Daily News
by Gail Helmer

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Tuesday June 18, 2002

PC News
Beta Testers Needed for Battlefield 1942
Electronic Arts is looking for 50 good gamers to help test, Battlefield 1942. In order to qualify, you're required to have at least a Pentium III 800 MHz, 128 MB of RAM and a DirectX compatible video card that's capable of transform and lighting (for example: NVIDIA's GeForce 2). You MUST include the speed of your computer, amount of system RAM, and type of video card you have when sending in this email. Click here to send email.

IGI 2: Covert Strike Multiplayer Revealed
Codemaster's has revealed the details on multiplayer, with new screenshots, from its upcoming first-person shooter, IGI2: Covert Strike. IGI2 will deliver a full team-oriented multiplayer mode, with squads of up to eight players on both sides.

Gameplay pits IGI operatives against terrorist groups from around the globe. The varied multi-objective based gameplay will include hacking data satellites to launching space shuttles, bombing oil refineries and escorting convoys. Reconnaissance elements provide for a new style of FPS multiplayer gaming, blending stealth and surveillance with action and gunplay.

The game will contain a series of multiplayer maps utilising an advanced version of Innerloop's proprietary engine, which delivers excellent indoor locations and expansive outdoor environments.Throughout the locations, surveillance cameras can spot players and relay locations – sneaking past these will not always be easy. Remote sentry guns, electronic doors and shutters will feature and whichever team can establish control over these will prove vital for their supremacy.

Each player will have access to a cash reserve. However, buying a new weapon from the game’s arsenal of 30 realistic arms isn't the only way to spend the cash. Players will also have to think about purchasing more specialist kit and paying to re-enter the game if killed. However, the cost to players to buy themselves back into the game decreases over time to zero. This presents players with the tactical choice of spending all their cash on a quick re-entry and buying little hardware, or waiting for the time to expire and rejoining play tooled up – but that could be too late. Once the cash has been paid, the location where a player opts to be respawned adds a further tactical element.

New Screens: Delta Force: Task Force Dagger
We have eight new screenshots from Novalogic's upcoming first person shooter, Delta Force: Task Force Dagger. In development at Zombie Studios, Task Force Dagger is based on missions from Operation Enduring Freedom. Take control as 1 of 10 different Special Forces soldiers over 25 intense and varied missions set in Afghanistan.

Matrox Introduces Parhelia-512
Matrox has announced the first graphics boards based on the revolutionary, new Matrox Parhelia-512 high fidelity GPU. The Parhelia boards offer a 256-bit DDR memory interface and partial compatibility with Microsoft DirectX 9.0. Parhelia graphics adaptors offer 2D and 3D multi-display computing solutions for desktop publishing, web design, software development, digital photography, video editing and gaming.

All Parhelia boards are full-height ATX form factor with two DVI-I connectors integrated on the bracket and offer a variety of display output options including: Dual independent DVI-out at 1600 x 1200 resolution each (165MHz); Dual independent RGB-out at 400MHz each (dual 2048 x 1536 at 85Hz); triple independent RGB-out in extended desktop mode at 3840 x 1024 32bpp; and various mixes of DVI-, RGB- and TV-out. These display configurations are made possible by the standard bundling of three cables and adaptors including one Y-shaped DVI-I to dual HD-15 cable, one DVI-I to HD-15 adaptor, and one HD-15 to S-video and composite cable.

The Parhelia boards are AGP 4X devices capable of accelerating 3D graphics across three monitors. All boards offer a range of 2D and 3D features including 10-bit GigaColor Technology, four quad-textured pixels rendered per clock, 64 Super Sample Texture Filtering, 16x Fragment Antialiasing, Glyph Antialiasing, a Quad DirectX 9 Vertex Shader Array, a 36-op pixel shader array and more.

For the ultimate gaming experience, Matrox Parhelia boards uniquely offer Surround Gaming for three- display game play, providing the most immersive 3D experience for many popular gaming titles including: Flight Simulator 2002, by Microsoft Corporation; Quake III Arena™, by Id Software™/ Activision®; Return to Castle Wolfenstein, by Gray matter and Id Software, Inc./Activision; Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast™, by Raven Software/LucasArts® Entertainment Company LLC; Unreal® Tournament 2003, by Digital Extremes and Epic Games, Inc./Atari®; Imperium Galactica 3: Genesis, by Philos Laboratories/CDV Software Entertainment AG, and many, many more.

Parhelia graphics boards will be available with 128MB of DDR memory in both retail and bulk packaging. The retail packaged version of the board will have an estimated street price of $399. Both versions are expected to begin shipment June 30. Matrox also plans to bring a 64MB and a 256MB version of the Parhelia to market later this summer.

