Daily News
by Gail Helmer

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Friday March 22, 2002

PC News
New Screens: Project 1
Thirdwire as sent us 16 new screenshots from Project 1, featuring the A-4E Skyhawk, the last addition to the player flyable aircraft. The first 8 shots were taken with FSAA enabled (on GeForce 3 Ti 200 and Voodoo 5 cards), and the last 8 shots were taken without FSAA (on GeForce 2 MX card).

Project 1 is based on a hypothetical conflict between forces of the Soviet Union and the USA, set in a fictional location during the decade from 1960 1969. Players will start flying the F-100 against MiG-17s, and by the end of the conflict will be flying an F-4 against MiG-21s and a fully integrated ground defense system. Click here for our previous coverage.

Infogrames Announces Operation Blockade
Infogrames has announced Operation Blockade, an arcade-style shooter that takes place just after the Great War. Players will assume the role of a character who must parachute on to a tiny island to keep enemy supply and troop transports from invading their country. The weapons in the game will be specific to the time period it is set in. Operation Blockade will also feature cooperative and single-player campaigns. Release Date: Spring

Medal of Honor: Allied Assault US/UK patch v1.11
There is a new patch for Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, upgrading US and UK editions to version 1.11. There are no details on the changes in this patch, although the filename suggests that it addresses copy-protection issues. Download

Masakari, Zeus Triumphant Mech Survey
Microsoft today announced that its MechWarrior4 "Select A 'Mech" online surveys are complete. The winners: From the MechWarrior universe's Inner Sphere, the Zeus, an 80-ton long-range Assault 'Mech; and from the world of the Clans, the Masakari, a deadly-accurate, 85-ton Assault 'Mech. The surveys allowed MechWarrior fans to help decide which 'Mechs will appear in future MechWarrior releases. The Zeus will play a featured role in the MechWarrior 4: Inner Sphere 'Mech Pak, and the Masakari will appear in the MechWarrior 4: Clan 'Mech Pak.

The Paks extend the gameplay for MechWarrior 4: Vengeance, based on the popular game of mechanized combat from FASA Studios. 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. The MechWarrior 4: Inner Sphere 'Mech Pak will be available in retail locations throughout North America in May. The Clan 'Mech Pak will be available this Summer. For more information click here.

Military News
Lockheed Martin's PAC-3 Missile Intercepts TBM Target
The Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missile successfully intercepted and destroyed an incoming tactical ballistic missile (TBM) target at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., on Thursday. This was the second Operational Test of the PAC-3 system.

Soldiers from the Second Battalion of the 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, Ft. Bliss, Texas, conducted launch operations for the test. In addition to the PAC-3 intercept of the TBM, a PAC-2 missile was fired at an air-breathing target.

"The PAC-3 Missile is proven, fielded technology," said Mike Trotsky, vice president - Air Defense Programs for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "There are no other fielded interceptors that have PAC-3's power to negate ballistic missiles armed with weapons of mass destruction, as well as cruise missiles and other air threats. The PAC-3 Missile and its first-to- the-field hit-to-kill technology represent an extraordinary success story for our Army and Missile Defense Agency customers."

The PAC-3 Missile is a high velocity, hit-to-kill missile and is the next generation Patriot missile being developed to provide increased capability against advanced theater ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and hostile aircraft. The PAC-3 Missile defeats incoming targets by direct, body-to-body impact. The PAC-3 Missiles, when deployed in a Patriot battery, will significantly increase the Patriot system's firepower, since 16 PAC-3 Missiles load-out on a Patriot launcher, compared with four of the PAC-2 Patriot missiles.

New Weapons Prove Successful In Nevada Test
A new generation of weapons, known as thermobarics, has proven successful in testing conducted by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) at the Nevada Test Site (NTS).

A successful flight test of the Bomb Live Unit (BLU)-118/B, a BLU-109 penetrating warhead with a thermobaric explosive, was conducted against a mock tunnel target at NTS late last year. The test was the culmination of a two-month accelerated effort to bring into service a developmental explosive with improved lethality against underground facilities.

The December test was conducted with a Guided Bomb Unit (GBU-24) laser-guided weapon using the BLU-118B warhead, launched by an Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft. The weapon effectiveness experiments conducted by DTRA show that the thermobaric explosive outperformed the conventional explosive in terms of range-to-effect down the length of a tunnel.

