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by Gail Helmer

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Tuesday November 20, 2001

PC News
Falcon 4.0 UT Announces SP1a
The Falcon 4.0 Unified Team has announced that SP1a will be released within the next 72 hours.

This release will address the following bugs:

  • The Voodoo3 hard lock.
  • ATO mission generation (F-16's tasked as tankers, etc...)
  • CTD when AIM-120 goes Pitbull
  • Activate full airbase relocation (when turned on).
The final version of the SP1 manual will be available at the same time. SP1a will be available as a new installer and as an upgrade from SP1.

COMBATSIM IL-2 and Silent Hunter 2 Contests
Just in case you missed it, COMBATSIM is giving away copies of IL-2 Sturmovik and Silent Hunter 2. These contests are open to U.S and Canada residents, so tell all your friends (subscription not required). Click to enter IL-2 Sturmovik Contest Silent Hunter 2 Contest

IL-2 Sturmovik Ships
Ubi Soft has announced that the much anticipated IL-2 Sturmovik has shipping to retail stores today. Some stores like Electronics Boutique and Gamestop will have IL-2 the on the 21st. Larger stores like CompUSA and BestBuy will probably get their copies sometime this week, or early next week. So you may want to check with your local software store to get a firm date on when they will receive their copies of IL-2. The Thanksgiving Holiday on Thursday will probably also add an extra day of delay time.

Medal Of Honor Video Part 4
EA has released the newest video from Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. This Part 4 of the five part series on Mission 5 Level 3 shows the attack on Brittany. Click here

Fighting Steel Project V5.0
FSP V5.0 is now posted and includes many new enhancements and 7 new ship classes with 8 new custom 3d ship models. Make sure to download the FSP V5.0 Manual for installation instructions and information concerning this latest update.

82nd Airborne at Normandy Beta Testers Wanted
Shrapnel Games announced today that they recruiting beta testers for All American: The 82nd Airborne at Normandy for battle in early January 2002. All prospective recruits should report immediately to the Beta Test HQ for mission details. All American: The 82nd Airborne at Normandy is the long anticipated sequel to the multi-award winning wargame 101: The Airbone Invasion of Normandy.

Return to Castle Wolfenstein Ships
Activision's latest first-person shooter, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, has shipped and will arrive in stores this week. The game is set in Germany during World War II, and it lets players assume the role of B. J. Blaskowitz, an Allied special forces agent sent behind enemy lines to investigate Nazi experiments into the supernatural. The multiplayer mode features team-based combat with four player classes and a variety of maps.

Military News
Raytheon's Tactical Control System Tested On Shadow 600 UAV
Raytheon recently conducted the first launch and recovery of a Shadow 600 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) using the Tactical Control System (TCS).

The TCS demonstrated Level V flight control of a Shadow 600 UAV for more than 45 minutes during two days of flight-testing at Ft. Huachuca in Arizona. During separate tests, TCS also successfully demonstrated Level IV control of a Shadow 600 and Level II interface with several Shadow 200 UAVs that were operating at the airfield.

"The interface and control of the Shadow 600 that were demonstrated at Fort Hauchuca, as well as the interface with Shadow 200, build on the previously demonstrated ability of TCS to control Predator. It further reinforces the operational utility of TCS as a common control system for diverse unmanned aerial vehicles," said Dick Radawicz, Raytheon's TCS programme manager.

There are five levels of TCS functionality. Levels I and II enable the receipt of imagery. Levels III and IV provide command and control of the air vehicle and payload and imagery management. Level V provides complete command and control, payload control, imagery management and the ability to take off and land.

TCS is currently being developed as a single software product for the ground control architecture of Department of Defense UAV programmes, under the direction of the Programme Executive Office, Strike Weapons and Unmanned Aviation (PEO (W)). The TCS programme was formally established in September 1997.

