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by Gail Helmer

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Wednesday April 17, 2002

PC News
Strategy First announces Strike Fighters: Project 1
Strategy First and Third Wire Productions are pleased to announce that they have signed a worldwide publishing agreement for their highly anticipated flight simulation game, Strike Fighters: Project 1, scheduled for release later this summer.

Strike Fighters is a fictional campaign is set in the 1960s and features the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II. Weapon selection within the game matches historical availability, offering a few select missiles and guided weapons later, but focusing primarily on mounted guns. The games newly developed graphics engine employs the latest DirectX technology and renders scenes in rich, 32-bit color, with spectacular lighting effects, intricate texture layers, and reflective mapping. All flyable aircraft are modeled with exceptional detail and accuracy, right down to customizable squadron art and kill tallies.

Deadly Dozen Sequel Announced
Infogrames has announced the sequel, Deadly Dozen: Pacific Theatre, is development by nFusion and will be released later this year. Deadly Dozen: Pacific Theatre consists of 12 new missions encompassing key battles for the Allies in World War II. Similar to its predecessor, the player is given mission goals and challenged to devise a strategy to successfully accomplish them. Players choose from soldiers with unique skills and specialties such as medical, sniping, explosives, lock picking and more.

Players will face a variety of enemies during missions to Rabul, New Guinea, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Okinawa plus seven other locales. The deadly dozen will have a new arsenal of weapons to assault or defend themselves against foes including a machete, Colt 45 pistol, M1 Garand, Thompson MI, M1903A Sniper Rifle, BAR, flamethrower and Bazooka. Enemies will be attack with a Nambu automatic pistol, an Arisaka Bolt-Action Rifle, Type 99 light machine gun, Samurai swords and more. Deadly Dozen: Pacific Theatre will feature both deathmatch and cooperative multi-player modes. A bonus feature is the ability to import maps from Deadly Dozen for deathmatch.

Mosquito Squadron for CFS2 Announced
Just Flight has announced the release of, Mosquito Squadron. Designed to work with Microsoft Flight Simulator 2000/2002 and Combat Flight Simulator 2 series, the Mosquito FB.Mk VI features an authentic re-creation of the 'Wooden Wonder'. For Combat Flight Simulator 2 pilots there's detailed aircraft and scenery as well as the opportunity to fly the Mosquito in combat with 21 highly accurate and authentic missions. They range from train busting and low-level attacks to a chance to take part in Operation JERICHO, the famous Mosquito raid on Amiens prison and other notable raids of WWII. Screens

Military News
UAVs - Roaring success or technical time waster?
Since the American Civil War and exploding balloons, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have been a pipe dream for military chiefs, a weapon able to undermine the enemy's attacking and defensive capabilities without risking the lives of pilots. Theoretically they are the perfect aerial weapon but due to the logistics involved, in practice successful missions performed by UAVs have proved few and far between.

However, that situation seems to have changed in the last decade with the arrival of the much-fanfared Predator and Global Hawk UAVs. These craft have received rave reviews for their performance in combat situations in Bosnia and now in Afghanistan yet there remains little evidence to attest to the kind of results demanded by the vast budgets required to fund UAV development programmes.[More...]

Lockheed Martin Delivers First Upgraded U-2S Reconnaissance Aircraft
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, a business area of Lockheed Martin Corporation, today delivered the first U-2S reconnaissance aircraft equipped with state-of-the-art cockpit displays and controls to the 9th Reconnaissance Wing based at Beale Air Force Base, CA. This first aircraft is on schedule, under budget, and meets all performance and program requirements.

The U-2S Reconnaissance Avionics Maintainability Program (RAMP) upgrades the 1960s-vintage cockpit with newly installed equipment, including three 6x8 inch multifunction displays, an up-front control and display unit, and an independent secondary flight display system. The new equipment replaces legacy systems that are no longer supportable and provides improved pilot situational awareness. The entire fleet of 31 U-2S models and four two- cockpit trainers will be modified before the project is completed in 2007.

Bryan Swords, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics project manager, said, "The outstanding performance of all U-2 RAMP team members -- our customer, our suppliers and Lockheed Martin participants -- has led to this successful first delivery. These new system capabilities will help to sustain the U-2 fleet into the next decade."

"The bottom line in any modernization effort is support to the war fighter," stated Lt. Col. Mike Masucci, U-2 Flight Test Commander. "With this first RAMP delivery, the U-2 pilot now has superior situational awareness and improved survivability. This increases collection efficiency which leads directly to more bombs on target and reduced risk to friendly forces."