Thermobarics belong to a class of fuel-rich compositions that release energy over a longer period of time than standard explosives, thereby creating a long-duration pressure pulse when detonated in confined spaces. When detonated, thermobarics generate higher sustained blast pressures in confined spaces, such as tunnels and underground facilities.

Recently DTRA received approval to start a three-year advanced concept technology demonstration for a thermobaric weapon system to defeat hardened underground targets.

While awaiting fiscal 2002 funding to begin the programme, the 11 September 2001, terrorist attacks motivated changes in priorities.

A month after the attacks, DTRA organised a quick-response team that included Navy, Air Force, Department of Energy and industry experts to identify, test, integrate and field a rapid solution that would enhance weapons options in countering hardened underground targets using Defense Emergency Reaction Funds allocated by Congress to the Department of Defense.

The explosive experts at the Naval Surface Weapons Centre Indian Head in Maryland, responded with a developmental explosive that clearly provided enhanced blast effects.

The Air Force Precision Strike Programme office at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida., led the team carrying out the weapon system integration, safety and flight clearances, and produced a modified fusing system for the new warhead.

The Indian Head facility conducted static testing of the fuse to demonstrate reliable initiation of the new explosive. Both static and flight tests were then conducted at full-scale tunnel facilities at NTS.

The Air Force completed verification and validation of the technical data and operational flight clearances needed to deploy the BLU-118B warhead. Warheads were immediately made available to the US Air Force for deployment. The first operational use of the new warhead was late February in Afghanistan.

Northrop Grumman and US Army Conduct P3I BAT Flight Test
A US Army and Northrop Grumman Corporation team has conducted a successful flight test of the Pre-Planned Product Improved (P3I) Brilliant Anti-armour Submunition (BAT) at White Sands Missile Range. This was the first in a series of 12 drop tests of a recoverable version of the P3I BAT (RBAT).

Launched from a Cessna aircraft, the RBAT flew over a formation of 17 remotely controlled, moving armoured vehicles. It executed all required flight manoeuvres and detected, acquired and initiated track on targets. Following the test manoeuvres and seeker moding, the RBAT's recovery parachute and landing spikes enabled a landing that resulted in no damage being done to the dual-mode radar/infrared (RF/IR) seeker.

"P3I BAT, delivered into a target area by the long-range Army Tactical Missile, will improve substantially the warfighting capabilities of the Army's Legacy, Interim and Objective Forces," said Dr. William H. Forster, vice president, Land Combat Systems, Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems sector. "These developmental tests allow us to improve, refine and mature these advanced sensors and algorithms, leading to the next generation of precision Army munitions."

"P3I BAT continues to progress on its development schedule. Using the recoverable BAT for these tests provides the Army with a cost-effective means of reusing hardware for multiple flights," added Emmitt Gibson, vice president of Precision Munitions at Northrop Grumman.

The baseline BAT is an autonomous submunition that uses a combination of passive acoustic and infrared sensors to seek and destroy moving armoured targets in enemy territory. The P3I BAT adds a millimetre-wave radar and imaging IR sensors, providing a co-boresighted, dual-mode RF/IR seeker that works with the baseline acoustic sensors. The new seeker is designed to enhance BAT's capability against stationary and moving targets, particularly missile launchers, and to improve BAT's performance in adverse weather conditions and against sophisticated countermeasures.

United Industrial Receives Extension On TUAV Contract
United Industrial Corporation's AAI subsidiary has received an additional $22.3 million to extend production on its ongoing programme to field the US Army's Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (TUAV) system. This addition to the TUAV contract includes the production of five additional Shadow TUAV systems for the US Army, bringing the current total value of the TUAV programme to $135 million.

The production extension follows the Shadow TUAV system's performance at the government-conducted Operational Tempo (OPTEMPO) demonstration in late 2001, as well as the TUAV program's "Winter Assessment" in December of 2001. Earlier last year, United Industrial's AAI subsidiary delivered the first four TUAV limited-rate initial production (LRIP) systems previously ordered by the Army, which are now in active use.

"We are delighted with the outstanding progress that we are making on the TUAV program, " said Richard R. Erkeneff, President and Chief Executive Officer of United Industrial.

The Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (TUAV) System is designed to provide brigade commanders with improved surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. United Industrial is confident that additional production awards will follow at an incremental pace, with perhaps as many as 31 additional systems ordered over the next 3 years, with a value of more than $150 million.

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