laboratory's Information Directorate is serving as the agent for the program to investigate and develop technologies to affordably engage moving surface targets such as tanks, tactical ballistic missile transporters and small boats from long ranges and in all weather conditions.
Contracts have been awarded to Northrop Grumman Corp. of Melbourne, Fla., ($12,192,544) and Raytheon Co. of El Segundo, Calif., ($11,169,729). Work on both contracts will be completed by the end of 2001 and will lead to further enhancements of the system architecture next year. The two contractors will develop and integrate technologies for experiments that will be conducted at the Eglin Air Force Base Test Range, Fla., and the Nellis Air Force Base Test Range in Nevada.
The program is primarily focusing on Ground Moving Target Indication radar, a sensor that can detect moving surface vehicles from long distances. Moving ground targets pose a significant challenge to current weapon systems because of the dynamics involved. Idle vehicles can accelerate to speeds of 60 miles per hour in less than 10 seconds, and stop shorter periods of time. While typical military vehicles do not tend to accelerate or stop that fast, they still pose a significant challenge maintaining accurate tracks. Vehicles also tend to mix with other vehicles, travel within groups or convoys, start and stop often, and use terrain to block their detection.
Several initial studies conducted over the past year investigated the feasibility of precision engagement of moving ground targets using advanced sensor systems. The results of these studies concluded that obtaining the high accuracy required for precision fire control is possible; however, the real challenge is maintaining the track of the target during the battle management process. Directorate engineers will use technology in development over the next several years to enhance the capability to strike these moving ground targets with precision accuracy.
US Air Force Keeps F-22 Programme Ticking Over.
The US Air Force has taken steps to ensure that the F-22 programme does not run out of funds while it waits for a decision on the future of the aircraft. It has issued contracts to Lockheed martin and United Technologies to 'bridge' any gap that may occur in funding for advanced procurement in support of low rate initial production (LRIP) of the aircraft.
Authority for LRIP for ten of the latest 'stealth' air superiority fighters was to have been given at a Defence Acquisition Board (DAB) meeting last week, but that was delayed by at least a week and the decision may now not be taken until the incoming Bush administration conducts a complete review of the US' air power requirements, which may take several months.
Lockheed Martin is being awarded a $267,360,660 firm-fixed-price contract to extend through March 2001 the advanced procurement in of ten F-22 aircraft and associated equipment. The company also wins a $36,639,340 modification to a contract to provide programme support through March 2001.
United Technologies is being awarded a $46,000,000 contract modification to provide for extension through March 2001 of advanced procurement in support of low rate initial production of 20 F119 engines in support of the F-22 aircraft.
Raytheon Compact Anti-Jam Navigation System For Rah-66.
Raytheon's UK subsidiary, Raytheon Systems Limited (RSL), has won a pre-production contract to supply 18 PAGAN anti-jam navigation systems for the RAH-66 Comanche helicopter. The contract, awarded by Litton Guidance and Control Systems, is valued at £2.2 million and covers hardware deliveries, programme management and qualification. Large-scale production could commence in mid 2004.
PAGAN is a compact, four channel anti-jamming system that is available for smaller platform types and where mass deployment demands a lower unit price. It has been developed to counteract both deliberate attempts to disrupt GPS signals and naturally occurring interference. It is able to cope with multiple jamming sources from any direction. Typical platforms for PAGAN include land vehicles, helicopters, UAVs and surface ships, as well as smaller fast combat aircraft where weight and space are at a premium.
The system contains the same nulling algorithm as RSL's larger anti-jam GPS antenna system. This means null adaption time and null steering speeds are identical. The CRPA has a square footprint that measures less than 17. 5cm (7 inches) on each side and a profile above the mounting flange less than 1cm (4/10th inch).
This is the first contract for series manufacture of Raytheon's compact version of its anti-jam GPS antenna system. The PAGAN units will be supplied to Litton, provider of the Inertial Navigation System with embedded GPS (INS/GPS) for the RAH-66 Flight Control System during the Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) phase.
