Daily News
by Gail Helmer

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Wednesday February 27, 2002

PC News
Star Trek: Bridge Commander Ships
Activision and Totally Games have announced that Star Trek: Bridge Commander has shipped to retail stores. In the game, players command a Galaxy-class starship after a massive solar eruption destroys a Federation colony and kills the captain. Featuring more than 25 missions with dialog penned by sci-fi writer D.C. Fontana, Star Trek: Bridge Commander features a campaign set in the Alpha quadrant. Over the course of the single-player campaign, players will encounter classic Star Trek antagonists such as Cardassians, Klingons, Romulans, and Ferengi, and explore many of Star Trekís fundamental elements -- exploration, diplomacy, combat, rescue, and scientific discovery.

Also included are an instant action mode and support for multiplayer combat. Players online can control any ship in the game from the tactical view in four different gameplay modes including Deathmatch, Team deathmatch, Federation vs. non-Federation, and Defend the Starbase with up to four-players over the Internet play or eight-players over a LAN.

Global Operations Complete
Electronic Arts and Crave Entertainment's upcoming team-based shooter, Global Operations, is nearly complete, according to an EA representative. The game has been finalized and is awaiting approval from the publisher's quality assurance team before it is declared gold. Once the game is approved, it will be sent to duplication. It is scheduled to ship to stores in late March.

Bay Area Writer Wanted
COMBATSIM.COM is looking for a new contributor who lives in the San Francisco area and can be available to attend (re: travel to) special game preview functions at a variety of game company locations in the Bay Area. These functions are on an intermittent basis and we'll give you plenty of warning so you can juggle your schedule.

If interested, send an email to Gail. Preference will be given to those individuals with some past game previewing/reviewing experience, but it's not a prerequisite. Enthusiasm and knowledge of combat simulations is, however, a must.

New Matrox Drivers
Matrox has released the following drivers:

New Win 2000 / Win XP driver.
Version: 5.82.018.
Supports all products from original Millennium to G550 including MMS but excluding Hardware Marvel products.
The driver is listed in the latest drivers section, click here.

New Win 9x / Win ME driver.
Version: 6.82.016
Supports all products from G200 to G550 including MMS but excluding Hardware Marvel products.
The driver is listed in the latest drivers section, click here.

New Win NT4 driver.
Version: 5.01.007
Supports all products from Millennium 2 to G550 including MMS but excluding Marvel products (both Software and Hardware).
The driver is listed in the latest drivers section, click here.

MS Announces Combat Flight Simulator 3
Microsoft today announced "Combat Flight Simulator 3", for release this fall. "Combat Flight Simulator 3" features an advanced graphics engine designed to showcase realistic terrain, ground objects and detailed aircraft during high-speed, low-altitude combat missions. "Combat Flight Simulator 3" also updates the "Combat Flight Simulator" franchise with 18 realistically rendered World War II aircraft and character role-playing attributes that change throughout the course of the war campaign.

Set from 1943 to the end of the war, "Combat Flight Simulator 3" puts players in the role of a fighter, ground attack or bomber pilot for the U.S. Army Air Force, Britainís Royal Air Force (RAF) or the German Luftwaffe. Gamers feel the heart-pounding rush of low-to-the-ground air combat over the European countryside while flying missions focused around air superiority, close air support and low-altitude tactical bombing.

Producer's Journal - LOMAC
Matt Wagner, Ubi Soft Producer, for Lock On: Modern Air Combat (LOMAC), has posted his latest thoughts in his Producer's Journal. Matt talks about his latest trip to Moscow, including the details on the new engine being developed for LOMAC, and new features including, parallel threading, lighting effects, and special effects.

"With every new simulation title, the buying public expects/demands more advanced graphics AND smooth gameplay. Although the Flanker 2.x engine was a powerful one, it was determined essential that it be heavily revamped to bring Lock On to its full potential. We do not want Lock On to look and play like a follow-on to Flanker; we want it to set new standards in its own right and be a graphical leap in technology--analogous to Su-27 Flanker to Flanker 2.0", said Matt Wagner.

New Screens: LOMAC
Ubi Soft has released 4 new screens from their upcoming combat simulation, Lock On: Modern Air Combat. Release Date: Summer-Fall 2002.

