Daily News
by Gail Helmer

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Thursday January 24, 2002

PC News
Fighter Combat International Field Report
COMBATSIM has published a public access article from Bob "Groucho Marks. In today's extreme sport, thrill-seeking culture, there are numerous companies that offer day-long dogfighting sessions in high performance aircraft. One company, however, Fighter Combat International, stands above the crowd. Their state-of-the-art aircraft rival the performance of many modern fighter jets and all their instructor pilots are former fighter pilots. Join Bob "Groucho" Marks as he shows you what you could be doing on your next day off. Feel free to share this story with all your non-member friends.[More]

New IL-2 Sturmovik Patch Released
The next IL-2 patch version 1.03 is now available. Contents of IL-2 patch 1.03 include:

Bug Fixes

  • 1. Solved centering force problems with some force-feedback joysticks.
  • 2. Fixed stutter issue when playing mission files with large amounts of ground activity.
  • 3. Fixed the issue with custom skins appearing incorrectly when playing dogfight missions.
  • 4. Corrected mistakes in aircraft machine guns rate of fire.

  • 1. Native characters in saved filenames can now be used.
  • 2. Implemented support for the latest version of the UBI Game Service.
  • 3. Modified aircraft AI-controlled turret aiming routines to be less accurate.
  • 4. Added kill messages for multiplayer sessions.
Regarding the stutter issue, this patch should greatly alleviate the problem. However, please be aware that if you attempt to run IL-2 at greater detail levels than your hardware is capable of, you will have performance degradation. In such a case, it is highly recommend lowering your detail levels and sound quality.

Silent Hunter II Project V3.0 Relesed
Naval Warfare Simulations has released Silent Hunter II Project V3.0. The latest version includes a upgraded sound pack and 9 upgraded special effects. V4.0 is now in the works with even more special effects enhancements and possible new specialized U-boat types. We are also working on a WWI U-boat warfare expansion pack with campaign and a new campaign for WWII operations.

Mechwarrior 4 'Mech Paks Slated For 2002
Microsoft today announced that two new MechWarrior™ 4 'Mech Paks will be available in retail locations throughout North America this year. The Paks will expand the gameplay for MechWarrior 4: Vengeance. Each Pak will give players new 'Mechs, a new electronics package, a new weapon, and a multiplayer map. Cyberlore, the team behind the successful MechWarrior 4: Black Knight expansion, is developing the Paks in conjunction with the FASA MechWarrior 4 team. One Pak will contain new Inner Sphere content; the other will build up the Clan arsenal. MechWarrior 4: Inner Sphere ‘Mech Pak will be released this spring and will include:

  • Coliseum Multiplayer Map - 'Mechs duke it out in the arena, entertaining millions.
  • Heavy Gauss Rifle - The HGR hits harder than the standard Gauss Rifle, at the expense of tonnage and range.
  • IFF Jammer - Spread confusion in the enemy's ranks with this new component.
  • 4 new Inner Sphere 'Mechs
MechWarrior 4: Clan ‘Mech Pak will follow shortly thereafter, with more details available as development proceeds.

Independence War 2 Scripting SDK Released
The second software development kit for Independence War 2: Edge Of Chaos is now available for download. Particle Systems’ Pog Scripting SDK allows users to create their own content for Independence War 2 using the game's powerful scripting language. A large portion of the game’s content uses the Pog language, so users will be able to create virtually anything they wish within the limits of the game engine, including missions, campaigns, and even new user-interfaces. The SDK comes with a comprehensive help file containing over 1,200 pages of reference material, and includes the Pog compiler program and sample scripts. The SDK can be downloaded from the Independence War website.

DreamCatcher To Publish SuperPower
DreamCatcher, publisher of PC and console software entertainment, just acquired the North American rights to SuperPower (formerly Defcon) developed by Golem Labs. Set in a real-world scenario that starts January 1,1997 and continues to the present, SuperPower is a vastly complex turn-based PC strategy game that contains the largest military database ever assembled in a strategy game, providing every significant statistic published about the 140 most important countries around the world and more than 4000 different military unit designs. In SuperPower, players can lead nations to ultimate worldwide dominance (or ruin) by directing the country’s political, military, economic and secret service organizations.

SuperPower will feature four primary goals: remain in power, balance national resources, rid the nation of domestic rebels and terrorists, and world domination. Players will have a variety of options to choose from in order to reach their goals, and the game features an adjustable time limit that lets players choose a game that lasts one, five, or 10 years of game time, or they can choose to play an unlimited game. The game ends when the player has accomplished his or her chosen goal, reached the time limit, or is overthrown or assassinated. SuperPower will be released in the Spring of 2002.

Military News
New Lockheed Martin Contract Will Upgrade European F-16s
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company was awarded a contract on Jan. 18 for delivery of F-16 modification kits that will significantly upgrade the capability of F-16s used by air forces in several European countries. Total program value, including options, is approximately $142 million.