Military News
DOD And Netherlands Formalize JSF Agreement
Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Edward C. "Pete" Aldridge Jr. and the Netherlands Secretary of State for Defense Henk A.L. van Hoof today exchanged signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) documents committing the Netherlands to participation in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) system development and demonstration (SDD) phase. The Netherlands will invest $800 million [€ 848 million] in the SDD effort. The Netherlands has been part of the JSF program since 1997.

For the past two and a half years the Netherlands conducted a rigorous technical and financial analysis of potential candidates to replace its F-16s. In both assessments, the JSF was ranked first. Van Hoof said that the Netherlands with JSF has focused on the program's overall benefits. "With the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Denmark -- as well as prospective partners Norway, Italy, and Turkey -- the JSF program has a broad and firm base on both sides of the Atlantic. That makes me very confident."

The Joint Strike Fighter, as the largest ever U.S. DoD acquisition program, is also setting new standards in development of manufacturing technologies, acquisition and business practices, technology transfer, and export licensing. In April 2002, the U.S. Department of Defense and The Netherlands Ministry of Defense signed a declaration of principles to ameliorate information exchange, promote closer defense cooperation, and improve access to each others' defense markets. The JSF program will benefit from and assist in the implementation of this U.S.-Dutch declaration of principles initiative.

Huge market for Light Gun Mk2
Learning lessons from Afghanistan, where the 105mm Light Gun with 'clever' munitions is the weapon of choice for light forces operations, BAE Systems RO Defence is looking at developing a Mk2 version of the weapon system.

"The key markets are airmobile and airborne forces," Bob Preddy, head of product marketing for RO Defence, told the Eurosatory Daily. "The Americans may want to rebarrel and create a virtually new weapon, perhaps increasing the barrel calibre but keeping the weight to around 3,000lb. The three drivers are: weight reduction, range increase and accuracy improvement."

With the aim of driving down costs, RO Defence might move much of the production outside the UK, perhaps leaving the barrels to be manufactured at Barrow-in-Furness. The export history of Light Gun to date is impressive, with 16 forces using it. About 1,000 are in service, including those produced under licence in Australia and the US, but it is to Central and Eastern Europe that manufacture might move.

Another possibility is working with Denel to create a weapon with a new 105mm barrel and using the UFH (Ultra-lightweight Field Howitzer) carriage. Meanwhile, the British Army will keep the Light Gun in service until around 2020 with technology injections.

The British Army is looking at creating a mixture of rocket and gun artillery under the LMAWS (Light Mobile Artillery Weapon System) programme which could include the Light Gun Mk2, as well as the XM777 UFH and lightweight MLRS. The last development is contracted to RO Defence and Insys, the former Hunting Engineering.

Fire Scout Successfully Completes U.S. Navy Acceptance Test
Northrop Grumman's RQ-8A Fire Scout vertical takeoff and landing tactical unmanned air vehicle (VTUAV) program has achieved another milestone by successfully completing the U.S. Navy's acceptance test of the system's ground control station (GCS) ahead of schedule. The GCS is designed to command and control the Fire Scout air vehicle in support of Navy littoral operations from all air capable ships.

The GCS is now ready for system level, end-to-end testing to include command and control of the Fire Scout technology demonstrator air vehicle later this year at Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif. The air vehicle began flight testing May 19 at China Lake and has successfully completed four flights to date. Flight tests leading up to full system capability will continue into 2003.

Using the Navy's S-280 ground control station shelter, the June 12 test verified integration of all GCS elements including the Rockwell Collins ARC-210 radio, the L3 Communications tactical common data link, Sierra Nevada Corporation's UAV common automatic recovery system, the Raytheon Company's tactical control system software and Northrop Grumman's datalink control processor software.

This ground control station is the first of four to be delivered under the Fire Scout engineering and manufacturing development and low-rate initial production contract. Final integration and testing of the ground control stations are conducted at Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems facility here.

The Fire Scout team recently completed the design, construction and integration of a U.S. Marine Corps S-788 GCS mounted on a HMMVVV ("humvee") for several upcoming technology demonstrations, including at the Farnborough international air show.

Fully autonomous, the Fire Scout Air Vehicle provides intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting within 150 nautical miles of the ground control station and gives commanders a clear real-time view of the battlefield using infrared sensor or electro-optical video. The system has the capability to then direct Navy and Marine weapons accurately to the target with precise target location coordinates or via the payload laser designator.

The air vehicle's position, direction and sensor orientation are instantly recognizable to the two GCS operators, and computerized "point and click" mission planning makes operation virtually error-free. The air vehicle responds to mission changes in midflight, allowing flexibility in meeting the commander's needs.

Fire Scout was designed to respond to emerging Navy and Marine Corps requirements and to replace the aging Pioneer UAV.

