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by Gail Helmer

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Thursday November 29, 2001

PC News
IL-2 Sturmovik Flies In Europe
Today is the long awaited release date for IL-2 Sturmovik in Europe. Ubi Soft has announced that IL-2 should be available today in the U.K., France, and Germany, with reports that copies of the game have been picked up as far as Italy, and even Australia.

Operation Flashpoint Gold Released
Codemasters has released the Gold Edition and Gold upgrade of Operation Flashpoint. For gamers who are already own the original game, The Operation Flashpoint Gold Upgrade pack contains everything the avid Flashpoint fan needs. The Gold Upgrade contains Upgrades 1 - 3, with all the additional vehicles, weapons and missions. Plus Red Hammer: The Soviet Campaign - 20 new missions fighting as Dmitri Lukin, ex-Spetsnaz operative, in this sister storyline to Cold War Crisis. Plus a 64-page professionally produced Operation Flashpoint Prima Strategy Guide. Available to buy now as a boxed product for £9.99. (Download product - coming soon). For more information click here.

Shrapnel Games Hits Beta Quota
Shrapnel Games announced today that the beta test registration has officially closed for All American: The 82nd Airborne at Normandy. Those selected will be notified by e-mail on December 5th. Tim Brooks, President of Shrapnel Games, said, "We have received over 1000 applications for beta testers for All American. We are going to assemble a diverse team of 10 ­ 15 testers from varying age groups. can make All American the best product it can be."All American follows the 82nd airborne through their first three days in Normandy. Experience the D-Day Paradrops, the experience of being lost and off course, and the confusion of having your stick scattered in the night. Release Date: Q2, 2002.

Codemasters To Develop Historic World War II Strategy Title
Codemasters has secured the worldwide publishing rights to The Bitmap Brothers' new real-time action strategy game development project entitled World War II: D-Day to Berlin (working title).

Scheduled as a priority PC title for Q3 2002, World War II: D-Day to Berlin is set to capture the heroism of World War II's most significant battles. As Commander of the Allied Forces, the game will see players attempting to drive the Axis forces deep back inside their own territory.

Says Gary Rowe, Head of Business Development at Codemasters: "Recent successes in mass entertainment fields, including film and television drama, prove that World War II continues to be an evergreen source of fascination and embraces an audience across many generations. The Bitmap Brothers' skills for creating absorbing, engaging and often astonishing gaming classics is a vital part of bringing World War II: D-Day to Berlin's scenarios alive on the screens of a far-reaching PC audience."

SciFi Sim Homeplanet Unveiled
Moscow-based game developer Revolt Games has unveiled its upcoming space simulation, Homeplanet. The sci-fi game focuses on territorial wars between competing clans. It lets players control up to six different ships at a time, and it includes spaceflight simulation and strategic elements. The game engine supports battles between dozens of ships at one time. Battles can take place both in deep space and in the midst of planets.

Homeplanet features more than 20 missions linked in a nonlinear single-player campaign, as well as a mission editor that lets players create their own scenarios, ships, and weapons. The game includes more than 60 types of spacecraft that can be customized with different types of weapons.

No publisher or release date for the game has been announced. Click here for screens.

Military News
Boeing C-17 Globemaster III Claims 13 World Records
The Boeing­U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III set 13 world records during flight testing at Edwards Air Force Base Tuesday, including resetting two of the 22 world records that it claimed during initial flight testing in 1992-994.

The records set Tuesday will be forwarded to the National Aeronautic Association for certification. When the newest records are confirmed, the C-17 will have set 33 world records in various categories.

The C-17 used for the record flight, P-71, was the first C-17 with the extended range fuel containment system. Eleven of the records were for maximum altitude with various payloads as the C-17 carried payloads up to 40,000 kg (88,200 pounds) to an altitude in excess of 43,800 feet. The other records were for maximum altitude in horizontal flight without a payload, and greatest payload to a height of 2,000 meters.

The previous 22 world records included payload-to-altitude and time-to-climb in additional categories, as well as greatest payload to a height of 2,000 meters in the short-takeoff-and-landing (under 500 meters) category.

The new records were set with assistance from the U.S. Air Force C-17 System Program Office at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio; the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and the 412th Test Wing there. The C-17 used for the record flight was already at Edwards for various other flight tests.

The U.S. Air Force has taken delivery of 77 C-17s of the 120 on order. The C-17 fleet has amassed more than 300,000 flight hours since first flight in 1991. The United Kingdom Royal Air Force also operates four C-17s.

