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by Gail Helmer

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Monday May 13, 2002

PC News
Naval Warfare Project V16 series
Naval Warfare Simulations has announced that the Naval Warfare Project V16 series is now available for download. NWP V16+ is an extensiveupdate to this project. All missile combat has been comprehensively updated with greatly improved combat mechanics. Many new countries and units have been added as well as several new 3D graphics. Much more is on the way in V17 including customizable ground installations. Naval Warfare Simulations has also announceed an upcoming series of naval simulations/wargames for the computer. Already in production are Battleship Warfare and Modern Submarine Warfare.

Another War Revealed
In an attempt to come up with something different to the normal Role-Playing features of magic, fiction, quasi science fiction, and strange creatures, the setting of Another War is a possible first for the genre: that of W.W.II, possibly the darkest era in our history. Although using 1940 as the period, Another War can be compared with games such as ‘Diablo’ and ‘Planescape Torment’. Instead of monsters, substitute Nazis; instead of swords and sorcery, substitute an MG42 and a Mauzer 98K; instead of the works of Tolkein or Steve Jackson, substitute ‘Saving Private Ryan’, ‘The Dirty Dozen’, and even ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’. Another War uses familiar RPG functions within a 20th Century environment: allocate points to build your character, carry equipment in your backpack (space permitting), and involve yourself in real-time combat.

Another War is a story about a mercenary and adventurer, living on his wits, who gets himself involved in a web of intrigue between world-powers whilst trying to save an old friend from a group of Nazis. The plot begins in a forgotten French village where the only signs of conflict are intermittent German patrols and Wehrmacht soldiers occupying the local bar. It ends in the hell of besieged Leningrad, where the hero discovers a secret project jointly funded and administered by both Russians and Germans. Although the premise is to save your friend, it doesn’t follow that you only play as a single character: playing as a team is the only way to progress in Another War. Features will included: 50 locations across Europe, 30 weapons including a plethora of guns, grenades, mines.Screens

The Sum Of All Fears Goes Gold
Ubi Soft's PC game based on Tom Clancy's novel and the upcoming Paramount Pictures' release, The Sum Of All Fears, has gone gold. Developed by Ubi Soft's Red Storm Entertainment, The Sum Of All Fears PC game will be available in conjunction with the movie release on May 31.

The Sum of All Fears will place players in the role of an elite FBI hostage rescue team who must travel the world to investigate a sinister plot. The game will have lots of different real-world locations, and it will let players play as part of a three-person team and play in larger multiplayer games on Ubi Soft's Ubi.com online game service.

Day of Defeat Beta 2.1 Released
The Day of Defeat team is proud to announce the release of Beta 2.1 This upgrade features the resurgence of several great maps, weapon tweaks, HLTV support and improved game play. Download

Sierra's E3 Lineup
Sierra Entertainment announced its lineup of titles to be showcased at the E3 in the LA May 22nd - 24th. The lineup includes SWAT: Urban Justice, the fourth installment in the award-winning SWAT franchise, will be presented on the PC. SWAT:UJ features a new engine and new gameplay options with 16 missions, multiplayer modes, new weapons, characters, and gear.

Military News
Rolls-Royce In Joint Feasibility Study With Tupolev And MIG
Rolls-Royce, the Russian design bureau Tupolev and the Russian aircraft manufacturer MIG are preparing a feasibility study to examine the financial and technical aspects of their proposed short-haul Tupolev Tu-334 passenger aircraft. The study was part of the process agreed by the three parties and will pave the way for the joint development, certification and serial production of the aircraft.

Over the next six months, a three-company working party will assess the market potential of the twin-engined Tu-334, which will be powered by the Rolls-Royce Deutschland BR715. The working party will also define work packages, time-scales, technical documentation, and all other requirements for the production and financial planning of the project.

The inclusion of MIG as the partner responsible for production and final assembly of the new aircraft provides an indication of the high priority that the Russian government attaches to the project. Assuming that the decision is made for the project to go ahead, programme launch for the Tu-334 could be announced in 2003, with certification and availability for the market to follow in 2005.

With cruising speeds of up to 820 km/h, the twinjet Tu-334 will be designed to have a range of 3,150 km, and a planned maximum take-off weight of 49,000 kg. While discussions have been under way for some time regarding the possible use of a BR710 engine on the Tu-334, Rolls-Royce consider the more powerful BR715 to be better suited to the customer requirements. The BR715 is the most environmentally- friendly engine of its class in terms of pollutant and noise emissions. It is designed for short-haul operation, with up to 12 take-offs and landings per day, and is certified to produce between 18,500lb and 21,000lb (82 - 93kN) of thrust.