World War II Coming To PC
Codemastersí forthcoming real-time strategy epic Ė World War II (working title) - will feature an original system dubbed Frontline that gives individual soldiers and units the potential to display everything from heroism to confidence, despair and cowardice, thanks to a new morale-based system.

Codemasters Studio Head Jonathan Smith says:
"World War II was about much more than abstract Ďunitsí moving around in textbook tactical formations. "It was about heroism, and panic, and courage, and fear Ė about soldiers performing extraordinary actions in extraordinary circumstances. The Frontline system creates a game where real human emotions are just as important as strategy."

Adds Bitmap Brothersí Managing Director Mike Montgomery:
"With the Frontline system, this game will be the first action-RTS to deliver a true recreation of the battlefield experience; the first to portray the psychology of warfare, rather than the sterile theory of Ďwargamingí."

Designed by The Bitmap Brothers, the gameís developers, the Frontline system creates a graphical onscreen representation of the playerís unitsí morale, health and vision within the game. Release Date: Summer 2002.

Military News
'Doomsday Clock' Moves Two Minutes Closer to Midnight
Growing concern about the security of nuclear weapons materials stockpiled around the world and a lack of U.S. support for several global disarmament pacts today prompted the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists to move the minute hand of the "Doomsday Clock" forward two minutes -- to seven minutes to midnight -- the same position as when the clock made its debut in 1947.

The move marks the third time the hand has been advanced since the end of the Cold War in 1991. The hand was last moved in June 1998, from 14 minutes to nine minutes to midnight. The clock has been reset 16 times previously in its 55-year history.

"Despite a campaign promise to re-think nuclear policy, the Bush administration has taken no significant steps to alter nuclear targeting policies or reduce the alert status of U.S. nuclear forces," said George A. Lopez, Chairman of the Bulletin's Board of Directors, who made the announcement. "Meanwhile, domestic weapons laboratories continue working to refine existing warheads and design new weapons, with an emphasis on the ability to destroy deeply buried targets."

Lopez stressed that the movement of the clock's minute hand is based on a comprehensive checklist of nuclear developments worldwide, both positive and negative, and is only partially related to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

"We are deeply concerned that the international community appears to have ignored the wake-up call of September 11," added Lopez. "Terrorist efforts to acquire and use nuclear and biological weapons present a grave danger. But the U.S. preference for the use of preemptive force rather than diplomacy could be equally dangerous."

The Bulletin also cited the continuing U.S. preference for unilateral rather than cooperative action, and its efforts to impede international agreements designed to limit the proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. In particular, the Bulletin criticized U.S. plans to walk away from the Antiballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty in June, and its refusal to participate in talks regarding implementation of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

The recent crisis between India and Pakistan, most recently punctuated by a December 13 terrorist attack on the Indian parliament, marks the closest any two states have come to nuclear war since the Cuban Missile Crisis, Schwartz said.

For the minute hand to move back, the United States and Russia need to commit to reduce their nuclear arsenals to no more than 1,000 warheads each by the end of the decade, said the Bulletin. Each side should be free to choose its own means for achieving this goal, but both should commit, in writing, to transparency and verification provisions to ensure that the cuts are carried out and the delivery systems and warheads dismantled.

The Bulletin also called on the United States and Russia to finally recognize the end of the Cold War by abandoning the practice of maintaining thousands of nuclear weapons on high alert, ready to be fired within minutes. "This practice, born of fear and uncertainty during the Cold War, is a dangerous anachronism," said Schwartz.

Aerojet Successfully Tests SDACS for Navy Standard Missile 3
Aerojet Successfully Tests Divert and Attitude Control System for Navy Standard Missile 3 Aerojet conducted a full propulsion system, hot fire test of the solid propellant divert and attitude control system (SDACS) it is developing for the U.S. Navy's Standard Missile 3. The 60-second test on Jan. 29 met all objectives, demonstrating the capability of the SDACS to withstand the stress of advanced missions of extended length.