Last year the US Department of Defense announced that it had selected PAGAN for Foreign Comparative Testing (FCT) in FY 2000. Under the sponsorship of the US Navy PAGAN is now being evaluated for potential purchase and installation onto military platforms that require robust GPS navigation performance for Day One Strike Warfare capability.
Ian Bainbridge, Director of C3I Systems and General Manager of RSL's Harlow, Essex, facility, commented; "RSL Harlow is a major supplier of GPS antenna systems and these have already been selected by the Air Forces of the US, UK, Australia and other nations. Winning the first contract for installation of PAGAN on a platform marks another milestone for our anti-jam navigation technology".
Boeing JSF X-32b Engine Runs Continue.
Boeing this weekend moved its Joint Strike Fighter X-32B concept demonstrator closer to first flight with completion of a phase of installed engine runs.
As part of the build-up to short-take-off and vertical-landing (STOVL) flight, the Boeing test team conducted flow-switch transitions, redirecting engine thrust from the aircraft's cruise nozzle to the lift nozzles and back again. The Pratt & Whitney F119-614 engine was tested at various power settings to verify system integrity. The range of power settings simulates the representative thrust spectrum experienced in normal flight.
To perform STOVL manoeuvres, the system redirects engine thrust downward through lift nozzles in the airframe. For conventional flight the lift nozzles are closed and thrust flows rearward through the two-dimensional thrust-vectoring cruise nozzle, the same as in the X-32A, to propel the aircraft forward and to supersonic speeds.
In more than 500 trials on the STOVL engine run stand, transition times from conventional to vertical thrust and back again have been accomplished consistently in one to three seconds. "The high-power operation of the X32-B engine confirmed both conventional and STOVL lift nozzle thrust operations," said Frank Statkus, Boeing vice president and JSF general manager. "All propulsion-system components operated as designed and predicted. We're reducing risk daily as we move toward the start of our X-32B flight-test program."
In addition to the engine runs, the Boeing One Team is putting a STOVL qualification engine through a series of durability tests at Pratt & Whitney facilities in West Palm Beach, Fla. The tests will lead to propulsion system certification for STOVL flight.
The X-32B will demonstrate the company's direct-lift approach to the STOVL requirements for the US Marine Corps and the United Kingdom's Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. Initial low-speed taxi tests are expected to take place shortly, followed by a final series of engine runs before first flight.
Summarising the Boeing solution to STOVL, Statkus said, "We're improving, not inventing, and that is the key to our simple, proven direct-lift approach. "Boeing and Lockheed Martin are competing to build the JSF under a four-year concept demonstration phase contract with the US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps and the British Royal Air Force and Navy. A competition winner is scheduled to be selected later this year.
Boeing Gets Ok To Build 11th UHF Follow-On Satellite.
The US Navy has authorised Boeing Satellite Systems Inc. (BSS) to begin production of the 11th in a series of UHF Follow-On (UFO) satellites, which provide global communications for the armed forces.
The agreement amends an existing $1.9 billion contract under which BSS has built and launched 10 UFO satellites. The satellite will be launched in 2003. The Navy began replacing and upgrading its ultra-high frequency (UHF) satellite communications network during the 1990s with a constellation of Boeing 601 spacecraft known as the UHF Follow-On (UFO) series.
In 1999, the Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command granted BSS initial funding for long-lead parts procurement and related activities on UFO F-11. With this authorisation to proceed with F-11's construction, the Navy is moving to sustain the UFO constellation into the latter part of this decade. "Over the life of this highly successful programme, the UHF Follow-On payloads have evolved to meet the customer's changing needs, while being contained within the same basic Boeing 601 platform. This building-block approach allowed us to add valuable enhancements to the satellite payloads without a break in production,'' said Tig H. Krekel, president of Boeing Satellite Systems Inc.
UFO F-11 will use the Boeing 601 bus, like the previous UFO satellites. It will carry a UHF payload for narrowband two-way battlefield connectivity and an EHF payload. The high-capacity EHF subsystem provides enhanced antijam telemetry, command, broadcast and fleet interconnectivity communications, using advanced signal processing techniques.