Test Firings Validate IRIS-T Performance
Germany's Bodenseewerk Geraetetechnik (BGT) successfully completed the validation test firing campaign with the short-range IRIS-T air-to-air missile. This was the last step in fulfilling the prerequisites for series preparation and initial production lots. According to BGT, the IRIS-T missile has proven its outstanding performance capabilities and will guarantee the European fighter pilots close-in-combat superiority.

The joint government/industry validation test firing campaign included two programmed firings and five seeker guided firings against Meteor Mirach 100/5 target drones at the Salto di Quirra Test Range in Sardinia. The IRIS-T missiles, fired off a F-4F test aircraft of the German WTD 61 test centre in Manching from a variety of aspect angles at targets up to a distance of 10km, scored direct hits in all seeker-guided engagements. Targets and launch aircraft were flying at high subsonic speed and medium altitude. Launches occurred at maximum g-load of the launch aircraft flying at high off-boresight angles. The firings included look down - shoot down scenarios against background clutter.

The IRIS-T is the only newly developed infrared guided missile with an imaging seeker, dogfight optimised motor and combined aerodynamic and thrust vector control.

Development of IRIS-T will be completed on schedule at the end of the year. MoU negotiations between the five governments - Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway and Sweden - and prime contractor BGT are in the final phase. The partners plan to integrate IRIS-T into the Eurofighter, F-16 and JAS 39 Gripen.

Raytheon Unveils Next Generation TOW
Raytheon Electronic Systems has revealed it is working on the TOW Next Generation Anti-Tank Guided Weapon (ATGW) to improve the capabilities of this widely deployed system. Raytheon has so far produced more than 650,000 TOW missiles for the home and export markets. While production has been completed for the US Army (which holds a stock of around 100,000 missiles), production is undertaken as required for export.

Numbers of smaller TOW orders are normally merged to make the contract viable, with exports being made through the US Government's Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme. More than 45 countries use the TOW missile in a variety of air and ground-launched applications.

Raytheon is marketing the TOW 2A and TOW 2B missiles, with the former having a tandem HEAT (High Explosive Anti-Tank) direct attack warhead and the latter featuring two top attack warheads. Both have a maximum range of 3,750m, but extended range versions (4.5km) with shorter flight times are being developed. Guidance is of the semi-automatic command-to-line-of-sight (SACLOS) type in which the gunner has to keep his sight on the target until impact. By extending the range, the survivability of the gunner is enhanced. Successful tests of the extended range TOW 2A and TOW 2B have already been carried out.

In addition, Raytheon has modified the top attack TOW 2B with a more aerodynamic airframe and a radio frequency command guidance link, which eliminates the wire and extends the missile range to 4.5km.

Under contract to the US Government, Raytheon is also developing the TOW Bunker Buster, which has been designed to penetrate concrete bunkers, making a hole large enough for infantry to pass through.

According to Raytheon, TOW NG and Bunker Buster are fully compatible with existing launchers, while the TOW RF has been designed for use by the latest Improved TOW Acquisition System (ITAS), which is already in production and service with the US Army and has been selected by Canada.

European Debut For Thermal Imaging Rifle Sight
FLIR Systems is showing its new SnipIR Thermal Imaging Rifle Sight for the first time in Europe. Although introduced to defence markets only six months ago, this has already sold to at least two customers and is in series production at the rate of up to 50 per month.

SnipIR is comfortably manportable, weighing just 2kg, and is fully ruggedised to withstand the harshest environmental conditions. Mounted on top of and viewed through the weapon's dayscope, SnipIR's excellent long-range performance and thermal sensitivity enable users to detect man-sized targets far in excess of conventional thermal or image-intensified sights.

Its cryogenically cooled imager is powered by a single D cell lithium battery, which allows more than four hours' continuous operation and, even during daylight hours, enables operators to fuse the visible light image from the dayscope with the SnipIR's thermal imager. Most current small arms enhanced sighting systems rely on image intensifier technology, which works most effectively at night.

By contrast, thermal imaging sighting systems offer much greater range and sensitivity and are better at coping with bad weather and smoke. Previously these have mostly been applied to larger crew-served weapons such as anti-tank missiles, where weight and bulk are less critical. However, SnipIR is light and compact enough to clip directly onto the dayscope and has been qualified with the Leupold 10X dayscope and 0.300 Winchester Magnum without disturbing the balance or portability of the rifle.

Fielded systems have been in use for more than 12 months, firing more than 1,000 rounds without failure. Once SnipIR has been boresighted to the dayscope, it can be removed from the weapon and mounted later in the field without tools in a matter of seconds with the standard tri-mount. The SnipIR will retain boresight even after hundreds of rounds have been fired through the system.

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