Daily News
by Gail Helmer

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Thursday April 25, 2002

PC News
IL-2 Sturmovik V1.04b Interim Patch Being Tested
Carl Norman, Executive Producer, has announced that the testing for IL-2 Sturmovik v1.04b interim patch is underway. This patch will address only a few specific problems and make adjustment to small number of areas. No release date has been announced, but we will keep you posted. Details

In today's announcement, Carl Norman goes on to say, "We have plans for a V1.05 patch but we are not going to release exact details at this time as we are still in the planning and approval stage. It is our current intention to release additional flyable aircraft with V1.05 but we can not go into specifics at this time. We have a tentative schedule for which aircraft will be ready and which aircraft will be part of V1.05 and which will be part of the next IL-2 commercial product."

IENT To Launch Online Tank Sim At E3
iEntertainment Network (IENT) has announced that it will demonstrate K.I.C. A.S.S., its upcoming online tank simulation, at this years E3 in Los Angeles next month. The massively multiplayer game, originally titled Knights in Combat: Armored Simulation Series, will let players engage in World War II-era tank combat against other players around the world. It will use the graphics engine developed for IENT's World War II flight combat game WarBirds III. The game will also take advantage of IENT's patented latency management system so players from Europe, Asia, and North America will be able to play together in the same arenas without Internet latency problems. K.I.C. A.S.S. is scheduled for release in September.

"We are very excited about bringing WarBirds III technology to our first non-flying massively multiplayer online simulation game with K.I.C. A.S.S.," said IENT CEO J.W. "Wild Bill" Stealey, who also founded MicroProse Software and Interactive Magic. "This game allows IENT access to a much larger potential player base and is the first in a series of mass-market games that can help IENT reach its growth objectives. We would also like to develop KA for consoles, including the Sony PlayStation 2 and the Microsoft Xbox. We are looking for a publisher who will support KA and future products on these platforms."

All American: The 82nd Airborne in Normandy Delayed
Shrapnel Games announced today that the Gold date for it's upcoming release, All American: The 82nd Airborne in Normandy, has been pushed back to late June.

"It is unfortunate that we have had to push the Gold date back, but it will give us additional time to add more features and tweaks to the gaming system. The folks we have brought in to help finish the game have been able to enhance the 101 gaming engine much more than we originally hoped. Due to these talented folks work we have decided to err on the side of giving our customers as many new goodies as possible," said, Richard Arnesen of Shrapnel Games.

Codemaster E3 Line-up
Codemasters today announce a blockbuster showcase of its most powerful game brands and new titles that will be unveiled at this year’s E3 Expo in Los Angeles from May 22nd. Titles of interest include:

IGI 2: Covert Strike
PC – releasing autumn 2002
The acclaimed superb stealth-based first-person shooter returns with international intrigue and extreme action.

Operation Flashpoint: Resistance
PC – releasing June 2002
The official expansion pack delivers a new prequel campaign, remarkable high-resolution graphics and enhanced network code.

Prisoner of War
PS2 / Xbox / PC – releasing summer 2002
Experience the intrigue, danger and heroism of Allied escape attempts from POW camps during World War II in this incredible stealth adventure.

World War II: Frontline Command
PC – releasing autumn 2002
From The Bitmap Brothers, this squad-based action real time strategy game lets you command some of World War II’s most significant battles.

Military News
TRW Shareholders Refuse Northrop Grumman Offer
The first tangible evidence of the feelings of the TRW shareholders has reached the light of day as they rejected Northrop Grumman's $6.7 billion stock offer for TRW. They did not, however, reject the advances of Northrop Grumman out of hand, voting that the TRW board should open the books to Northrop to enable the possibility of an increased offer.

The TRW Board of Directors and Northrop Grumman have been involved in a bitter power wrangle since February, when Northrop aggressively sought to acquire TRW's technology expertise in a deal worth $47 a share. Northrop Grumman upped that offer to $53 a share in April, but the TRW management rejected both offers as too low and accused Northrop of cynically taking advantage of a share price that was misrepresentative in the wake of chief executive David Cote's sudden departure.

Both sides have greeted the news as a victory. The TRW Board has been urging shareholders to reject Northrop's offer and there was further vindication for their standpoint as shareholders also rejected a proposal from Northrop Grumman to appoint an independent panel to oversee further negotiations between the two sides.