Oregon Guard Quietly Flying Northwest Patrols
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Flying the F-15 Eagle has not turned out to be exactly what "Tupac" expected, but the 27-year-old pilot is not complaining. Last December, he finished upgrade training in the F-15, the jet of his dreams. Then he joined the Oregon Air National Guard's 142nd Fighter Wing in this city, located at the point where the Willamette and Columbia rivers meet.

As the wing's newest and youngest pilot, he thought he would go through a gradual training process. One that, in time, would give him the "seasoning" he would need to end his rookie status. That was the case until the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Since then, he and the pilots of the wing's 123rd Fighter Squadron have also flown homeland defense missions. They fly combat air patrols to help keep secure the big cities and airports from California to Canada.

"That sure has accelerated my learning curve," said Tupac, of Ashland, Ore. The former enlisted munitions troop-turned pilot has flown 10 combat air patrols. Flying "CAP" missions feels strange, he said, but they also give him a sense of pride.

"I wanted to fly jets close to home," Tupac said. "But I never thought I'd be flying missions to protect my own state -- my own country. Still, it feels good to know we're the '911' for the northwest."

Combat air patrols can be long and boring, Tupac said, but pilots stay alert. They know what is at stake, he said. So they are ready to identify, challenge, divert, escort, force to land or -- as a last resort -- shoot down any aircraft that does not follow Federal Aviation Administration rules.

Guard, Reserve and some active-duty units are flying the same kind of mission nationwide. But while units protecting the skies over big East Coast cities grab the headlines, Oregon's airmen have done the same over the Pacific Northwest with little or no fanfare.

No matter, said Master Sgt. Ken Argo, an F-15 crew chief. Though the unit might be a study in understatement, it always gets the job done, he said. "We put all we have into what we do," he said. "It's a matter of pride."

But then, air defense is nothing new to the "Redhawk" squadron. That has been its mission since World War II. And from their home at Portland Air National Guard Base, airmen can see why that mission has gained a new importance. The base shares the runway with Portland International Airport.

It is a sober reminder the unit has not deployed to a far-off area of operation to ply its trade, said Col. Bradley Applegate, the wing vice commander.

The unit's focus has changed, he said. Instead of just being on the lookout for threats that may come from outside the U.S. border, pilots now must also focus on threats that originate within the nation's borders.

But the Oregon airmen, he said, "have adapted well to their new mission. They stood up to their new role without any hesitation."

It is no wonder. As an air defense F-15 squadron, the unit's focus is on defensive and counter-air tactics against other aircraft. So flying combat air patrols is nothing new.

"We've trained every day for years to do this mission anywhere in the world," Applegate said. "So we're fully prepared to do it at home."

After standing alert and flying combat air patrols, Tupac said he and his fellow pilots are ready to do their duty. He hopes that is just to provide a visible presence, a deterrence -- to let the bad guys know "we're watching, available."

Tupac stretched out in one of the huge recliners in the unit's alert "barn." He was on another 48-hour alert and was getting some rest. He watched a sports news show on a big-screen television, in his flight suit. Through the huge window behind the television, he could see commercial airliners landing and taking off.

The young pilot said he had never fired a live missile. His only shots have been in a simulator, so he hopes his first shot will not be at a civilian airliner.

That possibility gnaws at him, he said, and all the unit's pilots. Tupac said he will be hesitant to shoot at an airliner, but only while he goes through the authentication process. Once he is sure of the order, he will not hesitate to shoot, he said. "I just pray I'll never be in that situation," he said. (Source: Air Force Print News)

Rosoboronexport Looking For Growth Prospects
Andrey Beliyaninov, the chief executive of Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport has expressed his hopes for the next phase of the company's development as it celebrates its one-year anniversary. Rosoboronexport was established on November 4, 2000, when Russian President Vladimir Putin decreed the consolidation of state exporters Rosvooruzheniye and Promexport to avoid unnecessary competition.

In an interview with Russia's leading business daily Vedomosti, Beliyaninov, summing up the annual results, said "Rosoboronexport's principal goal is to become an investment agency for Russia's military industry and a stakeholder in the military industrial holdings underway now, rather than being a mere arms sales intermediary. The company's first phase, formation, is obviously over, with the company having a detailed balance sheet, a revenue plan and well-planned spending. Now that we have seen where to grow, we have developed a four-year strategic plan."