TCS will provide command and control for most Army, Navy and Air Force tactical and medium endurance UAVs and their sensor payloads from a single ground station. It will also disseminate sensor and surveillance data to other command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) systems.

The system is transportable and can be configured to operate on land or at sea. In the future, TCS is expected to support the Predator, Fire Scout and Shadow UAV platforms.

AAI Corporation, a subsidiary of United Industrial Corporation, builds the Shadow family of unmanned air vehicles.

European Governments, Industry To Co-Operate On Future Combat Air Systems
In an announcement firmly backed by industry giants BAE Systems and Saab, Defence Ministers from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom have signed a declaration on European future combat air systems. The document confirms the intention of these European nations to launch a joint technology programme with European industry that is to sustain and develop European capabilities for combat air systems over the next two decades.

The programme will be known as the European Technology Acquisition Programme (ETAP) and will begin immediately. A joint study between the participating nations, due to report in summer 2002, will give an initial assessment of the expected military capabilities for the nations' armed forces up to 2020. It will also identify the systems and technologies that might deliver those capabilities and those which would benefit most from joint development.

"The capability to strike effectively and precisely over long distances at different sorts of targets is a vital defence need, as the current operation against international terrorism shows. Everyone recognises that European co-operation in the development and demonstration of advanced technologies is likely to reduce the risk and cost of future procurements," said UK Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon. "For the UK, the ETAP programme will strengthen the work we have done with France over the past few years. We have a particular interest in work on uninhabited air vehicles, command and control systems and targeting technology, and in ensuring that new systems are affordable throughout their in-service life."

The declaration was signed in Brussels as a precursor to the European Union Defence Minister's Capabilities Improvement Conference, and builds on previous agreements by the nations that Europe needs an efficient and globally competitive aerospace and defence electronics industry. In their declaration, Ministers called on European industry to continue to invest in this work alongside government, with co-operative solutions to make the best use of taxpayers' money.

Both Saab and BAE Systems, who represent the industry side of the equation, along with the other major European Aerospace Companies, were quick to express their support for the declaration. For these companies ETAP, represents projects in a number of high priority areas.

Programmes on stealthy platforms, C4ISR integrated systems networking via data link, propulsion systems, and the command and control of uninhabited air vehicles, are expected to be initiated straight away. The risk-reduction technology programme set up under ETAP, which will result from the Intergovernmental study, will include Technology Demonstration Projects (TDPs), concept demonstrations and Technology Demonstration Vehicles (TDVs) within the key technology areas for combat air systems. They can either be adapted to existing systems or be included in the future joint European system for deployment in the 2020 timeframe. Further projects for any of the participating nations can be adapted to as they emerge.

Options For Enhancing The US Navy's Attack Submarine Force
The US Government Accounting Office has been looking at the US Navy's options for the enhancing its attack submarine force in the coming decades. A summary of its report follows.

Maintaining a capable, appropriately sized submarine force is an integral part of the United States' strategy for deterring, and, if necessary, conducting wartime operations. Since the end of the Cold War, significant changes in the strategic environment have led the Department of Defense (DoD) to reduce the size of its submarine force. The United States has two types of submarines, both of which are nuclear-powered: attack submarines (SSN) and ballistic missile submarines (SSBN).

Attack submarines are part of the conventional forces and have capabilities in several mission areas including intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, undersea warfare, strike warfare, and special operations warfare. Ballistic missile submarines are part of the strategic forces and are capable of launching strategic nuclear weapons upon short notice. The Trident ballistic missile submarine force consists of 18 Ohio-class (SSBN-726) submarines. DoD has determined that it only needs 14 Trident SSBNs to meet future requirements for strategic weapons and developed plans in the 1990s to retire 4 of its 18 Trident SSBNs during fiscal years 2003-2004.

