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by Gail Helmer

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Wednesday June 19, 2002

PC News
New Battlefield 1942 Video
Electronic Arts has released four new video clips from its WWII shooter, Battlefield 1942. Click here to view.

Airborne Assault Ships
Battlefront.com has announced that their newest title, Airborne Assault - Red Devils over Arnhem is now shipping. In “Airborne Assault” players can take command of the British Airborne forces (the “Red Devils”) as they struggle to seize control of the strategic Rhine River crossing at the Dutch town of Arnhem in September 1944 or rally the desperate German forces as they try to repel the airborne invaders. Click here for COMBATSIM.COM's preview of Airborne Assault - Red Devils over Arnhem.

Memory Chip Stocks Fall as U.S. Probes Pricing
LONDON (Reuters) - Micron Technology Inc., Samsung Electronics and Infineon said on Wednesday they were caught up in a U.S probe into alleged anti-competitive practices in the memory chip market, driving their shares lower. Micron, the world's second largest maker of DRAM, said the grand jury subpoena from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California was received on Monday. In the U.S. legal system a grand jury is used to bring a case to court by presenting it with evidence of a crime or a felony. "Micron does not believe it has violated U.S. antitrust laws," Kipp Bedard, the company's vice president of corporate affairs, said in a statement. "The DRAM business is highly competitive and subject to extreme volatility. Competitive forces in today's market have led to DRAM prices reaching unprecedented lows," he added. [More...]

Military News
Report Faults U.S. Pilots in Bombing of Canadians
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A military investigation has found that a U.S. fighter pilot did not follow proper procedures when he mistakenly bombed Canadian troops in Afghanistan in April, killing four soldiers and injuring eight, U.S. military officials said on Wednesday. The officials said the investigation report found that the F-16 pilot, Maj. Harry Schmidt of the Illinois Air National Guard, did not take time to properly assess the threat on the ground before dropping a 500-pound laser-guided bomb. The 1,500-page report recommends that Schmidt and a fellow F-16 pilot, Maj. William Umbach, face an Article 32 hearing that could lead to criminal or other charges against them. Such a hearing is the military version of a civilian grand jury. [More...]

Why Crusader Won't Die Quietly
Crusader, America's new-generation 155mm automated artillery system is designed to bring the US Army's firepower into line with other nations. The company's literature says: "without Crusader, the US will continue to trail many countries in field artillery capability".

For the next 20 years, the US Army, like its European counterparts, will be centred on heavy forces - tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and self-propelled heavy artillery under armour. But critics say the new Crusader is a US$11 billion Cold War legacy. "Crusader is America's MRAV," said a US industrialist. "It is going through the same death throe process. It might take a year." And US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced earlier this month that he wanted to cancel the programme.

Yet United Defense, the prime contractor, of the Crusader and its artillery system family - 155mm self-propelled howitzer, tracked and separate wheeled resupply vehicles. "We are very proud of what we have accomplished with Crusader - the crew stations, robotics and automation," said a United Defense spokesman. In the US, the company is working hard behind closed doors to make sure the project won't die.

Pentagon observers say money spent on developing Crusader technology could be diverted to lightweight systems for its planned Objective Force. US Army plans for the Future Combat System programme focus on a new family of vehicles for service entry from 2008. But that deadline looks a little shaky, too. "It's got to be something that's rumbling today if it's going to make that deadline," said an industry observer.

Besides being bullish about Crusader, United Defense is fighting a rearguard action in the US Congress. A possible compromise would see Crusader technology transferred to FCS or the new medium force 155mm lightweight self-propelled howitzer that the US Army wants to see as a virtual prototype by September next year.

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