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by Gail Helmer

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Tuesday, May 22, 2001

PC News

Post E3 Coverage - Over 150 New Screenshots
Back from Los Angeles, we have posted over 150 screenshots of some of the hottest new titles from E3 2001. The following list are links to the screenshot pages, below the list you'll find the complete game descriptions for each title.

Commandos 2: Men of Courage Screenshots
Commandos 2: Men of Courage is the sequel to Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines, which was released on PC CD-ROM in June 1998 and has since sold over 1 million copies worldwide. The game is being developed by Pyro Studios, Spain, and is due for release in July on PC. Click here for screenshots

Commandos 2 is a tactical action/strategy game set against the backdrop of World War II. The player takes control of an elite group of commandos who must venture deep into enemy territory to complete a series of mission-based objectives in an attempt to change the course of the war. The game incorporates several new features and utilises a completely new 3D game engine, enabling indoor and outdoor locations as well as the ability to rotate the environment. The player is given a huge new playing field and total freedom to explore as no corner is out of reach. Commandos 2 features three new characters, and new geographical environments including Asia, the Arctic, North Africa as well as Europe.


  • Completely new 3D game engine enabling rotatable environments and playable interiors.
  • Commandos now share abilities, however each individual enjoys an unequalled skill.
  • New characters - Lupin, the 'Thief', Natasha, the 'Seductress', and 'Whiskey', the dog have joined the Commandos team.
  • Team members are also now able to carry and exchange objects and weapons.
  • Drive a variety of new vehicles, including jeeps, tanks, trucks, ships, boats and cars. All of the vehicles are based on real models from WWII: a "Willys" jeep, a "Panzer III" tank, a "Mercedes L3000" truck to name a few.
  • New enemy AI behaviour that provides deeper and more engaging gameplay.
  • More Action! Faster paced gameplay, but still requiring careful planning and execution of every mission.
  • Multiplayer modes
Conflict Zone Screenshots
Red Storm Entertainment and Ubi Soft® Entertainment introduce Conflict Zone, a modern-day warfare game, with a taste of reality: public opinion of military actions affect the outcome of every maneuver! Developed in France by M.A.S.A. Release Date: Q3 2001. Click here for screenshots.

Conflict Zone (formerly known as Peacemakers), is a classic 3-D real-time military strategy game with real-life consequences. Players choose to portray the softhearted ICP or the power-hungry GHOSTS. Players will still gather resources, build bases and fight battles, but the use of these resources must be carefully strategize, as the public eye is watching. Television cameras record every move, and if citizens become outraged at a squad's actions, the military's funding will go down and soon, players can lose their command. Engage in either single player or multiplayer campaigns, but plan strategy carefully…they're watching!

By implementing MASA's DirectIA® technology, units in Conflict Zone have very autonomous behavior, reacting intuitively to threats. Additionally, a feature unique to Conflict Zone is the commanders - up to 4 individual commanders can join a players staff, each specializing in a different field. They can be assigned funds for construction, defense, assault, and more, and will act completely independently until their orders change.

Within the 32 missions, players control their environment, ranging from a fully controllable 3D Camera angle, to selecting the type of terrain to patrol. Select stealth mode, where troops will go out of their way to avoid the enemy, aggressive mode, where the slightest hint of enemy involvement is met with all out attack, or can leave troops to move from point to point as quick as possible, and see how opinion develops.

Destroyer Command Screenshots
Enlist in the US Navy to combat the Axis forces! Players take command of Naval Destroyers, patrolling the Atlantic or Pacific Theaters. Based on actual historical missions from WWII, stalk U-boats, swat Kamikaze planes, escort convoys, blast enemy ships, or pound the beaches in support of infantry landings. Scan the treacherous waters, accessing all of the ship's authentic systems. Engage the enemy with an arsenal of weapons, from torpedoes, 40mm cannons, depth charges or 5 inch guns. Release Date: Q3, 2001. Click here for screenshots.

Destroyer Command along with SSI's Silent Hunter II ship simultaneously and are the first 2 separate games to play against each other via the internet. Destroyer Command owners can go on line with friends who are piloting the cunning U-boats of Silent Hunter II and attempt to crush them with the power of their destroyer ship. Whether it's pursing the ultra-realistic historical missions or pounding friends on line, Destroyer Command promises to be the ultimate naval combat experience.