In the 1990s, DoD decided to retire several attack submarines by 2003 because of lower submarine force structure requirements. Most of the DoD's current force of 55 nuclear-powered attack submarines are part of the Los Angeles-class (SSN-688). The DoD's plan would have reduced attack submarine force levels to about 50. However, in 1999, a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff study concluded that a force structure below 55 attack submarines in 2015 and 62 attack submarines in 2025 would leave regional military commanders-in-chief with insufficient capability to respond to urgent critical demands. To avoid the force falling below 55, with scheduled retirements, DoD began considering options to increase attack submarine force levels. Specifically, DoD evaluated and estimated the cost of (1) refuelling SSN-688 class submarines and (2) refuelling and converting four Trident submarines scheduled for inactivation in fiscal years 2003- 2004. The Trident submarines were to be converted to guided missile submarines (known as SSGN) to carry conventional Tomahawk land-attack missiles and special operations forces.

This report summarises and updates our analyses of submarine force options provided in briefings to your staff in June and July 2001. We evaluated options for enhancing the attack submarine force to maintain a minimum of 55 attack submarines through 2035. To address your request, we assessed the following options:

  • Refuelling four SSN-688 attack submarines.
  • Refuelling four SSN-688 attack submarines and, upon reaching the end of their operational life after 10-12 years, replacing them with four new Virginia-class attack submarines (The Virginia-class attack submarine, formerly called the New Attack Submarine, is the Navy's newest class of attack submarines. The scheduled commissioning for the first ship in the class is in 2004.)
  • Refuelling and converting four Trident SSBNs to SSGNs; and
  • Refuelling four SSN-688 attack submarines and converting two Trident SSBNs to SSGNs.
Our objectives were to determine how these options compare in terms of their effects on DoD's ability to maintain at least 55 attack submarines through fiscal year 2035; capabilities to perform peacetime and wartime missions, including their relative contributions to the Navy's strike mission; transformational potential, and operational life-cycle costs 7 and cost-effectiveness.

To assess the options' effects on DoD's projected submarine force structure through fiscal year 2035, we used the Navy's current force structure and long-range shipbuilding plans as a baseline. The documents reflect plans to deliver 18 new Virginia-class attack submarines by fiscal year 2016. Our analysis did not include an assessment of the basis for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff study's conclusion that DoD will require a minimum of 55 attack submarines in the future. Rather, at your request, we focused on assessing options for helping DoD to achieve this level of capability. Because each option provides certain advantages, the weight attached to each advantage is often subjective, and we did not assess the capabilities of other DoD weapon systems, we have not drawn a conclusion about which option is best.

All four options help to reverse a projected decline in attack submarine force levels below the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Attack Submarine Study's minimum requirement of 55, but they vary considerably in terms of the number of years they allow DoD to meet this goal. Refuelling four SSN-688s and replacing them with four additional Virginia-class attack submarines once their service life expires would provide a force level of at least 55 submarines for 32 of the 34 years during fiscal years 2002-2035. Refuelling and converting four Trident SSBNs to SSGNs would provide a force of 55 submarines for 28 years. Refuelling four SSN-688s and converting two Trident SSBNs to SSGNs would provide a force of 55 submarines for 27 years. Finally, refuelling four SSN-688s without plans to replace them with additional Virginia-class submarines would allow DoD to meet its goal of 55 submarines for 24 of 34 years.

Both the refuelled SSN-688s and SSGNs would be capable of performing a variety of peacetime and wartime missions, but they differ in the extent to which they can perform these missions. Refuelled SSN-688s would have somewhat better capabilities than SSGNs to conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; support aircraft carrier battle groups; and perform undersea and surface warfare. However, SSGNs would have significantly better capabilities to strike targets ashore and conduct special operations. An SSGN would provide significantly more presence days (the number of days during a year either type of submarine could spend deployed to overseas theatres. Presence days do not include time in the submarines' homeport or in transit to the overseas theatres.) per year than a refuelled SSN-688- 242 days versus 73 days- because SSGNs would have two crews per submarine. These crews would be rotated during the middle of planned deployments and, on average, would allow the SSGNs to accrue more presence days than a refuelled SSN-688. Finally, SSGNs would also provide a superior capability to support the Navy's transformation plans because their large size and longer service life could support new technologies and weapons and because their stealth capability should help them survive and operate in a high-threat environment.