The SDACS is a propulsion system for the kinetic weapon, or kill vehicle, propelled into space by the Standard Missile 3 to intercept incoming ballistic missile warheads outside the atmosphere. The SDACS consists of 10 proportionally controlled thrusters that, when properly sized, will take commands from the kinetic weapon onboard sensors and electronic unit. Proportional firing is an efficient use of the total energy, making thrust available at any commanded level from any or all thrusters.

"This test demonstrates the success of Aerojet-developed, proportionally controlled divert technology for specialized missile defense propulsion applications," said Pete Massey, Aerojet director of Standard Missile programs. "This technology has been previously flight-qualified on the attitude control system Aerojet is supplying for the first-stage booster on the Ground-based Mid-course Defense System (formerly known as National Missile Defense) program."

During the test at Aerojet's Sacramento facility, the 10 thrusters (four divert, six attitude) fired for five divert periods and four energy-management coast periods over 60 seconds. The thrusters received commands from an Aerojet-designed electronic control unit developed specifically for the Standard Missile 3 program. Test results indicated that the thrust and pressure values delivered by the SDACS met the electronic commands in all cases.

The first phase of Boeing's planed flight-tests for the BAE SYSTEMS Terrain Awareness Warning System (TAWS) has been completed at Edwards Air Force Base, as part of the C-17 TAWS development programme. Following the selection of TERPROM TAWS by the USAF, the focus of the flight tests was to assess the performance of the TERPROM Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) over the flight regime of the C-17.

The flight tests, which demonstrated the applicability of the TERPROM TAWS predictive GPWS to tactical low-level operation, are the culmination of a development programme with the C-17 TAWS Integrated Project Team incorporating USAF, Boeing, and BAE SYSTEMS. The second phase of flight tests, scheduled to begin early in 2002, will complete the development programme prior to the system's installation on production aircraft, which should begin by mid 2002.

TERPROM TAWS is a variant of the BAE SYSTEMS' Digital Terrain System, and has been selected for fast jet programmes world-wide, including the F-16, Mirage 2000, Harrier GR7, Jaguar, Tornado, A-10 and Eurofighter Typhoon. It is housed in a Video Integrated Processor manufactured by BAE SYSTEMS Controls.

ATK To Be Sole Producer JDAM Precision Proximity Sensor
ATK (Alliant Techsystems) has been selected by the US Air Force as the sole-source producer of the DSU-33B/B precision proximity sensor, which is used in the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) and other air-delivered ordnance.

The company was also awarded two contracts with a combined value of $15.5 million to continue production of the sensor. The first contract, valued at $8.2 million, is the final option to a basic production contract awarded in 1998 that has a total value with all options of over $30 million. The second contract is a new basic production award valued at $7.3 million. If all options on this contract are fully exercised, the total value will be approximately $75 million by the end of 2008.

The DSU-33B/B proximity sensor is an all-weather, battery-operated sensor that initiates detonation above the ground, increasing the effectiveness of air-delivered ordnance. The sensor design allows tactical fighter aircraft flown by the US Air Force, US Navy, US Marine Corps, and allied forces to deliver ordnance from both low and high altitudes.

"Our proposal to the Air Force was evaluated as the best value, based on a combination of technical approach, price, and experience and performance on the predecessor contract,'' said Blake Larson, president, ATK Precision Fuze.

TRW Urges Patience On Northrop Grumman
TRW has rebuffed the Northrop Grumman request for a response to the latter's unsolicited take-over offer by the close of business today (27 February), with a curt letter that says the TRW 'Board of Directors will address (the Northrop) letter promptly and in an orderly manner'.

TRW says it has engaged financial and legal advisors to help it properly evaluate the situation. It will conduct Board necessary and appropriate discussions in the near future and will respond in a timely fashion, but not before the Northrop deadline.

Northrop has engaged a shareholder solicitor firm to help in its bid for TRW Inc., signifying it could go straight to shareholders if its unsolicited approach is rejected by the defence and auto parts company.

Honeywell Lands Two Lucrative Chinook Engine Deals
Honeywell has secured key Chinook agreements with both the US Army and the UK Ministry of Defence (UK MoD).

In an eight-year contract worth over $1.1 billion, if all options are exercised, Honeywell is to begin building its T55-GA-714A upgraded gas turbine engine for the US Army CH-47D Chinook helicopter.