The most recent UFO satellites, F-8, F-9 and F-10, also carry a high-capacity global broadcast service (GBS) payload, which uses commercial-like direct broadcast satellite technology to provide critical information to US and allied forces. The UFO constellation provides the Department of Defense (DoD) with communication services that range from mobile communications to intelligence dissemination and quality-of-life programming.
TACNAV for Australian Army Light Armoured Vehicles.
KVH Industries has received a $3.2 million contract to supply its TACNAV tactical navigation system to General Motors (GM) Defense for use on the Australian Army's Light Armoured Vehicle (ASLAV) fleet. TACNAV will be incorporated as a retrofit into the existing fleet of Australian ASLAVs as well as be integrated within new production vehicles.
KVH TACNAV systems give every vehicle and every force commander, whether in a command, support, or combat vehicle, 100% availability of position and other tactical data, even if the signals from Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites are disrupted or jammed. In addition to interfacing with the onboard GPS, TACNAV consolidates vehicle location and azimuth, turret angle, and far target location into a single-point interface that can be transmitted via digital Battlefield Management Systems to the force commander and other units in the field.
"This is the first sale for KVH into Australia and reflects the growing acceptance of KVH's TACNAV product family as the tactical navigation system of choice among armoured forces world-wide," remarked Christopher Burnett, KVH's vice president of business development. "KVH has enjoyed a long and positive relationship with General Motors Defense. Working together, we've equipped the GM armoured vehicles used by the US Marine Corps, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and now Australia with TACNAV systems."
KVH's TACNAV product is one of the most widely fielded tactical navigation system in the world. The company's customers include many NATO countries, including the United States, Canada, Sweden, Britain, Spain, and Italy. It is in operational use with US, Canadian, and British armoured forces in Kosovo.
Orbital Continues Suborbital Rocket Support To Us Air Force.
The US Air Force Space and Missile Systems Centre recently awarded Orbital Sciences Corporation a seven-year task order contract to provide target vehicles and related support for the Sounding Rockets Program-2 (SRP-2). Orbital was one of four companies selected for contracts that qualify them to compete for up to $96 million in launch services.
Orbital's Launch Systems Group (LSG), which is responsible for the company's space and suborbital launch vehicle design, production and operations, will carry out the SRP-2 activities at its engineering and manufacturing facility in Chandler, Arizona.
The Air Force's Sounding Rockets Programme supplies target vehicles that are used to test interceptor missiles and are also used by other US Department of Defense agencies for special-purpose missions. The SRP-2 contract is a follow-on to the Air Force's SRP-1 contract under which Orbital competed for and won task orders to provide nine Navy Theatre Wide target vehicles, the Quick Reaction Launch Vehicle-1 and the atmospheric intercept test-1 vehicle.
LSG's suborbital rockets frequently combine US Government-supplied surplus ICBM assets with new commercial boosters to meet military requirements in a cost-effective, low-risk manner. Orbital has successfully conducted 101 of 105 suborbital missions over the last 18 years, achieving a 96% success rate. Orbital's most recent suborbital launch occurred in October, when the company successfully launched a target vehicle to test the Patriot missile defence system.
"This contract places us in a strong competitive position to win additional business in the suborbital arena, especially given our successful efforts under the SRP-1 contract in securing new tasks and executing missions," said Mr. Ronald J. Grabe, Orbital's Executive Vice President and General Manager of its Launch Systems Group.
F-16 Accident Investigation Complete
The Air Force has completed its investigation of the June 16 F-16C Fighting Falcon accident at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. Accident investigation officials found the student pilot inadvertently shut down the engine and was unable to restart it prior to approaching minimum safe ejection altitude. The student pilot ejected safely suffering minor cuts and abrasions. The single-seat F-16 aircraft crashed in an isolated desert area 12 nautical miles southwest of Sells, Ariz., and was destroyed.
The student pilot was the wingman on an air combat maneuvering syllabus-training mission. During aggressive aircraft maneuvering the student pilot unintentionally pulled the throttle into the cutoff position. Despite several air-start attempts, the student was unable to achieve air-start parameters, and ejected at approximately 2,700 feet above ground level.
