Daily News
by Gail Helmer

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Thursday December 13, 2001

PC News
New Medal of Honor Video

EA has released the newest Medal of Honor: Allied Assault video. There's no escape for the enemies, even after they've left the tank! Watch for the release of the Medal of Honor multiplayer demo tomorrow.

Shrapnel Games Releases Updated Demos
Shrapnel Games announced today the release of updated demos for Runesword II, Combat Command 2: Desert Rats, and Combat Command 2: Danger Forward. The demo releases incorporate the current code for these games, fixing problems and expanding the operating systems the programs run under. The demos can be downloaded from the Shrapnel Games website.

New Screens: Team Factor
Czech game developer 7FX has released 6 new screens from their upcoming title "Team Factor". The game will feature three different teams: red, which represents the Russian Spetznaz; blue, a combination of US Army Rangers and German Fallschirmjaegers; and black, which represents the rest of the world. Each team has four basic character types with unique abilities. The game will include more than 40 types of realistic weapons, including pistols, rifles, shotguns, grenades, and machine guns. Release Date: Not Available.

Military News
Boeing To Upgrade NATO AWACS Fleet
Boeing has received a $37.6 million contract to enhance the flight deck of NATO's fleet of 17 E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft.

The fleet's flight deck systems will be upgraded to meet near-term European civil air requirements for reduced vertical separation minimum (RVSM). RVSM will allow the E-3s to operate in areas where the air traffic control vertical separation requirements have been reduced to handle increased air traffic.

The aircraft will also be fitted with an Airborne Collision Avoidance System (ACAS). ACAS works with the aircraft's Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) transponder to detect other aircraft within ACAS protected airspace. If an aircraft comes too close, the system sounds an alert and provides a message (climb or descend) to the AWACS flight crew to avoid a collision.

The upgrades are expected to be completed in 2003-2005. As prime contractor, Boeing will be responsible for the engineering design, hardware kit build, system integration, analysis, and certification support. Rockwell Collins will provide the ACAS computer, antenna system, and integrated vertical speed/ACAS cockpit display. EADS will provide an upgraded IFF transponder, Honeywell Corp. will upgrade the air data computers, and Innovative Solutions and Support will provide the RVSM altitude alerter. Installation, checkout, and flight testing will be done by EADS at its facility in Manching, Germany.

"These upgrades will allow the NATO AWACS fleet to continue to fly in civil airspace without restrictions, preserving their ability to fly optimal flight profiles with increased safety,'' said Paul Kiehn, Boeing RVSM/ACAS programme manager.

AWACS is currently integrated into militarised 707 and 767 aircraft, and fills the need for both airborne surveillance and command and control functions for tactical and air defiance forces.

Infrared Countermeasure Tests Help Keep Transport Crews Safe
Experts at the Air Force Electronic Warfare Evaluation Simulator are taking the lead in upcoming testing of laser countermeasures designed to protect large military aircraft.

The test facility, housed at Air Force Plant 4 in Fort Worth, Texas, is part of the 412th Test Wing from Edwards AFB in California. The wing was recently designated the responsible test organisation for the Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasure programme testing on the C-17 Globemaster III and the C-130 Hercules.

Testing will determine the effectiveness of a contractor-built, laser-based system designed to defeat numerous infrared surface-to-air missiles, said Lt. Col. Seth Shepherd, director of AFEWES. The testing, to begin in January, is in response to Air Mobility Command's urgent and compelling need to have the LAIRCM capability added to certain transport aircraft.

The need for such testing can be seen in today's conflict in Afghanistan where man-portable, heat-seeking missiles like the Stinger pose a grave threat to US and allied aircraft, Shepherd said.

"It's the threat that nearly everybody has," he said. "The proliferation of this type of threat is everywhere, which is why this testing is so important for the Air Force."

Heat-seeking missiles guide on the radiated energy created by an aircraft's engines. The LAIRCM system, designed by Northrop-Grumman, will be evaluated on its ability to defeat the missile by preventing it from guiding on an aircraft.

