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by Gail Helmer

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Tuesday January 29, 2002

PC News
New IL-2 Sturmovik Demo
A new IL-2 Sturmovik demo was released last week. This version updates the previous pre-release demo version, and adds many of the new textures, graphics, and game play fixes that can be found on the live game. The size of the demo has grown an impressive 50Mb since the last version, and supports many new 3d accelerator cards. This version is also playable on ubi.com. Download

SuperPAK2 Released
The Falcon 4 Unified Team has released their newest Falcon 4 addon, SuperPAK2. [More...]

Team Super Hornet Releases New Missions
Team SuperHornet has released a new mission add-on for Jane's F/A-18 Super Hornet. [More...]

Star Trek: Armada II Patch v1.1
Mad Doc Software has released a new patch for Star Trek: Armada II, version 1.1. This release brings several gameplay and interface enhancements, a number of multiplayer improvements, bug fixes and more, all listed in detail in the Readme file. Download - Read Me

Starfleet Command: Orion Pirates Patches v2.5.2.5
Taldren has released new patches for Starfleet Command: Orion Pirates, upgrading their space strategy expansion pack to version You can update from the previous v2.5.0.1i or the original game, and this release brings a massive number of improvements, bug fixes and other changes, all listed in the included Readme file. Download - Read Me

Military News
Lockheed Martin F-16 CCIP Modification Details
Close co-operation between Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company and the US Air Force enabled the Ogden Air Logistics Centre (ALC) to complete modification of the first US Air Force aircraft in the F-16 Common Configuration Implementation Programme (CCIP) ahead of schedule.

The F-16 CCIP, valued at over $1 billion, will enhance the cockpit and avionics of about 650 Block 40/50 F-16s in the USAF inventory. The modification will provide hardware and software commonality to the USAF Block 40/50 fleet, thus improving logistics support and reducing costs of future upgrades. In addition, the modification provides a high degree of commonality with F-16A/Bs being upgraded by five European NATO countries and with advanced Block 50/52 versions currently being developed for several other countries.

CCIP development began in June 1998. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, the prime contractor for CCIP, delivered the first production retrofit kits early, in June 2001. Currently, 15 F-16s are undergoing the CCIP mod at Ogden, and 31 kits have been delivered.

Recently, the USAF issued a $85 million contract modification authorising the Fiscal Year 2002 CCIP kit buys. The first of these kits will be delivered late this year.

CCIP modification of aircraft is being implemented in phases. The first phase involves only new core computers and colour cockpit modifications to some Block 50/52 aircraft. In September 2002, Block 50/52 aircraft will begin receiving the advanced interrogator/transponder and will be able to employ the Lockheed Martin Sniper XR advanced FLIR targeting pod.

The next phase, starting in July 2003, adds the NATO-standard Link 16 data link, the Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System and an electronic horizontal situation indictor. The Block 50/52 aircraft receiving the modifications in the earlier phases will go back through the depot mod line at Ogden to receive the additional changes. The Block 40/42 versions will receive the entire modification all at one time, beginning in 2005.

Tornados Flown To Falklands Inside C-17s
The RAF's new heavy airlifter, the C-17, has proved so capable that it has been able to carry Tornado F3 fighters all the way to the Falklands, with significant savings on cost.

A flight of Tornado F3 aircraft are based in the Falklands at RAF Mount Pleasant. The aircraft are regularly rotated back to the UK for major overhauls, and until now the transfer of the fighters has required a very long range ferry flight with extensive air-to-air refuelling from RAF tanker aircraft plus support from transport and maritime patrol aircraft.

However, it has proved possible to fit a Tornado, with its tail and wings removed, inside the vast hold of the C-17s operated by 99 Squadron. The C-17 is then able to fly the entire Tornado all the way to the Falklands via a refuelling stop at Ascension Island.

Lockheed Martin's Predator LAW Enters LRIP
Lockheed Martin has signed a $39 million contract with the US Marine Corps to put the shoulder-fired, short-range Predator anti-armour missile into Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP). The contract makes the Predator the first fire-and-forget short-range anti-tank missile to enter production.

Predator is a portable, point-and-shoot system designed to defeat advanced armour targets at ranges from 17 to 600 metres. The complete system weighs less than 22 pounds and uses a fly-over, shootdown trajectory to attack tanks at their most vulnerable point.

"This contract offers a mature baseline and enhances the opportunity for a joint program with the British government to satisfy its Next Generation Lightweight Anti-armour Weapon (NLAW) requirement, thereby establishing joint interoperability," said Ron Woodard, Lockheed Martin programme director. Kestrel, the UK version of Predator, which includes a direct-fire option, is being presented to the UK Ministry of Defence as a solution to the NLAW requirement.

Mike Woodson, US Marine Corps Project Officer, said the Predator would "satisfy a long-standing Marine Corps requirement to provide the individual Marine warfighter with a lightweight, simple to operate antitank weapon which is accurate and highly lethal against all main battle tanks and other armoured vehicles existing in the world."

"Predator can be fired safely from inside an enclosure, which is critical in close combat situations and urban warfare. The missile's inertial guidance system also provides 'fire-and-forget' capability, which protects the Marine by minimising his exposure to enemy counter-fire," said Woodson.

Predator successfully completed flight tests, verifying the implementation of hardware and software changes to improve both reliability and robustness, in September. These tests bring the total number of flights to more than 200 during the weapon development. This contract paves the way for a production line first article testing, qualification of both sub-assemblies and weapons, and delivery of 330 Predator short-range assault weapons.

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