The operational life-cycle costs and cost-effectiveness of the four options also differ significantly. As table 1 shows, the net present value 9 life-cycle cost of the four options ranges from $1.8 billion for refuelling four SSN-688s to $6.6 billion to refuel four SSN-688s and to replace them with four Virginia-class submarines upon their retirement after 10-12 years.

Converting four Trident ballistic missile submarines to SSGNs is more cost-effective than the other options in providing overseas presence. This option's cost per presence day is $234,000 - the lowest of any option. In contrast, refuelling four SSN-688s and converting two Trident SSBNs to SSGNs would cost $311,000 per day; refuelling four SSN-688s would cost about $555, 000 per presence day; and refuelling four SSN-688s and replacing them with four new Virginia-class submarines would cost $1.1 million per day. Converting four Trident submarines to SSGNs would also provide a significantly more cost-effective capability to launch Tomahawk missiles and provide special operations units than the other options.

The DoD generally agreed with the report but noted that the cost-effectiveness comparison did not account for platform replacement costs in all four options or across the same number of years.

Different periods of analysis had to be used in order to match the differing operational lifespans of the two submarines. Each option provides benefits over different periods thereby making direct comparisons difficult. However, to make the options more comparable, we included an option that buys four Virginia-class submarines to replace refuelled SSN-688 submarines once they reach the end of their useful life. By adding the depreciated acquisition costs and the operating and support costs for the first 10-12 years of the replacement submarines to the costs associated with the refuelled SSN-688s, this option becomes more directly comparable to the costs associated with the 20-22 year life of the SSGN. We did not assess options that would involve replacing SSGNs after 22 years because DoD has not developed any requirements or cost estimates for their replacement.

US Army To Realign, Cut Weapons To Fund Warfighting
The US Army will soon move to realign the Department of the Army headquarters staff and cut a number of weapons systems from the drawing board in order to better support Transformation and the warfighting force, according to the Army's top civilian leader.

Secretary of the Army Thomas E. White made those observations during an Association of the US Army symposium held in Washington Nov. 8-9.

"Being at war is no excuse for not implementing business reform -- we should not assume that we're going to be granted an unlimited budget as a result of 11 September," White said. "The reality is that we're under fiscal constraints as a consequence of the enormous investment our nation is making in recovering from the attacks and pursuing the war against terrorism. Thus, transformation of our business practices cannot wait, and we're going to start at the top."

White, a retired Army brigadier and former chief executive officer of a Fortune 500 company, directed a task force last June to examine all functions of the Army and Secretariat staffs. The goal was to make realignment recommendations that reduce redundancy, maximize the use of technology and incorporate other successful better business practices from the corporate world.

"No successful corporate headquarters in the world today is organised the way we are in Headquarters, Department of the Army," White said when he initiated the staff review last summer. "We currently have two separate staffs, often performing some of the same or similar functions."

The recommendations are now in, but the Army will wait until Senate Armed Services Committee leaders and select budget representatives are briefed before releasing the results. However, White did say that the recommendations will allow the Army to move realigned military manpower slots from HQDA "to the tooth end of our warfighting capabilities" when incorporated.

The Army expects to complete the HQDA realignment by next spring, he said.

Two additional realignments are planned: one for the Army's field operating agencies and another for its major military commands.

The Army will recommend the elimination of a number of weapons systems under development, including the fire-and-forget Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided missile system, in order to fund higher priority programmes, White told reporters during the AUSA symposium. A list of those systems will not be available until it clears the Senate Armed Services Committee, according to Army officials.

"We have made difficult choices to focus the money where we think it needs to be," White said.

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