Flight Simulator 2002 Screenshots
"Flight Simulator 2002"Professional Edition is the new version of Microsoft's realistic aviation simulation. Release Date: Fall 2001. Click here for screenshots.

"Flight Simulator 2002" introduces the following new features:

  • Experience interactive Air Traffic Control (ATC) - For the first time, "Flight Simulator 2002" includes realistic, interactive air traffic control. Through pop-up menus and key commands, players ask for permission to taxi, take off and land, plus request en route clearances and vectors for instrument approaches. ATC responds with verbal instructions.
  • Marvel at auto-generated scenery - When flying above cities, towns, farmland, and dramatic landscapes, "Flight Simulator 2002" automatically adds buildings and vegetation appropriate to the terrain below. Office buildings, factories, homes, farmhouses, and trees smoothly blend in at the horizon and fill the areas with detail that adds unprecedented depth and reality to "Flight Simulator 2002."
  • Fly in crowded skies - While the auto-generated 3-D objects fill in details below, a new artificial intelligence system generates air traffic around and between airports.
  • Experience stunning aircraft models and special effects - The new aircraft lineup in "Flight Simulator 2002" includes amazing visual details and subtle shading and lighting effects. Many special effects that made "Combat Flight Simulator 2" so exciting are now in "Flight Simulator 2002." Players will see contrails from high-altitude jets, dramatic lighting effects and puffs of smoke from tires at touchdown.
  • Fly new aircraft - "Flight Simulator 2002" includes the aircraft users have requested most. Climb into the cockpit of a Boeing 747-400 jumbo jet and fly in real time across the ocean or fly a bush pilot adventure in the Cessna Caravan on amphibious floats. New players can begin flying careers in the world's most popular trainer, the Cessna 172S Skyhawk.
  • Enhanced virtual cockpits - With a 3-D graphics card, players can fly many "Flight Simulator 2002" aircraft from a new perspective - 3-D cockpits with working instruments.
  • Flight analysis - Pilots work to improve their skills and enthusiasts looking for new challenges and bragging rights can check the precision of their flying. Maps and graphs show how well virtual pilots maintained their course, altitude and speed. "Flight Simulator 2002" Professional Edition also includes a multiplayer "instructor's station" for pilots who want to take on anything that a wily instructor can throw at them.
  • New lessons and challenging flights - The addition of a floatplane and other aircraft opens many possibilities for engaging activities. Players can be a bush pilot over Alaska, fly a 747 or earn an instrument rating in the Cessna Skyhawk. New and expanded lessons and flights help new players get into "Flight Simulator 2002" for the first time while challenging experienced "Flight Simulator" pilots.
  • Included tools for add-on developers - "Flight Simulator 2002" features gMax, a 3-D modeling tool from Discreet. Add-on developers can create scenery objects using an industry standard format. Also included is a vastly improved Flight Dynamics Editor that makes modifying and creating "Flight Simulator" aircraft much easier.
Global Operations Screenshots
Global Operations is an action game with realistic weapons and backdrops built from the ground up for the multiplayer experience. With a wide variety of mission styles, including hostage rescue, bomb defusing, territory control, VIP escort, base destruction, assassination, and assault/defend. Developed by Barking Dog Studios and published by Crave Entertainment. Release Date: Q3, 2001. Click here for screenshots

Key Features:

  • Expansive, Immersive World
  • 16 diverse real world locations spanning the globe
  • 32 elite fighting forces based on special forces, peace keepers, rebel groups, guerilla forces, terrorist groups
  • 36 real weapons from handguns to sniper rifles and all the tools of trade including grenades, night vision goggles, and explosives
  • Team Based Action
  • Unique commander mode acts as the eyes and ears of the team and directs troops to hot spots
  • Morale meter gives damage, accuracy, and defense bonus to teams in close proximity
  • 6 customizable specialties to reinforce team roles, including snipers, commandos, and heavy gunners
  • Integrated voice communication and powerful radio command system
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Smart adaptive bots to round out squads
  • Changing weather effects including wind, rain, snow, hail, fog etc.
  • Parametric skeletal animation featuring animation blending and sequence layering, resulting in hundreds of thousands of potential animation frames
IL-2 Sturmovik Screenshots
IL2 Sturmovik provides gamers with a fantastic backdrop for flying - either in the pilot's seat or as a rear gunner (IL-2 plane types only) - in 23 different types of plane, some of which are being simulated for the first time ever. Choose from the what the Soviets referred to as their "black death" or "flying tank," the IL-2 Sturmovik; the high altitude fighter and interceptor, MiG-3, the rear gunner, IL-2M Type-2; P-39s, and Bf-109s. Each aircraft is an accurate model of their respective plane and their flying behavior. Release Date: Q3, 2001. Click here for screenshots.

Lock On: Modern Air Combat Screenshots
Lock ON: Modern Air Combat combines a broad scope of game play that includes a dynamic battle generator, an immersive combat environment, robust multi-player options, and in-your-face action. Players will feel at home in the cockpit of these world-class fighters and they can easily jump into authentic combat action. Each aircraft is rendered in exceptional detail and performs just like its real world counterpart. Players can choose from eight U.S. and Russian jets that range from tank killing A-10 Warthogs and ground- pounding Su-25 Frogfoots to air superiority fighters like the F-15C Eagle and the Su-27 Flanker. Release Date: Q3, 2001. Click here for screenshots.

Intuitive and in-depth training missions will instruct players on the basics and advanced tactics of aerial engagements, navigation and weapons use. A large host of options will allow players to customize a rich single player campaign or take advantage of a powerful multi-player experience. Both offensive and defensive AI will indulge the player in heated dogfights and grueling maneuvers. In multi-player mode, players can take to the skies to go head-to-head or join up for cooperative play. Players will defend their airspace, secure new strategic positions, or "down-bogies" as they effectively accomplish each mission.

Players are immersed with realistic sights and sounds that make them feel a tangible sense of speed as their jet screams through the sky. While flying over lush landscapes and scenery, players will be jolted by concussion waves and turbulence. Meticulously detailed terrain mapping covers a gloriously 3D rendered landscape. Filled with intense action combat and flexible game options, Lock ON: Air Combat will provide unlimited gameplay to novice and veteran flight sim fans alike.

MechCommander 2 Screenshots
Players take command of an entire company of mercenary MechWarriors™ and wage a battle of supremacy against three warring noble houses. Packing the heat of up to 16 MechWarriors, each capable of wielding up to 100 tons of "Mechanized" death, the MechCommander rules the battlefield from above, imposing his strategic will and mastering all he surveys. "MechCommander 2" offers players a real-time game of power, combat and treachery set in the BattleTech® universe. Players must use their strategic knowledge and tactical skills to change the balance of power in a region of space known as the Chaos March. Release Date: July 2001. Click here for screenshots.

Key Features:

  • Command enormous BattleMechs™ - From an orbital dropship, players command up to 16 BattleMechs - from the nimble Raven, equipped with sensors and electronic countermeasures, to the massive Atlas, bristling with deadly firepower. Players can choose from some of the most popular 'Mechs™ in BattleTech history or opt for one of four new 'Mechs never seen before in the BattleTech universe.
  • Put the right MechWarrior in the right 'Mech for the mission - Leverage the unique strengths of each 'Mech and each MechWarrior to create tactical advantages. Players customize units and train pilots to create the ultimate pairing of man and machine. Players can also use sensor 'Mechs to uncover enemy locations, long range 'Mechs to weaken incoming assaults and jump 'Mechs to bypass enemy fortifications.
  • Players have the power to use and take what they want - By capturing weapons facilities and refitting 'Mechs with superior new technology, players can lay siege to turret control buildings, watch their enemy's 'Mechs get cut to pieces by their own defenses or grab a downed enemy's 'Mech for reverse retaliation in the same mission. Whether calling in an air strike to forestall defeat or pressing home for victory, "MechCommander 2" gives players the ultimate control.
  • Fully 3-D, state-of-the-art terrain determines player tactics and provides maximum impact - Sensors, probes and scouts become vital strategic elements when faced with varying geography. Players knock down trees, blow through walls, jump-jet onto cliffs and crush anything standing in their way. Players can move from epic scale to up close and personal with easy-to-use camera controls that provide the best battlefield views. Night missions add atmosphere and a new game-play dimension.
  • Players can launch extensive, persistent campaigns - Through each successive mission, 'Mech pilots increase their skills, graduating from fresh-faced metal jockeys to elite MechWarriors capable of taking on the most dangerous enemies. Players can also take full advantage of emerging weapons, armor and other custom upgrades to ensure their position on the cutting edge of destruction.
  • Expanded multiplayer capability - Multiplayer supports up to eight players over the Internet, the Zone.com or a local area network (LAN). Multiplayer functionality includes new mission types, cooperative play versus A.I. and a quick-start feature to rapidly jump into the action.
  • Put a personal stamp on BattleTech - Players create their own missions using the same tools employed by the "MechCommander 2" level designers. Players can create and trade missions with friends over the Internet and on fan Web sites.
Medal of Honor Allied Assault Screenshots
Set during the most trying years of the war, 1942-1945, Medal of Honor Allied Assault, from Electronic Arts, gives players a sense of the courage it took to survive the landings at Normandy, the assault at Arzew, a rendezvous with the Resistance outside the village of St. Lo, and the push through the heavily defended border of Germany itself to take the bridge at Remagen. Release Date: Fall 2001. Click here for screenshots.

Staying true to all the gameplay features that made Medal of Honor™ one of the most acclaimed and best-selling games launched in 1999, Medal of Honor Allied Assault will build on the success of that game and add new player weapons, new interactive Allied vehicles such as Sherman tanks and M3 Half Tracks, smarter enemy AI, and the ability to call for artillery strikes. Medal of Honor Allied Assault is headquartered in Cabinet War Rooms at Whitehall, dispatching players on numerous campaigns, each with specific objectives to meet in terms of infiltration, execution and exfiltration. Missions will be based in the deserts of North Africa, on the bloody shores of France, across the tundra of Norway, and, ultimately, over the Rhine into Nazi Germany. These missions range from silencing the gun batteries at Port Arzew, to sabotaging U-boats at the sub pens of Trondheim, surviving the landing at Omaha Beach, and finally, holding the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen- the only battle where the Germans used their dreaded V2 rockets in a tactical capacity Key Features:

  • Over 20 levels that the player must accomplish specific objectives and goals in order to succeed and advance.
  • Fully realized 3-D worlds utilizing the powerful Quake® III engine.
  • Over 1000 unique character animations for unsurpassed level of realism.
  • Multiple online options including team combat and traditional last man standing modes.
  • Encounters with 22 different enemies including Wehrmacht Snipers, Kradschützen Motorcycle Troops, and Gestapo Officers.
  • Access to over 21 historically accurate World War II era weapons, including Thompson submachine guns, Mark II Frag Grenades, .50 al mounted machine guns, flame-throwers, and "sticky bombs".
  • Four different stationary weapons that the player can use against the enemy.
  • All new interactive vehicles including the M4 Sherman tank and the M3 Half Track.
  • More than 18 enemy vehicles including the Tiger Mark I Heavy Tank, Stuka Dive Bombers, and V2 Rockets.
  • Weather and time-of-day effects.
  • Assault enemy units alone and as part of a crack military squad.
  • Special 'disguise' mode that allows players to put on enemy uniforms to evade capture.
  • Highly destructible interactive environments.
  • Original orchestral score by Medal of Honor composer Michael Giacchino.
  • Sound effects by the award winning Medal of Honor sound design team at EALA.
Operations Flashpoint Screenshots
Gamers are caught in the grips of the Cold War, where a new Soviet regime led by Mikhail Gorbachev, polarizes the political and social ideologies of the country. Having seized control of an island community, underground resistance groups have mobilized in opposition to the new policies of perstroika and glasnost. The new Soviet government, unable to fight the resistance, calls upon NATO to act as a peacekeeping force and help restore order to the region. NATO responds with Operation Flashpoint. Players assume the role of an exiled Soviet turned NATO private who has returned to combat the forces that drove him out of his homeland. Operation Flashpoint presents players with one of the most unique, realistic and complete battle experiences to ever appear on the PC platform. Genre classifications are ignored as players transition from ground battles to commandeering vehicles to piloting airborne gun ships, all the while moving up through the ranks within their unit. As players advance in rank, they are able to issue orders to their squad mates via an easy-to-use keyboard command system. Release Date: August 2001. Click here for screenshots.