RAMP uses commercial off-the-shelf equipment, some of which is modified to meet the special needs of the high-altitude U-2S aircraft. A new main avionics processor receives signals that currently drive the legacy instruments and then digitize, process and output information to various smart multifunction displays. The RAMP head-forward controls increase situational awareness and replace existing radio controls which were located on the left side-panel aft of the pilot and awkward to reach in flight.

The RAMP contract was awarded in October 1998. Flight test of the Engineering and Management Development vehicle was conducted from December 2000 through July 2001. This first production aircraft began its six-month modification cycle in August 2001. Six aircraft will be modified per year, with the production rate governed by the U-2S periodic depot maintenance cycle.

The U-2 has been the backbone of our nation's airborne intelligence collection operations for over three decades, and continues to provide unmatched operational capabilities in support of Operational Enduring Freedom. As a result of the RAMP upgrade, along with other sensor modifications, the U-2S will continue to provide leading-edge intelligence collection capabilities for years to come.

F-22 Industry Team Delivers Raptor 4009
The Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company - led F-22 Raptor industry team today delivered to the U.S. Air Force Raptor 4009, the last flight test aircraft to be produced under the program's Engineering & Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase contract. Over the next nine weeks, Raptor 09 will be subjected to a series of dedicated tests and evaluations designed to validate how easy the F-22 is to maintain and repair.

"During the tests, hundreds of aircraft parts will be removed and re- installed to ensure maintenance instructions for the aircraft meet USAF requirements," said Bob Rearden, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company vice president and F-22 program general manager. "The test team will also verify the user-friendliness of the Raptor's support equipment, as well as determine that all necessary human factors and environmental safety factors have been considered in the design and production of the F-22."

These logistics tests will be conducted by a team of USAF officials -- including the first group of F-22 maintenance instructors -- supported by contractor personnel, at Lockheed Martin's facility in Marietta, Ga. "This testing was to have been accomplished at the program's Combined Test Facility at Edwards Air Force Base in California," Rearden said. "But the cost savings generated from conducting these tests at Marietta convinced us that doing this here was the smartest path to take."

Conducting the dedicated logistics test and evaluation activities at Marietta rather than Edwards AFB is expected to help the program avoid spending approximately $500,000 on potentially duplicative efforts necessary to prepare the aircraft for the evaluation exercise and then return it to flight status.

Following the logistics tests, Raptor 09 will begin thorough ground tests in preparation of delivery to Edwards AFB later this summer. Once there, the aircraft will begin flight test operations with the six F-22s already there.

The F-22 Raptor air dominance fighter is built by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., a business unit of Lockheed Martin Corp., in partnership with Boeing, is powered by Pratt and Whitney engines, and is made from parts and subsystems provided by approximately 1,200 subcontractors and suppliers in 46 states. Principle production activities take place at LM Aero facilities in Marietta, Ga., and Fort Worth, Texas, as well as at Boeing's plant in Seattle, Wash. Final assembly and initial flight-testing of the Raptor occurs at the Marietta factory, headquarters for the F-22 program's contractor team.

The Raptor will replace the venerable F-15 Eagle as America's premier front-line fighter jet starting in 2005. The F-22's balanced design of stealth, supercruise speed and super-agility, along with its advanced integrated avionics and overall user-friendliness, will allow the F-22 to help the Pentagon shorten future wars and save American and Allied lives.

British built Eurofighter IPA Makes Maiden Flight
The first production standard EJ200 engines assembled by Rolls-Royce at its Bristol facility powered "IPA1", the first UK production Eurofighter, on a 26-minute maiden flight yesterday evening.

The instrumented production aircraft's debut took place from the BAE SYSTEMS factory at Warton in Lancashire. It was supported by the 20-strong Rolls-Royce technical support team permanently located at Warton, and follows similar flights in the last several days by IPA aircraft in Italy and Germany.

The three IPA aircraft are the first to fly covered by the umbrella production contract for 620 aircraft required by Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. They join seven other development aircraft completing a range of flight testing and certification tasks ahead of production deliveries to the four partner nations' air forces later this year.

Nick Durham, Rolls-Royce EJ200 Project Director said: "This is another very important milestone in the programme, marking the first flights of production aircraft in three countries. It's a key step towards the operation of Eurofighter by air force flight crews following the completion of flight trials and aircraft certification.

"The EJ200 is a vital defence programme for Rolls-Royce, particularly in Bristol, and the IPA flights further underpin our strong production role. Initial production engines came off our assembly line last year, and we are due to deliver around 30 engines this year as the programme requirements accelerate."

The IPA aircraft are the first to be powered by production standard EJ200 engines. The engine's maker EUROJET comprises Rolls-Royce in the UK, MTU Aero Engines in Germany, Italy's FiatAvio and Spain's ITP.

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