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by Gail Helmer

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Tuesday March 19, 2002

PC News
New Details On Operation Flashpoint's Official Expansion
From Bohemia Interactive Studio, the creators of Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis, comes the game's official expansion - Operation Flashpoint: Resistance. Due to launch at retail on June 21st and requiring the original game to play, Operation Flashpoint: Resistance introduces a new island environment with remarkable high-resolution graphics

Images released today show an exceptional level of detail and illustrate new landscape features that Resistance brings to the game.

Marek Spanel, Operation Flashpoint's Project Leader At Bohemia Interactive Studio Says: "Resistance expands the universe of Flashpoint with higher resolution textures and models to take full advantage of latest 3D graphics cards. New gameplay elements extend the realism and freedom for the player and we're reworking the multiplayer code to make for an even more intense online combat experience."

The new campaign featured in Resistance is set before Operation Flashpoint's Cold War Crisis and casts the player as Victor Troska, a fighter against the recent invasion by renegade Russian forces. As Victor, the objective is to grow the island's resistance force by gaining new recruits and gathering equipment, preserving as many of his comrades as possible in order to repel the invaders.

"Rather than a sequence of distinct missions, all the events in the Resistance campaign are closely linked," explains Marek: "As players progress through the campaign, the amount of equipment, ammunition and fellow soldiers persists from one mission to another. Tactical use of supplies comes into play as there's no telling what lies ahead."

In addition to the new campaign, the expansion offers enhanced network code, incorporating an in-game server browser system and completely overhauled communication code for better multiplayer performance.

SuperPower Goes Gold
SuperPower, DreamCatcher’s ultimate PC strategy game, has gone gold and will release at the end of March. 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. Click here for previous coverage.

Aces High Announces Release Of Version 1.09
HiTech Creations has unveiled their latest version (1.09) of Aces High. The latest features introduced with version 1.09 include a new film viewer and editor. Films recorded in Aces High are now viewable from any number of angles when played back through the viewer. Powerful features include the display of positional data for other players, and allowing the player to jump into the cockpit of other planes in the film. There are a wide variety of editing tools and also an .AVI export utility. The new film viewer even records and plays back all the voice communications of the flight. More features and improvements in the film viewer are planned for development in the upcoming months.

Other improvements include:

  • The addition of new planes such as the Mitsubishi Ki-67 "Peggy", Supermarine Spitfire I, Hawker Hurricane I, Messerschmitt Bf 109E, and the Messerschmitt Bf 110C and Bf 110G.
  • Improved strategic play with more gameplay emphasis placed on trains and truck convoys.
  • Air-raid sirens sound at bases under attack and the map display gives an indication of which bases are currently under attack.
Military News
Boeing Delivers Wings For First F-22
Boeing has delivered ahead of schedule the wings for the first F-22 production aircraft to team partner Lockheed Martin. The two 2,000-pound titanium and composite structures were delivered last week and will be mated with the plane's fuselage in Marietta, Ga., later this month.

The ahead-of-schedule delivery is another positive result of Boeing's ongoing lean manufacturing efforts. In late 1999, Boeing began using a new wing-assembly tool, which has improved quality and reduced the time it takes to build a set of wings.

"We have incorporated a number of advanced manufacturing processes into our factory and continue to see results, including reduced cycle times," said Bob Barnes, Boeing vice president and F-22 program manager. "Boeing and the entire F-22 team are constantly looking for ways to reduce program costs."

Boeing previously delivered wings for nine test aircraft to support the program's engineering and manufacturing development phase, and also for eight production representative test vehicles that will be used for operational test and evaluation and tactics development at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The Raptor is scheduled to be operational in 2005.

Boeing is teamed with Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney to design and build the F-22 Raptor for the U.S. Air Force. Boeing supplies the F-22's wings and aft fuselage, integrates and tests the advanced avionics and is responsible for the training and life-support systems.

US Navy Test Launches 95th TRIDENT II
The US Navy has successfully test fired a TRIDENT II(D5) Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM), built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems. The missile, launched over the weekend from the strategic submarine USS ALASKA (SSBN 732) at the Eastern Range off the eastern Florida coast, extends the D5's record to 95 consecutive successful test launches.

This latest test launch was the final activity of a Demonstration and Shakedown Operation (DASO) exercise conducted by the blue crew of the USS ALASKA (SSBN 732) designed to collect system performance data in an operational environment and evaluate the readiness of the weapon system, crew and submarine for operational patrol.