The test team will first install and integrate the LAIRCM system's laser into the flight-motion, table-based simulator contained within the AFEWES ground-test facility. The team uses an infrared signature of a large aircraft to represent the aircraft in-flight.

Next, the LAIRCM laser source energy is optically combined with the aircraft signature to provide the scene the incoming missile would see as it attacks the aircraft. If the system performs as it should, the laser-jamming energy will cause an optical break-lock and force the missile not to guide on the aircraft.

"We look at how well the LAIRCM system performs when it is flown against these simulated threats and ultimately we can determine the capability of the laser to defeat a missile," Shepherd said.

This first phase of the LAICRM testing is expected to last 12 weeks and will be followed by live-fire tests, Shepherd said. Live-fire testing involves a live missile fired at a surrogate target representing a C-17 with the integrated LAIRCM warning, tracking and laser countermeasure system on board.

"As the responsible test organisation, the 412th Test Wing makes the overall test programme happen," Shepherd said. "The AFEWES testing and live-fire evaluation are just the first pieces."

The 418th Flight Test Squadron will oversee integration of the system on the C-17 and C-130 aircraft and conduct performance and handling quality testing in fiscal 2003. After achieving flight certification, the LAIRCM integrated system performance will be demonstrated by flying LAIRCM-equipped aircraft over ground-missile simulators.

LR TRIGAT Completes Firing Trials
LR-TRIGAT (Long Range), the first "Fire-and-Forget" type anti-tank missile system developed in Europe to equip the Tiger helicopter, has completed the last of ten guided firings required for its helicopter qualification trial. Nine successes were recorded out of these ten firings, which were carried out in increasingly difficult scenarios.

These helicopter firings were carried out at the Captieux (South-Western France) firing range, one of the test centres operated by the French procurement agency DGA. Several other of the DGA's test centres have been used for these trials, which were carried out by an integrated team, comprising both industry representatives and DGA staff.

Every LR-TRIGAT subassembly has now been qualified. Qualification of the LR-TRIGAT missile and the helicopter-borne firing post is due to take place during the course of 2002.

The deliveries of the first qualified missiles, including combat-ready missiles, are due to start in the second quarter of 2002. This will allow the operational testing & evaluation (OT&E) campaign of the helicopter-borne LR-TRIGAT system to begin, which is planned for the second half of 2002.

The LR-TRIGAT is a long-range anti-tank weapon system (with a specified effective range from 500 to 5 000 metres, which can be extended up to 7 000 metres). It is integrated on board the Tiger helicopter.

The LR-TRIGAT system comprises a fire control unit equipped with optronic sight and eight LR-TRIGAT missiles per helicopter. Each missile weighs 49 kg and is 1.62 m long. It is equipped with an ultra-high power tandem warhead.

The LR-TRIGAT is the first "Fire and Forget" type (IIR) seeker anti-tank missile (standalone passive homing by IRCCD-based IR imaging) to have been developed in Europe.

The development of the LR-TRIGAT system is led by EMDG, a joint venture combining Matra BAe Dynamics and Aerospatiale Matra Missiles (two of the companies soon to be merged within MBDA, the new European missile systems company which is currently being created) and EADS/LFK in Germany.

B-1B Crewmembers Safe After Crash
The four-man crew of a 28th Air Expeditionary Wing B-1B Lancer who ejected from their out-of-control aircraft in the middle of the night over the Indian Ocean were rescued through the efforts of servicemembers in the air and on the water.

Air Force Capt. William Steele, B-1B mission commander, said his aircraft had multiple malfunctions.

"We found the aircraft was out of control and we had to eject," Steele said in a phone interview from aboard the Navy destroyer USS Russell.

The crew suffered minor injuries in the incident.

"Going through an ejection like that was about the most violent thing I've ever felt," he said. "We're all pretty bruised up, and we have some cuts, but overall we're doing very well."