"Our upgraded T55-GA-714A engines deliver a 22% improvement in power, 7% better fuel economy and greater reliability over older T55-L-12 engines," said Mike Redenbaugh, Vice President, Propulsion, Honeywell Engines, Systems & Services. "The T55-GA-714A engine provides the Army with a cost-effective way to improve its existing Chinook engines with modern technology while enhancing the mission capability of the Chinook helicopter, with improved weight lift capability in a high and hot environment."

Engine improvements include digital electronic control, resistant materials for improved reliability during operation in corrosive environments and thermal barrier coated combustion components for greater fuel efficiency. Honeywell's Greer facility has upgraded more than 250 older Chinook engines to the new engine configuration. The Army has nearly 450 D-Model Chinooks in its worldwide helicopter fleet.

The company has also been selected by the UK MoD to provide complete depot support for Honeywell's T55 Chinook helicopter engines in the United Kingdom in an $80 million deal. The five-year contract includes T55 engines on British Chinook model HC2, HC2a and HC3 aircraft. The agreement establishes a Strategic Partnering Arrangement with the UK MoD's Defence Aviation Repair Agency (DARA), who will perform the repair, overhaul and testing of the engines.

"This is the first step in developing a long-term strategy to support the British fleet of T55-powered Chinooks, as well as other platforms, with the means to reduce cost of ownership, improve reliability, and enhance availability," said Karen Clegg, Vice President, Honeywell Defense and Space.

Engines covered under the agreement are the T55-L-712F and the T55-L-714A. The UK T55 Spares Inclusive programme is designed to transition depot level support to an industry partnership between Honeywell and DARA. The programme has been identified as a key UK MoD effort under a "Beacon" Helicopter Engines Integrated Project Team (HEIPT) initiative, whose objectives are to reduce long-term support costs through increased reliability and consolidated logistics.

"I am impressed by the way Honeywell has embraced the concepts of our acquisition processes and this reflects our confidence that the partnering concept is the right way forward for this, and other projects in the future," said UK MoD's Air Vice-Marshall Peter Liddell.

DARA Chief Executive Steve Hill added, " Honeywell will obtain the benefit of overall programme responsibility, while DARA will extend its 20 years of experience on the T55 by partnering with Honeywell."

Aircraft Resurrected For Third Life
More than 21 years after crashing in the Antarctic tundra, an LC-130 Hercules is being called back to active duty. The aircraft spent more than 17 years buried in snow and ice in Antarctica, then spent the last three years in the Arizona desert.

Under the watchful eyes of the aircraft maintenance and regeneration center personnel here, it is being prepared to fly again in March.

Ski-equipped LC-130 aircraft are the backbone of Operation Deep Freeze, a joint military operation of the U.S. Armed Forces and the New Zealand Defence Forces providing logistic support for the U.S. National Science Foundation's Antarctic program. Previously under naval control, the New York Air National Guard's 109th Airlift Wing assumed authority for all LC-130s in March 1999.

Built in 1959, this LC-130 was stationed at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. On Dec. 4, 1971, the aircraft was at a small strip 750 miles from home when the pilot attempted a jet-assisted takeoff, using rockets to give the aircraft the speed it needed.

At about 50 feet off the ground, two of the rockets broke off and hit an engine. The propeller was torn off, another engine was damaged and debris ripped holes in the fuselage, said Senior Chief Petty Officer Frank Brooks, the Navy's quality assurance and maintenance chief at the AMARC.

"The Hercules crashed in the barren, icy landscape and was seriously damaged, but miraculously, the 10-man crew escaped unharmed," Brooks said.

Foul weather prevented a team from reaching the crew for more than three days. The crew was eventually rescued, but the NSF officials determined it would not be cost-effective to salvage the plane.

The elements quickly claimed the damaged bird, covering it in snow and ice for nearly two decades.

In 1989, the NSF needed another LC-130. A cost analysis and a few mechanics and pilots determined that the cost of resurrecting the lost LC-130 would be about $10 million, compared to more than $30 million for a new aircraft.

Soon after, a crew was on-site to excavate the frozen plane and begin breathing life back into it. Two months later the plane flew out and re-entered service for the NSF.