This was the first of four launches scheduled over the coming years as part of the Navy programme to convert four TRIDENT Ohio-class fleet ballistic missile submarines to TRIDENT II (D5) capability. The four submarines are the USS ALASKA (SSBN-732), USS NEVADA (SSBN-733), USS HENRY M. JACKSON (SSBN-730), and USS ALABAMA (SSBN-731). These submarines previously carried the older TRIDENT I (C4) missiles.

The USS ALASKA entered Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in April 2000 to begin her conversion to D5 capability. Following the DASO launch, the ALASKA will return to the shipyard for a three-month Post-Shakedown Availability (PSA) period to correct problems and deficiencies discovered during the DASO. The ALASKA will then re-deploy in the Pacific Ocean early this summer.

TRIDENT II (D5) is a three-stage, solid propellant, inertial-guided submarine-launched ballistic missile. It is 44.5 ft in length, 83inches in diameter, weighs 130,000 lbs., has a range greater than 4,000 nautical miles, and carries up to eight Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs).

TRIDENT II (D5), the sixth generation of FBMs developed by Lockheed Martin for the US Navy, is presently deployed only in the Atlantic Ocean. Recently, the Navy awarded Lockheed Martin the first of several contracts to extend the service life of the TRIDENT II (D5) missile system from 30 to 44 years to match the extended life of the TRIDENT Ohio-class submarine. The D5 service life extension programme will extend D5 missile production through 2013 and is expected to make the D5 missile system operationally viable to 2042.

Metal Storm Proves 60mm Firing Ability of Weaponry System
Metal Storm Limited, a pioneer in electronic ballistics technology, has completed the first successful test firing of a 60mm projectile from its weaponry system. The test was conducted by Australia's Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) under a collaborative agreement between the United States and Australian defence agencies to jointly research, model and develop the application of Metal Storm technology.

"The results of this test significantly widens the potential military and civil applications of Metal Storm's technology," said Mike O'Dwyer, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Metal Storm Limited. "We also believe that the tests may lead to the development of a 'hybrid weapon', a system capable of firing both 40mm and 60mm rounds from the same weapon that can provide appreciable tactical advantages on the battlefield."

The 60mm test firing follows the testing of the 40mm projectile, which was initially fired by DSTO in June 2000, when it was demonstrated for the first time, that Metal Storm technology could be successfully applied to larger calibre weapons. The capability to fire 60mm rounds provides firepower and payload capacity significantly greater to that of 40mm rounds. The 60mm test firing indicates the capability of a Metal Storm weapon system to destroy vehicles or infrastructure and damage or disable armoured vehicles and raises the potential burst effect or lethal area to approximately 4-5 times greater than that of 40mm rounds.

"Combine these capabilities with multiple barrels, and multiple rounds per barrel placed together as a 'gun pod', with the firing precision of fully electronic operation, and you have a potential weapon system capable of extraordinary firepower," said O'Dwyer.

US Offers Austria a Cheaper F16 Deal
The US Defense Security Co-operation Agency has notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Austria of F-16 fighters and associated equipment and services. The US F-16 is in competition with the BAE SYSTEM/SAAB JAS 39 Gripen to replace the Austrian Air Forces ageing JAS 35 Drakens.

This proposal, for 30 F-16A/B aircraft, is an alternative cheaper, proposal to the US Government's previous offer of new C/D aircraft, valued at $1.7 billion, notified on 29 November 2001. The total value of this proposal, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $1 billion.

The possible sale is for 30 F-16A/B aircraft upgraded with the Falcon Up structural modification and the Mid-Life Update (MLU) capability modification. The aircraft includes: F-100-PW-220 alternate fighter engines, AN/APG-66(V)2 radar sets, LAU-129 launchers, M61A1 20mm cannons, provisions for AN/ALQ-131 Electronic Counter Measure pods, PANTERA (LANTIRN derivative) or LITENING II targeting pods, and the capability to employ a wide variety of munitions.

It also includes: four F-16A Block 10 operational capabilities upgrade aircraft for cannibalisation, four spare F-100-PW-220 engines, 4,000 rounds of 20mm cannon ammunition, eight AN/ALQ-131 Electronic Counter Measure pods, 16 PANTERA (LANTIRN derivative) or 16 LITENING II targeting pods, 30 M61A1 20mm cannons, and the associated support equipment and necessary logistic and training support to ensure full programme supportability.

