Daily News
by Gail Helmer

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Tuesday April 2, 2002

PC News
IGI 2: Covert Strike Arsenal
The powertool of global special forces, the .50 Sniper Rifle, is one of agent David Jones’ most effective weapons in IGI 2: Covert Strike, Codemasters’ forthcoming PC stealth-based shooter. Described as the ground-unit equivalent of bombing, this handheld semi-automatic .50 calibre rifle fires a slug weighing just 43 grams. Yet it can take out an Armoured Personnel Carrier at 1.5 kilometres and is more than capable of taking down an enemy agent at 1.8 kilometres. 12 New Screens

Its performance and appearance are being realistically modelled for the game; however, players can take the rifle’s capabilities one step further by using an in-game hi-tech accessory: the Thermo-Chemical imaging scope. With the Thermo-Chemical imaging scope attached to the rifle, enemy agents can be identified and targeted even in areas packed with scenery and moving objects. The scope identifies body heat patterns and performs a chemical analysis of those heat patterns. The body heat pattern is chemically analysed for human body temperature, filtering out any non-human heat patterns so that only human body heat is shown on the display. This is particularly useful when tracking an enemy agent - the rifle’s bullets can punch through concrete from 1.5 kilometres away.

With more details on the featured weaponry, including pistols, assault rifles, submachine guns, and rocket launchers still to be revealed, players can be sure that IGI 2: Covert Strike will equip its agents with some tasty firepower. IGI 2: Covert Strike is being created at Innerloop Studios AS, the Oslo-based team that created the original, and is scheduled to be published by Codemasters in June 2002

Team Factor Beta-Test LAN Demo 1.0 Released
Czech developer 7FX has announced the release of the downloadable beta-test LAN demo for Team Factor. This demo is still missing some features and does not include final character animations and user interface design. Download --- Read me

Global Operations Patch v1.1
Barking Dog has released the first patch for Global Operations, upgrading their new team-based multiplayer shooter to version 1.1. This release improves the server performance and fixes a slew of server and gameplay bugs. Download --- Details

Deadly Dozen Map Pack
nFusion has released the promised map pack for Deadly Dozen, expanding their recent squad-based tactical World War II shooter. The pack contains two new maps called Operation Shadow and Operation Squire Park, along with a Starter Utility to launch them. Details --- Download

Compatibility Patch for Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon
Ubi Soft announced the release of version of Ghost Recon. The patch gives Ghost Recon users many enhancements that are now available in the Desert Siege mission pack and permits interoperability with the Desert Siege mission pack. This allows players to join Ghost Recon servers that have Desert Siege installed but inactive and allows Ghost Recon users to benefit from many Desert Siege enhancements without having the mission pack installed. In addition to many performance improvements, some multiplayer cheats were addressed and eliminated. Click here to see the whole list of features and improvements.

X-Plane v6.11 Demo/Update
This file acts as an update to users that have v6.00 or later. If you have a version prior to this, You will need ot update your version to 6.00 or later to update to v6.10. This file will work as a DEMO for anyone that does not have version 6.00 or later, or just as a stand alone demo. In demo mode, the joystick will stop after six minutes of play. Download

Military News
Northrop Grumman Awarded Two Contracts For Global Hawk
Two contracts totaling nearly $300 million recently awarded to Northrop Grumman Corporation for Global Hawk will enhance the overall performance of the unmanned reconnaissance system.The contracts, one for $247 million and the other for $52.8 million, awarded by the U.S. Air Force will increase weight and power in order to enhance Global Hawk's surveillance capabilities. They will cover Stage IIA and Stage IIB engineering and manufacturing development.

Specific tasks under the contracts include improvements to the Global Hawk system's integrated sensor suite, development of 25-kilovolt ampere generators, performance upgrades to increase the air vehicle's gross take-off weight and improve constant altitude flight mode and flight test support. Work will be performed at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and at company facilities in Palmdale and San Diego, Calif. The Air Force program is managed by the Aeronautical Systems Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

The Global Hawk system will provide battlefield commanders near real-time, high-resolution, reconnaissance imagery. Flying at extremely high altitudes, Global Hawk can survey large geographic areas with pinpoint accuracy to give military decision-makers the most current information about enemy resources and personnel.