  • Gameplay offers both a progressive mission-based campaign and a full mission editor
  • 8 player multiplayer combat over LAN and Internet
  • Advanced squad-management system enables players to efficiently issue orders to squad members
  • True-to-life models and physics provide the most realistic combat experience to date in a PC game
  • Built in featured mission editor allows gamers to create and share missions and campaigns
  • 1st and 3rd person views
  • Players control mobile, armored air and ground based military vehicles including the UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopter, A-10 Thunderbolt Jet, UAZ 469b Jeep, M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank and SCUD Launcher
  • Real time lighting and weather, including accurate star constellations for navigation
Rogue Spear: Black Thorn Screenshots
Tom Clancy's Rogue Spear: Black Thorn is a new stand-alone mission pack that will be one of the greatest challenges the RAINBOW team has had to face. The world has seen copycat killers before, but for the first time copycat terrorists are recreating some of the most dangerous terrorist acts that have plagued our past. They may not take place in the same location, but the RAINBOW team will be face-to-face with the same tactical situations that made headlines in the past. The players must discover if the acts are random or if there is a single mastermind controlling this deadly operation. Pay close attention to the details received from intelligence and don't repeat the same mistakes that were made in the past. Click here for screenshots.

Silent Hunter II Screenshots
Set in the dangerous waters of WWII's Atlantic, Silent Hunter II plunges players into riveting historic campaigns. This highly detailed 3D world features exact replicas of WWII era ships, aircraft and submarines. Players experience an ultra-realistic naval combat environment with highly accurate ship motion, weapons systems and response to weather effects. Adjustable difficulty and realism settings make this game accessible to beginner and expert alike. Release Date: Q3, 2001. Click here for screenshots.

Silent Hunter II ships simultaneously with SSI's Destroyer Command and are the first 2 separate games to play against each other via the internet. Silent Hunter II owners can go on line with friends who are piloting the naval destroyers of Destroyer Command and attempt to crush them with the power of their submarine. Whether it's pursing the ultra-realistic historical missions or stalking friends on line, Silent Hunter II promises to be the ultimate naval combat experience.

Thunderstrike: Operation Phoenix Screenshots
Although developed for the PS2, Thunderstrike: Operation Phoenix, published by Eidos, now harnesses the power of next-generation console technology. Release Date: Winter 2001. Click here for screenshots.

The gunship is equipped with the latest in weapons technology (attack & defense) including a Gun-Ship Sniper, Night Vision and Guided Missiles. Simulated AWACS (airborne warning and control system) also feature, providing the player with realtime tactical updates. Levels of additional support include Infantry, Tank Battalions and Air Units, all of which add to a realistic and fast-paced battlefield experience.

With full 3D and logistical freedom, action is based on military manouevres ranging from full-scale war campaigns to self-contained missions. Bonus missions are available after success in a given campaign or key-mission. Options also exist to steal or salvage enemy weapons and/or technologies to upgrade the power and efficiency of the Phoenix and its support units. Available items include Electro Magnetic Pulse rockets, Shock-Wave bombs, Disruptors and Turbo boosts etc. Gameplay comprises single player 'Arcade' and 'Campaign' modes and multiplayer 'Cooperative' mode.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Screenshots
In Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon™ you are invited to lead this brand-new squad as they focus on covert military strikes and international peacekeeping missions that do not always go as planned. You and your team conduct extensive missions on foot, but you'll occasionally have assistance from troops in tanks, helicopters and close air support. Release Date: Q4, 2001. Click here for screenshots.