Stryker is Way of the Future
The Army's new multi-wheeled, armored vehicle, the Stryker, may be lean compared to an Abrams tank, but it's no lightweight. At 38,000 pounds, the Stryker can be airlifted to deploy to hot spots around the globe, said Army Sgt. 1st Class Gary Engelbrecht, who, along with Staff Sgt. John Gemmell Jr., showcased the eighth Stryker off the assembly line to visitors May 9 as part of Public Service Recognition Week activities on the National Mall.

The two 2nd Infantry Division, 3rd Brigade noncommissioned officers from Fort Lewis, Wash., noted that the Stryker's 70-ton cousin, the Abrams, is too heavy to be airlifted, so it deploys by ship, a much slower process. With the Stryker, Engelbrecht explained, "you'll be able to move a whole brigade within 96 hours" and engage the enemy for 72 hours until heavier forces arrive. "It's basically getting the infantry to the battle faster," he added.

The rapid-deployable Stryker can also absorb a licking and keep on ticking.

"You can take up to a .50-caliber 'hit' – it won't penetrate," Engelbrecht said. And, he added, with supplemental armor, the Stryker can face 14.5mm rocket- propelled grenade rounds.

The Stryker's low-slung silhouette and speedy nature also helps it to survive on the battlefield. The vehicle can travel more than 60 mph on hard roads and maintain 45 mph cross-country, Engelbrecht noted. It can bite, too, with either a top-mounted, .50-caliber machine gun or Mark 19 grenade launcher as armament. The gunner operates both weapons via remote control, Engelbrecht said.

Other versions will carry a 105mm gun tube, Engelbrecht noted, for "extra support" to the infantry. "With the 105, the Stryker will be a tank on wheels," he said. Eight wheels are easier to maintain in the field than tracks, Engelbrecht said, adding that the Stryker sports "run-flat" tires.

Hard-rubber inner tires allow Stryker drivers to get blowouts "and still move this thing," Gemmell said. To cross heavy mud or sand, the driver can adjust the tire air-pressure, Gemmell said, adding that with 8-wheel-drive and posi-traction, the Stryker is one nimble beast. "It's great for getting out of the mud puddles," he said, noting the Stryker can twist and turn "like a pollywog to get out of a tough situation."

Gemmell noted that the old, slow, M-113-based infantry carriers had trouble keeping up with Abrams tanks on the move. The Stryker, he said, has no problem doing so. The Stryker "is a survivor" and "the absolute way of the future" … for combined arms, quick-reaction missions, Gemmell noted.

Although the Stryker is an outstanding vehicle, it isn't replacing the Abrams tank, which the Army will have "for quite a while," Engelbrecht noted. "This is a medium-weight vehicle to get our units to the fight a lot faster," he said.

US Air Force in Boeing Tanker Conundrum
The US Air Force is at the centre of a political furore because of a lease or buy dilemma regarding the upgrade of its mid-air refuelling capability. The Air Force is currently in negotiations with manufacturer Boeing over the possible leasing of 100 converted 767's to replace ageing tankers on the premise that it would avoid yet another costly acquisition process. However, a report from the Congressional Budget Office indicates that this proposed solution may actually be far more costly than a straightforward acquisition process.

In findings revealed in a letter to Senator McCain reviewing the respective costs for possible alternatives for modernising the Air Force Tanker fleet the CBO estimated that the cost for pursuing a purchasing option for 100 tankers that would enter service between 2005 and 2011 would be around "$25 billion in current dollars over the 2003-2020 period and $20 billion in net present value terms". This includes running costs for the aircraft between 2005 and 2020. This compares favourably with the CBO estimate for the leasing option over a similar period. "Overall, CBO estimates that pursuing this option would cost about $37 billion in current dollars over the 2003-2020 period and $24 billion in net present value terms."

The revelations over the cost of leasing replacement tankers have led to claims that the proposal is merely a way of giving Boeing a government subsidy in the wake of the economic downturn after 11 September and Lockheed Martin's success on the Joint Strike Fighter programme. There is also doubt over the pressing need for the Air Force to upgrade its tanker fleet. There was no mention of the purchase of 100 tanker aircraft on the Air Forces's top 60 budget priorities last year.

Boeing has been quick to leap to the defence of the leasing concept. In a letter to the editor of the US News & World Report, signed by Virnell Bruce Vice President of Boeing's Washington Operations and Doug Kennett Vice President Boeing Military Aircraft & Missiles, Boeing pointed out that no deal had yet been signed and that the leasing option did have advantages.

"The real comparison confronting our nation's leaders is whether to begin this tanker replacement process now, through leasing, or wait and begin the traditional procurement process in fiscal year 2011, as originally planned - when the cost of any aircraft will be higher. In fact, it is less costly for the Air Force to begin now with a lease -- giving Congress the option to purchase the aircraft at the end for the residual value -- than to wait and begin purchasing tankers in FY 2011."

Speculation will continue until the Air Force makes a decision one way or the other, however, if it does opt for leasing aircraft there will be some searching questions asked on Capitol Hill in the light of the latest findings.

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