AH-1Z and UH-1Y Flight Test Programme Continues
Flight testing for the US Marine Corps' H-1 helicopter upgrade programme continues. The upgrade will modify 100 UH-1N Hueys and 180 AH-1W SuperCobras with considerable commonality between both aircraft to enhance maintenance and logistics support. Both aircraft will have a maximum gross weight of 18,500 pounds and be able to operate at twice the payload and at least twice the range as the current UH-1N and AH-1W helicopters. In addition to the advantages of commonality, the H-1 programme lifecycle costs are substantially less than any other aircraft combination.

The first upgraded Huey, designated the UH-1Y, has achieved 190 knots in a shallow dive and 166 knots in straight and level flight. Since the first UH-1Y, known as Y-1 completed its first flight in December 2001, the aircraft has made 50 flights accumulating over 44 hours of flight time, and is the first Glass Cockpit Huey with a fully Integrated Avionics System (IAS) installed and working flawlessly. In addition to achieving 166 knots indicated air speed (KIAS) in level flight, Y-1 has also been flown 25 knots sideward, 20 knots rearwards with maneuvering up to 30 degrees angle of bank.

All of the testing thus far on the UH-1Y has been conducted at Bell's Flight Research Centre in Arlington in Texas. Y-1 and its follow on ship, Y-2, currently in the final stages of pre-flight testing, will both be transferred to NAS Patuxent River in Maryland, later this year where it will join its sister ship, the AH-1Z, for continuing flight testing with the integrated Bell Helicopter and US Naval Air Systems Command, flight test team.

The AH-1Z is a major upgrade to the AH-1W SuperCobra, the frontline dedicated attack helicopter for the Marine Corps which, since its introduction to the fleet in 1986, has seen action in every conflict involving Marines from Desert Storm to Afghanistan.

The first AH-1Z, Z-1, completed its initial flight in December 2000 and since that time has made in excess of 200 sorties accumulating over 224 hours of flight time. The AH-1Z has already achieved 222 knots maximum airspeed and 160 knots cruise. In addition the AH-1Z has been flown at 10,000 feet altitude. The aircraft has also achieved 45 knots backwards flight and 45 knots sideward flight. Its follow on aircraft, Z-2 and Z-3, are in the final stages of pre-flight testing in preparation for their first flights later this spring at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland.

Two Crew Members Killed, Four Injured in Navy Helicopter Crash
A Navy HH-1 Huey helicopter from Naval Weapons Test Squadron China Lake crashed near Lake Isabella in the Sierra Nevada mountains, killing two crew members and injuring four others. The injured crew members were flown by military and civilian helicopters to a nearby hospital for treatment. The Navy has not released the names of the crew members, pending notification of the next of kin.

The helicopter, assigned to a squadron nicknamed the "Dust Devils," was on routine flight when it crashed. The squadron provides support research, development and testing for weapons systems as part of the Naval Air Systems Command Weapons Division. The Navy is currently conducting a full investigation into the crash.

Photo of the Day

An F/A-18 "Hornet" from Strike Fighter Squadron One Three One (VFA-131) flies equipped with the first combat carriage of the new GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) mounted under its starboard (right) wing. VFA-131 is part of Carrier Air Wing Seven (CVW-7), deployed aboard USS John F. Kennedy and is conducting combat missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Capt. William E. Gortney.

Second ICAP III Test Aircraft Nears Completion
Northrop Grumman Corporation's Integrated Systems sector recently completed installation of the wing center section for the second EA-6B Increased Capability III (ICAP III) system development aircraft. The work was performed at the sector's Airborne Early Warning and Electronic Warfare Systems production facility here.

The ALQ-218 Electronic Warfare Receiver, which is the heart of the ICAP III system, is scheduled to be installed in early April. Later in the month, the aircraft will be ferried to the Naval Air Warfare Center in Patuxent River, Md., where it will join the first ICAP III EA-6B for the U.S. Navy's test program. The two fully equipped ICAP III aircraft will participate in various ground and flight tests in preparation for operational assessment by the Navy, which is scheduled for this fall.