"We are delighted with the outcome of today's vote and the confidence demonstrated by our shareholders not only in the TRW Board, but also in the strategic direction of our Company," said Philip A. Odeen, TRW chairman. "With efforts underway to both execute our shareholder value enhancement plan and explore strategic alternatives, we are on track to deliver value to our shareholders in excess of Northrop's inadequate offer."

Northrop Grumman, on the other hand, saw the fact that the shareholders were prepared to give them access to non-public information regarding TRW as a positive sign. "TRW shareholders have sent a strong message to TRW's board of directors today in favour of allowing Northrop Grumman to begin due diligence in connection with its proposed acquisition of TRW," said Ken Kresa Northrop Grumman's Chairman and CEO. "We are prepared to immediately enter discussions with TRW to resolve the outstanding differences concerning an agreement that allows Northrop Grumman to begin due diligence consideration of non-public information as soon as possible."

TRW's management put the company up for sale last week and have drawn up a confidentiality agreement with certain restrictions attached that have so far precluded Northrop Grumman from signing it. However, another, as yet unnamed, prospective buyer has done so and is currently in negotiations with TRW.

On 3 May, the TRW's shareholders will again go the ballot boxes to decide whether Northrop Grumman's can proceed with its hostile acquisition plans. It is this vote that is likely to have the greater influence on the balance of power in this particular saga. If Northrop Grumman were successful in its efforts to acquire TRW it would become the third largest defence contractor in the US behind Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

A400M Procurement Problems Continue
No sooner has one side said that the A400M military transport aircraft project has got the go ahead, than another says it hasn't. On Tuesday Reuters, quoting a British official, reported that Germany, France and Britain had all signed a final deal to begin production of the A400M military transport aircraft. Signatures from the other participating countries, Spain, Turkey, Belgium, Portugal and Luxembourg were expected soon.

However, details of the deal that unlocked the impasse caused by Germany's inability to fund 33 of the 73 aircraft it had ordered were not available, according to Reuters.

Yesterday the German press agency DPA reported that the German Defence Minister, Rudolf Scharping, was accused of misleading Parliament during a recent debate by suggesting that the financial indemnities to the other partners in the event of a German failure to fund all 73 A400M aircraft had been scrapped. However leaked documents obtained by the opposition parties suggest that the indemnities remain in place and the opposition is calling for Scharping's resignation.

The problem stems from Airbus Military's stated intention to treat this A400M procurement in accordance with civil aviation best practice, that is a firm order for at least 180 aircraft, a deposit at the start and stage payments throughout and no changes to the specification.

Germany's cash-strapped defence budget has been unable to identify money for all 73 aircraft it had agreed to buy, a situation made worse by suggestions that Germany has no requirement for so many aircraft. The fudge that the German Government had arrived at was to allocate Euro5.1 billion to pay for 40 aircraft now, with the remainder to be voted for after the September general election. During a heated debate last month the opposition only agreed to pass that budget if Germany's obligation to indemnify the other partners if it failed to fund the remainder was removed.

Now it appears that that obligation still stands as Brigitte Schulte, a Minister in the German Defence Department acknowledged yesterday afternoon, saying that the indemnities were in accord with international practices.

Where this now leaves the German commitment to the project remains to be seen. If German opposition parties insist on revisiting the budget, and causing further delays in the start of the programme, then some of the more impatient of the partners, in particular the UK, may well feel that other options, notably Boeing's C-17 and Lockheed Martin's C-130J, already in production, may provide a quicker and better way forward. The US Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Pete Aldridge, was urging just such a step last week to a gathering of NATO procurement chiefs.

Northrop Grumman Delivers 13th Joint Stars Aircraft
Northrop Grumman Corporation delivered the 13th E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) aircraft to the U.S. Air Force today, more than five weeks ahead of schedule.

This is the third aircraft in the Block 20 configuration, which provides integrated commercial-off-the-shelf data processing capability. This technology provides the Air Force with increased reliability, advanced technologies and increased processing power, all at a lower cost per aircraft. Northrop Grumman has also started upgrading the first 10 aircraft delivered to the Air Force to the Block 20 configuration, the first of which was completed in February.

Joint STARS offers battlefield commanders real-time access to situational data, while simultaneously transmitting crucial information to aircraft and ground troops. Joint STARS is the only platform in the U.S. arsenal that provides wide-area moving target indicator capability -- combined with synthetic aperture radar imagery -- to dramatically improve command-and-control capabilities and data clarity, as the system locates, classifies and tracks ground targets in all weather conditions from standoff distances.

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