In 1999, the aircraft left its frozen home and was retired to a warmer climate at AMARC, a 2,600-acre open-air warehouse for 4,500 aircraft valued at $27 billion. Now the plane will be used to fly transport missions at Naval Air Station, Point Mugu, Calif., Brooks said. AMARC crews are inspecting and preparing the aircraft for a test flight in early March.

Many aircraft are stored at AMARC so they can be returned to flying status. (Courtesy of Air Combat Command News Service)

Team Sleds Helicopter Out Of Rockies
Twelve people from the 58th Special Operations Wing here made Air Force history recently with the recovery of a downed MH-53J Pave Low helicopter from the San Juan Mountains in Colorado. The unprecedented operation, which began Feb. 9, was launched almost a month after the helicopterís hard landing during a civilian rescue operation near the city of Durango.

The cause of the mishap is under investigation.

"This operation went as well or better than anyone could have expected," said Chief Master Sgt. Mark Self, the 58th Special Operations Group maintenance superintendent who managed the recovery operation. "Everyone, from our hand-picked team of dedicated crew chiefs to the contractors tasked to transport the damaged helicopter, deserve a pat on the back for their efforts. Not only did we retrieve a valuable and limited military asset during this operation, but we also did it in a way no one has ever attempted as far as we know."

The recovery operationís unique nature lies in its namesake, Bobsled, which describes in one word the method used to transport the helicopter from its month-long resting place in an isolated ravine to a staging area at the foot of the mountains.

Essentially, the helicopter was raised by a crane, placed onto a modified flatbed trailer that functioned as a sled and pulled 14 miles along a skid trail through the mountains. While that certainly makes the effort stand out from past aircraft recovery operations, it is the altitude and rugged terrain that presented the most obvious challenges.

"We exhausted virtually every other option to remove the helicopter," said Senior Master Sgt. David Haugh, a recovery team member. "The crash siteís altitude of 9,700 feet elevation precluded us from lifting out the Pave Low with another helicopter because of the downed helicopterís size and the potential strain on the lifting helicopterís engines. The rugged terrain made removing it in a piecemeal fashion unfeasible."

Each member of the 12-man recovery team can vouch for the rugged terrain of which Haugh speaks. After rising at dawn and riding almost two hours in an all-terrain snow vehicle to get within a mile of the crash site, the team hiked back and forth along the snowy, icy, occasionally muddy, and sometimes treacherous paths for more than week.

Once there, they had a mere six hours of daylight each day to work and to prepare the helicopter for transport, which included finding and gathering crash debris in waist-deep snow, removing rotor blades and fuel tanks and, with the help of a crane, lifting an 8,000-pound gear box from the downed Pave Low.

"The location, terrain and position of the helicopter presented its share of challenges, but overall I think the operation went quite well. It couldíve been much worse," said Master Sgt. Jackie Powell, lead maintainer for the recovery team. "The weather was very good for us except for one day of heavy snow, and, in the end, even that worked in our favor because it provided more traction for the bulldozers pulling the sled."

Powell, whose 12 years as a dedicated crew chief for MH-53Js made him the most experienced member of the recovery team, said this has been the most difficult and challenging of five recovery operations he has participated in, but it was perhaps the most rewarding as well.

"Itís special to be a part of something thatís never been done before, and I think the entire team knows and appreciates that," Powell said. "I picked these guys because of their ability, enthusiasm and work ethic. They didnít disappoint me. Each one of these guys worked unselfishly and with tremendous dedication to accomplish this recovery. I really believe that picking each of them was the best decision made during this entire operation."

Team members appreciated the opportunity as well.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance," said recovery team member Airman 1st Class Rocco Pietrofesa. "I gained some valuable experience thatís going to help me throughout my career. Iím proud to be part of this team and to make such a great contribution to the Air Force."

The helicopter was transported to a staging area Feb. 22, so the recovery team members could continue their work on the damaged Pave Low helicopter before it begins its five-day trek across the country to the Naval Depot at Cherry Point, N.C., where it will be salvaged and subsequently returned here. (Courtesy of Air Education and Training Command News Service)

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