Keeping JSF On Track Is Top Priority For Test Force
The first Joint Strike Fighter demonstration aircraft is still more than three years from touching down here, but test experts planning for the arrival say it is just around the corner. The JSF Integrated Test Force here is a mere five months into the 10-year system development and demonstration program, with the first test aircraft expected to arrive in October 2005.

Plans call for five Air Force JSF variants to be based here for developmental testing, along with three transient aircraft from Naval Air Station Patuxant River, Md. Both the Air Force and the Navy will conduct testing on all of the JSF variants, including the Air Force, Navy and Marine versions and the United Kingdom's version. An additional 18 aircraft are expected to arrive here once the program moves into operational testing in 2010.

Defense officials from the United Kingdom have recently decided to conduct operational tests of the U.K. version of the JSF here, said Joe Dowden, director of the JSF Integrated Test Force here. Initial plans call for two U.K. aircraft and support crews to be based here during the later portion of the demonstration program. Dowden said the test force is already picking up the pace.

"Keeping the test program on track at this early stage is a top priority," Dowden said. "We want to field these aircraft as quickly as possible to replace aging aircraft in the Air Force as well as in the Navy and Marine inventories," he said.

The JSF test program is unique in that three different versions of the same aircraft will be tested using the one integrated test plan, said Mark Crawford, chief engineer for JSF. This means the test force here is working closely with an expanded group of test partners from around the world.

Crawford points out that such an arrangement presents more of a communications challenge for the test force; however, he said that having one plan is still more efficient for the Air Force than conducting three separate test programs.

"The military services have traditionally built unique aircraft to fulfill their different missions," he said. "By building and testing common aircraft and systems we can gain a significant economy in terms of the size of the test team, effort, and overall cost. You will see more people here than for a single aircraft test program, but many less than you would for three separate programs."

Dowden and Crawford agree that coordinating with testers throughout the Department of Defense and the world to develop the JSF makes early planning a must. One challenge for the test force is to plan ahead for any potential security issues that may arise when foreign nationals begin arriving here to assist with JSF testing. Dowden expects five to 10 U.K. testers to be based here for developmental testing with a potential buildup of 40 to 70 U.K. personnel supporting operational tests.

"It's important that we work to gain clarification on our heightened security policies, so that we can integrate the U.K. experts into our workforce," Dowden said.

Nearly 20 engineers from Edwards are working alongside software and hardware designers at Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas, to design the fighter's flight controls, avionics and weapon systems. Many of these subsystems will be evaluated in various stages of integration before they are incorporated into the aircraft.

"It is much easier and cheaper to fix problems if you can find them in the early stages of development," Crawford said. "Working on these subsystems now makes us better testers downstream, because we will better understand the system once it arrives at Edwards."

Crawford said that having developmental testers involved from the start will help save the JSF program money down the road.

"If you've got 20, 30 or 500 aircraft rolling off the line and you start finding problems, it costs a lot of money to go back and fix those systems," he said. "If you can come up with those fixes before you produce an aircraft, you save a lot of money over the life cycle of the aircraft."

The test force is bringing in a cadre of engineers and logistics experts to support the test planning effort here. By the end of the demonstration program, the JSF test force here is expected to grow to more than 1,000 people.

"It seems like we have a lot of time before our first flight, but with so many people coming together to build one integrated plan we have to start early," Crawford said. "Three years and eight months is going to fly by."

Planning Contract For USS Carl Vinson Set
Northrop Grumman Corporation announced today that it has been awarded a planning contract from the U.S. Navy valued at approximately $42 million that will facilitate continued preparations for the overhaul and refueling of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) scheduled for 2004.

This contract is the first modification to one originally awarded in May 2001, bringing the total contract value to date to approximately $52 million. Northrop Grumman's Newport News sector is the prime contractor for this award.

Work to be performed under the contract includes advance planning, design, documentation, engineering, material procurement, shipboard inspections, fabrication and preliminary shipyard or support facility work. This will be the ship's first and only refueling during a service life expected to span approximately 50 years.

Named for former U.S. Congressman Carl Vinson, the carrier Vinson was built at Northrop Grumman Newport News and christened in 1980. The former congressman attended the christening ceremony at age 96 and became the first living American to have a Navy ship named in his honor. The ship was commissioned by the U.S. Navy in 1982, and was most recently deployed to the North Arabian Sea in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

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