The accident investigation board found no defects with the aircraft and focused its findings on human factors and cockpit/crew resource management among the mishap student pilot and a flight instructor in an adjacent aircraft. The investigation board was headed by Lt. Col. David Jowers, 80th Operations Group deputy commander, from Sheppard AFB, Texas.
Reservists Airlift Mars Craft To Kennedy Space Center.
A 315th Airlift Wing C-17 Globemaster III aircrew from Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., transported the 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft from Buckley AFB, Colo., to Cape Canaveral at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla., Jan. 4.
The Odyssey spacecraft, costing more than $176 million, is destined for the planet Mars. With a launch date of April 7, the craft will travel more than 400 million miles, said program manager Bob Berry of Lockheed Martin. However, to make the voyage, the spacecraft had to go to Florida for processing and loading on a Delta II rocket. "The Delta II rocket gets the Odyssey spacecraft on its way," said Jack Farmerie Jr., a Lockheed Martin spacecraft technician. "The rocket provides a three-stage operation during which it releases the Odyssey in the final stage." Like a bullet, the Odyssey is shot toward Mars where it spends the next seven months in flight until reaching its final destination, Farmerie said. To do this, the spacecraft travels more than 15,000 mph. Once near the red planet and before starting the Mars orbit insertion, the spacecraft must begin aerobraking.
"Over a period of 76 days, the craft slows down to enter the elliptical orbit," Berry said. "There, the Odyssey will remain while scientists collect information here on Earth about Mars." At 8 feet high, 6 feet wide and weighing 1,650 pounds fully loaded, the Odyssey has the capability of sending data back to Earth in only 15 minutes. The spacecraft also has an onboard brain that can detect any problems or anomalies allowing scientists days or weeks to react to problems.
The total cost of the operation, including the science payload, navigation equipment, operations, etc., is $300 million. Master Sgt. Jack Lewis, 701st Airlift Squadron loadmaster, captured the feeling of the entire crew about being assigned the mission. "Being tasked to fly this mission tells me that we are needed and that we provide a vital role for our nation," Lewis said. "We're here to move equipment and people for the Air Force. I consider it a compliment to have been asked to do such an important mission.
Monday, January 8, 2001
AMD Introduce 850MHz Duron.
AMD today introduced the 850MHz AMD Duron(tm) processor. With today's launch, and with the advent of UMA integrated graphics chipsets, AMD continues to enhance its reputation for delivering ideal solutions to value conscious PC shoppers.
The availability of Unified Memory Architecture, or UMA, integrated graphics chipsets is expected to enable PC manufacturers to provide AMD Duron processor-based systems for the entire range of sub-$1,000 price points. Already, VIA Technologies Inc. has announced its UMA-based KM133 chipset and SiS has announced its UMA-based SiS730s chipset, both supporting the Socket A infrastructure. UMA chipsets include the graphics processing engine on the chipset, removing the need for a stand-alone graphics card in the PC. This integration helps PC manufacturers to reduce graphics costs, allowing them to provide richer configurations in the PC
XBox Unveiled at CES.
At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Microsoft unveiled its highly anticipated Xbox gaming console Saturday, promising three times the graphics performance of its rivals and enough power to create real-time shadows, facial emotions. and images previously only seen in movies. "There's a revolution about to take place in game consoles," said Microsoft chairman Bill Gates , the show's keynote speaker. He said the Xbox, due out in the fall, would liberate game developers from performance constraints they now face in other devices, putting "the power in the hands of the artist."
The Xbox features four ports for game controllers, a DVD tray, and an Ethernet port for Internet access, allowing users to download new versions of software or games. It also has a built-in "rumble" feature that makes the game controller vibrate in a player's hands to simulate the action in a game. Microsoft claims its 64 megabytes of memory, an Intel 733-megahertz processor and an 8-gigabyte hard drive, make it the most powerful of any gaming console.
Rebuilding a Dream - The New Focke Wulf 190.
For the first time since the 1940s, the Luftwaffe's most feared warplane - the Focke Wulf 190 - is being assembled from scratch. Full Story at: BBC Online
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