In the second phase Rosoboronexport will be acquiring stakes in military equipment manufacturers to become a "well-balanced company." Beliyaninov affirmed that Rosoboronexport is interested in a single state policy towards the military industry's assets held with commercial banks. In particular, the company expressed concern over a 25% stake in the Sukhoi design bureau, 14% in the Ulan-Ude aviation plant and 25% in the Baltic shipyard owned by the now-defunct Inkombank. "We do not plan to expand globally, but we do care who handles military industry assets. An intermediary lacking a production base is subject to various market ups and downs. Its survival chances can be pretty bad," he said.

Pursuing a strategy of production-cum-sales, Rosoboronexport is expected to participate in state export-oriented military manufacturers' holdings, which are in the pipeline now, a process Belyaninov described as being "very important for the company." Commenting on President Putin's decree setting up the Sukhoi Aviation Holding Company, Beliyaninov said that new arms holdings, including Sukhoi, would not be allowed to independently market their weapons.

"The state must control the supplies of finished products, while the Sukhoi Holding, for instance, could be furnished with the right to provide after-sales servicing and supply parts. It is a state intermediary's job to supply end-products," he pointed out.

"To achieve such comprehensive co-ordination is a very challenging task and we are doing our best to ensure stable development of the industry. We do not need revolutions now," Beliyaninov said. "After all, the state is interested in the inflow of foreign cash into Russia to lift domestic industrial output, and by developing our large military industry, which is very much export oriented, we will improve the living standards of many Russian regions."

Rosoboronexport's revenues have totalled US $3.6 billion so far this year and the company is stepping up its investment in the industry. "You need money to raise output and we increase advance payments to the industry," he said. There is a problem, however, with letters of credit. "Many letters of credit negotiated abroad simply do not work and our goal is to move such transactions to Russia, to those domestic banks enjoying international acclaim".

Beliyaninov denied allegations that Russia lacks resources to invest in the military industry. "There is enough free cash flow in the country to invest in the sector, but the point is that only co-ordinated and planned investment could result in economic growth," he said. Furthermore, Rosobornexport should benefit from the national armament upgrade programme, which the Russian government will soon pass, allocating funds out of the federal and regional budgets. Additionally, Russia's Industry, Science and Technology Ministry has earmarked resources to finance a priority R&D program, with an option of drawing loans from banks exposed to excessive liquidity risks.

In conclusion, Beliyaninov pointed to the foreign investment option to finance the industry's development projects. "The banks we are currently co-operating with, such as Vnesheconombank and Vneshtorgbank, are respectable enough to tap international capital markets for relatively inexpensive loans for our programmes," he said.

USAF Successfully Tests Boeing AGM-86D CALCM
ST. LOUIS, Nov. 29, 2001 – The U.S. Air Force recently flight-tested the new AGM-86D Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missile (CALCM) at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The missile was launched from a U.S. Air Force B-52 bomber and flew a pre-planned flight path to its target — a hardened, buried target complex, which the warhead penetrated prior to detonation. Boeing is under contract to convert Air Launched Cruise Missiles (ALCM) to a CALCM variant designated as AGM-86D.

"The AGM-86D will be able to destroy buried or reinforced targets from standoff ranges of hundreds of miles," said Carl Avila, Boeing ALCM/CALCM program manager. "While the penetrating warhead provides the warfighter with a critical new tool, the key enabling technology is the precision accuracy upgrade — first fielded in the Block 1A configuration — that puts the CALCM within meters of the target."

The AGM-86D uses an advanced unitary penetrating warhead and precision accuracy guidance to hold a portion of the hard and deeply buried target set at risk. Previous conversions have been for the AGM-86C CALCM, which has a 3,000 pound-class blast fragmentation warhead.

CALCM has become the Air Force's long-range standoff weapon of choice, principally because of its unparalleled ability to deliver very large warheads with exceptional accuracy over distances in excess of 600 miles.

The conversion process includes a total disassembly of the ALCMs — some of which have been in storage for several years — refurbishment or replacement of nearly every part, overhaul of the engine and other hardware, structural modification of the airframe, then reassembly with modified avionics and a new conventional warhead.

CALCM is the only air-launched, conventionally armed, long-range standoff missile deployed in the Air Force inventory today. Coupled with long-range bombers and air-refueling aircraft, the CALCM missile provides the Air Force a highly responsive capability to launch very accurate conventional attacks against targets located nearly anywhere in the world, without the support of bases located outside the continental United States.

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