The crew spent about two hours in the water before being rescued.

"In the water, we didn't see any hazards -- no sharks or anything like that," Steele said. "It was actually kind of comfortable. Nice warm water."

After the bomber crashed, a KC-10 Extender refueler from the 79th Air Refueling Squadron at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., began a search.

"We were taking off on a totally different mission when we heard the aircraft in distress," KC-10 pilot Maj. Brandon Nugent said by phone. "When we heard it had crashed, we went toward the last known location and began to search."

His co-pilot, Capt. Mike Dali, had spent time in the search and rescue field. They located at least some of the crew via their strobe lights and flares.

"It was pretty tense while we were looking," Nugent said. "We were all very happy when we found them."

The KC-10 and a Navy P-3 Orion circled the area and guided the USS Russell toward the crew. The ship was on picket duty for just such instances -- patrolling to rescue any crews that might have to ditch. The destroyer moved toward the area and readied its boats.

"The area the B-1B went down in is a particularly shallow area," said Navy Cmdr. Hank Miranda, the ship's captain. "We had to navigate very carefully. We brought the ship as close as possible to where we thought the crew was. We had to put our boats in the water about seven miles away from the crew."

Navy Lt. Dan Manetzke was the officer in charge of the boat that picked up the crew.

"When we arrived at the scene and picked up the pilots, our first response was to make voice contact with them and make sure they were all right medically," he said. "We were as happy to see them as they were to see us."

Steele said he had to disagree with Manetzke.

"I think we were much happier to see them than they were to see us," he said.

Because of security reasons, Steele could not give the names of the rest of his crew, but their call signs are Rooster, Iroc and Lost. Two of the crew are from Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, and two the other two are from Ellsworth AFB, S.D.

"I just want to thank the crew of the KC-10 and the USS Russell," Steele said. "Everybody did an outstanding job."

Miranda seconded that. "Everything worked like clockwork," he said. "It was a great team effort."

Tora Bora Battle Continues
The Tora Bora cave and tunnel complex south of Jalalabad is the focus of fighting between opposition groups and Al Qaeda foreign fighters, Pentagon officials said Dec. 12.

Marine Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters that U.S. special operations forces are with the opposition forces and are providing combat air support. He showed F-18 and F-14 strikes on Al Qaeda forces in the Jalalabad area. AFRTS Radio Report: Tora Bora last holdout for Al Qaeda, B-1 bomber down in Indian Ocean

Pace said AC-130 gunships have also provided firepower to support opposition groups in the area. "As you know, the AC-130 is a very precise weapon system and they have been effective," Pace said.

He said reports that Al Qaeda forces have been cornered in one mountain in Tora Bora are premature. "I would not characterize it that way," he said. "We still have a long way to go. We have gone into this battle with the intent of eliminating the Al Qaeda leadership and eliminating the Taliban leadership and leaving behind an Afghanistan that is free from terrorists operating in their territory. There's still work to be done."

He said opposition forces are encountering resistance as they attempt to clear the complex. The valley is several miles long and was a redoubt for the mujaheddin during the war with the Soviets. He said he is not aware if U.S. forces are engaging in direct ground combat, "but anytime you have a service member on the ground, even if you think the front line is a mile away or 10 feet away, things can happen to your side and behind you," he said. "It's not inconceivable that they are in direct combat, but I'm not aware they have been."

He said it is possible that some Al Qaeda or Taliban may be able to escape from the Tora Bora area. It is located near the border with Pakistan and is extremely mountainous with many paths. He said fighters in groups of "two or three or 15 to 20" could walk out. Pace said U.S. forces are using sensors and liaison with opposition forces to "capture or kill as many of (the Al Qaeda) as we can."

He also said U.S. forces are in Kandahar providing support. The major Taliban units have surrendered in the area and U.S. forces are in the city. "U.S. forces are with the opposition leaders as they consolidate their control of Kandahar," he said.

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