The contract is for delivery of 306 modification kits, an option for 39 additional kits, plus spares, support equipment and technical manual changes. These kits will be used to upgrade F-16s previously modified with the F-16A/B Mid-Life Update (MLU), and operated by the air forces of Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway. Portugal is planning to incorporate this modification on its F-16s as well, but under a separate contract at a later date.

"The European Air Forces continue to enjoy the economies of scale and interoperability of our F-16s," said Lt. Gen. Dick L. Berlijn, Commander of the Royal Netherlands Air Force. "MLU combined with this new upgrade will keep our F-16s on the leading edge of fighter capability in the critical areas of cockpit, avionics, sensors and weapons."

Provisions for this new upgrade, called "M3", were included in the original F-16 MLU modification, and the upgrade gets its name from the nomenclature of the software portion of the change. New systems/capabilities include:

  • Link 16 -- secure, jam-resistant, high-volume, NATO-standard data communications that significantly increase pilot situation awareness
  • Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System - new U.S. helmet display for improved situation awareness and employment of high-off-boresight weapons
  • Upgraded processors and displays -- lower cost, improved supportability
  • U.S. family of new "smart weapons" -- Joint Direct Attack Munition, Joint Stand-Off Weapon, Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser, provide all-weather, precision attack from standoff distances.
There are also enhancements to existing systems including the multimode radar, electronic warfare management system and reconnaissance pods.

The MLU program shares a common avionics architecture and has extensive hardware and software commonality with the U.S. Air Force's Common Configuration Implementation Program, a major cockpit and avionics upgrade to about 650 Block 40/50 F-16C/Ds.

"The modularity of the F-16 avionics architecture and common systems are facilitating very cost-effective upgrades to the F-16," said John L. Bean, vice president of F-16 Programs. "These upgrades can also be made available to other F-16 users at very attractive prices since most of the development work has already been accomplished and the economies of scale that will occur in recurring kit procurement."

Austria Offered Up To 30 New Gripen Fighters
Gripen International, a company equally owned by Saab of Sweden and BAE SYSTEMS of the UK, has submitted its response to the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the replacement of the Saab Draken interceptor fleet to meet Austria's air defence needs for the next 30 years. The company's proposal is based on the supply of up to 30 new Gripen fighters.

"Gripen is the world's most capable and cost effective combat aircraft in operation today, and together with our long-term programme of industrial co-operation and offset, we are confident that our offer is the best solution for Austria, the Austrian Air Force and the Austrian industry", said Roger Lantz, Gripen Director in Austria.

The Gripen offer includes two possible solutions to the Austrian Air Force requirement:

  • The first solution is based on the supply of 24 new single-seat and six optional dual-seat Gripen fighters, and an associated interim solution of 12 leased Gripen fighters.
  • A second, alternative solution proposes an early delivery of 24 new single-seat and four dual-seat Gripen fighters. This solution avoids the need for an interim leasing period.
Gripen International says each solution builds on the last 40-years of Austro-Swedish military co-operation to meet the needs for a smooth transition from the Saab Draken, and both provide continuous air policing during the transition phase.

Gripen says it can deliver the first squadron (either lease or new aircraft) in 2005, before the retirement of Draken.

Already in service with the Swedish Air Force, which has ordered 204 aircraft (including 28 dual-seaters), Gripen has also been ordered by the South African Air Force (28 aircraft) and Hungary has signed an agreement with the Swedish government for the lease of 14 Gripen fighters. Gripen has also recently been selected to meet the national, NATO and European defence needs of the Czech Republic, which has a requirement for 24 fighters. Gripen International has begun negotiations with the Polish government, which is looking to procure up to 60 new fighters and an offer has been submitted to the Brazilian government based on the supply of 24 new Gripen.

Other contenders are the Eurofighter Typhoon Lockheed Martin f-16, and Dassault's Mirage 2000. The Austrian defence ministry plans to make a decision on the replacement in the first half of 2002.

Airbus Begins Production On Superjumbo
The A380, Airbus's wide-bodied superjumbo, has gone under production in Nantes. The first flight is planned for 2004, and the aircraft is scheduled to go into service in 2006.

The European consortium revealed that the traditional "first metal cut" was accompanied by the production of the first carbon fibre component for the centre wing box. Airbus hopes that the £173 million, 555 seat aircraft, will replace the 747 as the dominant plane for commercial airlines.

Sales of the prestige jet, which has two wide-bodied decks, will go a long way to determining whether Airbus's confidence that passenger sales and the market for big airliners are set to grow through 2010 and beyond, is well placed.

As things stand, Airbus has received 97 firm orders for the A380 from Air France, International Lease Finance Corporation, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Virgin, Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airlines, and Federal Express.

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