The MLU modification is an outgrowth of the development programme notified to the Congress in August 1990. This multi-national effort has included the countries of Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands, Norway, and Portugal who have worked with the US Air Force in the full scale MLU engineering development and integration effort. The MLU is an avionics retrofit programme for F-16 aircraft consisting of: Heads-Up Display Pilot's Display Unit, AN/APX-113 Advanced Identification Friend or Foe, Common Colour Multi-Function Displays, Common Programmable Display Generator, Modular Mission Computer, Voice Message Unit, Common Data Entry Electronics Unit, Global Positioning System antennas, Interference Blanking Unit, and configuration of the APG-66( V)2 radar.

Anaconda Over, but Operations Continue in Afghanistan
Operation Anaconda is officially over, but skirmishes near Gardez and west of Kandahar prove the Defense Department's premise that actions in Afghanistan are not complete. Air Force Brig. Gen. John Rosa, Joint Staff spokesman, put it simply during a press conference March 18: "Operation Anaconda is over, but Operation Enduring Freedom continues."

Rosa said teams remain in the Operation Anaconda area looking for any remaining Taliban and al Qaeda. U.S., Afghan and coalition forces have searched more than 30 caves in the region so far and have found weapons, ammunition and documents.

On Sunday a patrol observed three vehicles about 45 miles southwest of Gardez, Rosa said. After watching them for a time, commanders called in helicopters to stop the convoy. When their warning shots were met with return fire, the aircraft destroyed the vehicles. In the firefight, 16 people in the convoy were killed, one wounded and one detained. There were no U.S. casualties. "Numerous weapons, ammunition, rocket-propelled grenades were found in these vehicles," Rosa said. A fourth car, just a bit separated from the other three, was stopped, found to contain a family and let go, he said. U.S. forces also conducted a "site exploitation" of a compound in the vicinity of Kandahar, he said. Forces found a large cache of weapons and ammunition in the compound. They detained 31 people.

Operation Anaconda was important because it showed al Qaeda and Taliban that the United States was serious, "that our troops are up to the task," Rosa said. "And we know we accomplished quite a bit." He said the U.S. Central Command does not see large groups of al Qaeda or Taliban leaving the Operation Anaconda area.

Neither Rosa nor Pentagon spokeswoman Torie Clarke wanted to quantify the number of al Qaeda and Taliban killed in Operation Anaconda. Clarke said conditions in the area make it very difficult to get exact numbers.

She did say that Operation Anaconda had effects on the al Qaeda. "We have debilitated and degraded to a certain extent the al Qaeda network," she said. The operation has clearly made it more difficult for al Qaeda to work inside Afghanistan and communicate with members outside the country, Clarke said.

Crew of Lost Helicopter Declared Deceased
All three crew members of the helicopter that crashed into the Mediterranean Sea March 12 have been declared deceased.

The crew members, who were attached to Helicopter Squadron Light (HSL) 46, home ported in Mayport, Fla., were identified as Lt. Terri Sue Fussner, 27, of Manchester, Mo.; Lt. Wayne Francis Roberts, 34, of Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 2nd Class Jason Edward Lawson, 21, of Smyrna, Ga.

Embarked aboard USS Hayler (DD 997), the SH-60B Seahawk was conducting a routine flight when it crashed. Hayler initiated search-and-rescue efforts immediately after losing radar contact and communications with the helicopter, which continued throughout the night before being called off the afternoon of March 13.

The search, which included Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIB) from both Hayler and USS Ross (DDG 71) and was joined by a P-3 Orion from Patrol Squadron 10, a nearby British C-130 and another C-130 from Greece covered an area of 1,000 square miles.

The Navy is conducting an investigation into the cause of the accident.

F/A 18A "Hornet" Crashes in Nevada
An F/A-18A Hornet operating from Naval Air Station (NAS) Fallon., Nev. crashed Friday (Mar. 15), in the foothills of the Clan Alpine Mountains near Edwards Creek Valley, approximately 50 miles east of Fallon.

The F/A-18A, a single-pilot aircraft, was attached to the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center at NAS Fallon. The pilot ejected safely and was recovered by a Navy helicopter shortly after the incident. The pilot is reported to have sustained minor injuries. The aircraft was conducting routine operations for training with the Naval Strike Air Warfare Center at the time.

An investigation is being conducted to determine the cause of the accident.

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