The Ghosts are also the guinea pig squad for testing the Army's latest and greatest equipment and weaponry while under fire. You'll have access to the latest weapons such as an M-16 assault rifle with a grenade launcher mounted underneath. Or, you could be responsible for the M-136 Anti-Tank Rocket that you'll carry on your back. Firepower this intense would knock a normal soldier off his feet in a second. Featuring brand new game and 3-D engines, Ghost Recon™ marks Red Storm's return to the 'Squad based tactical shooter' genre for the first time since 1999's Tom Clancy's Rogue Spear™.

Aces High 1.07 Screenshots
HiTech Creations has posted new Aces High 1.07 Screen shots. Click here for the iL2 Type 3. Click here for the upcoming manable field acks and shore batteries for 1.07.

Military News

Northrop Grumman Filed Hart-Scott-Rodino Premerger Notification
On May 18, 2001 Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) filed notification with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission of its intention to acquire Newport News Shipbuilding, in compliance with the premerger notification requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976.

Northrop Grumman announced on May 9, 2001, that it had sent a letter to Newport News Shipbuilding offering to acquire Newport News Shipbuilding and that it expected to commence an exchange offer shortly.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $15 billion global aerospace and defense company with its worldwide headquarters in Los Angeles. Northrop Grumman provides technologically advanced, innovative products, services and solutions in defense and commercial electronics, systems integration, information technology and non-nuclear shipbuilding and systems. With 80,000 employees and operations in 44 states and 25 countries, Northrop Grumman serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial users.

RAAF Test Fires New AMRAAM Missiles
The Royal Australian Air Force successfully fired two AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missiles (AMRAAM) from its F/A-18 Hornets at the Woomera Instrumented Range earlier this month. The firings were the first for a weapon of this nature in the Australian region and both missiles successfully struck their targets.

The AMRAAM is a software controlled, radar-guided missile that gives pilots the ability to 'launch and leave' and to track multiple targets during a single engagement. The firings at Woomera formed a key milestone in the test and evaluation programme that will lead to acceptance of the AMRAAM missile to meet the RAAF's Beyond Visual Range missile requirement.

"The F/A-18 and AMRAAM combination forms an essential building block for achievement of the Government's air combat capability goals, outlined in the Defence White Paper," Project Director Group Captain Graeme Cooper said.

The AMRAAM, produced by Raytheon in the United States, is being procured by the Defence Materiel Organisation under Project AIR5400 from the US Government, via foreign military sales. The first tranche of missile deliveries against the contract with Raytheon was completed earlier this year, several months ahead of schedule. Formal introduction of the missile into service is on schedule for the end of this year.

Type 45 Platform Design Centre Opened
The new Type 45 Platform Design Centre (PDC) at Scotstoun, Glasgow, has been officially opened by Rear Admiral Tim McClement, Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff. The PDC houses designers from both BAE Systems and Vosper Thornycroft. Their responsibilities include designing the structure of the ship utilising the latest Finite Element Analysis Software, and using Computer Aided Design (CAD) technology to design the systems and accommodation. The platform will ensure that the Type 45 is easy to support and is the Royal Navy's most habitable ship.

"The opening of this facility is a major step forward in the programme. With the defence environment now one of considerable uncertainty and tight budgets we need a robust design which will last the ships for their lifetime, without the necessity for major rework in order to incorporate the changes of equipment which are bound to be needed as defence requirements change." Said Brian Phillipson, managing director Type 45.

As Prime Contractor for Type 45, BAE Systems is the design authority for the entire ship, including all the necessary equipment and systems, with the exception of the Principal Anti-Air Missile System (PAAMS) which was ordered by the Ministry of Defence under a separate contract.

"The opening of these well equipped offices at the Scotstoun shipyard adds impetus to the Type 45 programme," commented Simon Kirby, managing director, BAE Systems Marine.

Once the designs have passed through the initial review stage, scheduled for the final quarter of this year, the team will be expanded to include additional designers from BAE Systems Marine and Vosper Thornycroft.

"The design team from VT and BAE Systems have already formed a close working relationship. The PDC will help to develop further the spirit of collaboration that is fundamental to the success of the Type 45 project," added Vosper Thornycroft Shipbuilding managing director Andrew Bunney.

"With people from the Prime Contract Office, Marine, Vosper Thornycroft and the Ministry of Defence all working together as one team, we have a massive amount of expertise and experience being deployed on the Type 45 programme. Furthermore, having the Platform Design Centre at Scotstoun, where the First of Class HMS Daring will be built, enables a close working relationship to be developed between the designers and the manufacturers. Such integration is essential in making this programme work." concluded Brian Phillipson.

Type 45 is an Anti Air Warfare Destroyer, which in concert with the projected Future Carrier, will provide the backbone of the Royal Navy's air defences for much of the first half of the century. It will provide warships carriers and the auxiliaries and merchant ships that support them with protection against air, surface and subsurface threats. It will also be a multi-role, general-purpose platform capable of a wide range of tasks. The first Type 45, HMS Daring, is due to enter service in 2007.

RemoteReality Developing Periscope Imaging System For US Navy
RemoteReality has announced that the Office of Naval Research (ONR), an agency of the Department of Defense, has selected the Company to provide high-resolution 360-degree imaging capability for submarine periscopes. Under terms of the 16-month contract, RemoteReality will work with engineers at the Naval Undersea Warfare Centre in Newport, R.I., to jointly develop an omni-directional imaging system that will provide submarines with 360-degree day and night vision capabilities.

"While the Navy has used periscope technology for a long time, we have found that most periscopes have a very limited field of view," said Rear Admiral Jay Cohen. "RemoteReality's technology could provide us with a high-resolution system to observe the submarine's entire 360-degree periphery and improve our situational awareness."

This contract with the ONR is an outgrowth of RemoteReality's focus on omni-directional video imaging for industrial and commercial uses. Together with systems integrators, RemoteReality is developing 360-degree imaging technology to address security and monitoring applications, including home security, forensic imaging, surveillance, law enforcement and emergency management systems.

CACI To Support Air Force Air Armament Centre
CACI International Inc has announced that it has been awarded a $21 million contract by Sverdrup Technology, Inc., of Tullahoma, Tennessee, to support the Technical and Engineering Acquisition Support (TEAS) contract for the Air Force Air Armament Centre at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

With two base years and three option years, the subcontract gives CACI a key role in helping to develop, test, and field tactical weapon systems for the Air Force. The award expands CACI's partnership with the Air Force and furthers the growth of its business within the military intelligence community.

CACI's role on TEAS is to deliver engineering services for a broad range of air-launched weapon systems, including systems in the areas of electronic warfare and C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance). CACI support will include weapon system development, testing, and evaluation, through acquisition and sustainment in the field.

Specific CACI tasks could include establishing guidance and control algorithms for air-to-air and air-to-ground missile systems; simulating aircraft weapons launching to evaluate performance without costly field testing; and developing processes and systems that help air operations centres better monitor and control weapons and communicate with forces in the field. The company will also provide advisory services to represent the Air Force in monitoring the performance of weapons manufacturers for adherence to design specifications.

MP Reith Praises Global Hawk Progamme
Australian Defence Minister Peter Reith MP has praised Australian scientists for their part in the successful Global Hawk programme. He cited the Global Hawk Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle (UAV), which recently completed the first unmanned Trans-Pacific flight from the USA to Australia, as an example of the ongoing collaborative work between Australia and its defence allies.

"It is very gratifying to see that Australian scientific expertise is not only playing a big part in the defence of our country but is sought after and valued by our allies, particularly the United States." Said Reith, in a speech delivered at RAAF Edinburgh on Friday.

"The Global Hawk deployment to Australia is a good example of collaboration on a technology that could result in enhanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities for Australia," added Reith.

Following the recent developments in New Zealand's defensive downsizing, Reith also took the opportunity to stress his government's determination to expand Australia's air defence capabilities.

"Within the next few years, Defence's wide area surveillance system will provide the potential for ongoing real-time coverage of our northern air and sea approaches. This system will be fully integrated with other national coastal surveillance capabilities resulting in comprehensive coverage of all air and sea movements along our shores."

Although the Minister did not confirm that Global Hawk would become a part of the current framework, he did outline a timeframe and costing details with regard to the programme. "The Government intends to make a final decision on the acquisition - at a cost of between $100 and 250m - in 2004/05," he said.

Final Free Flight For X-40 Space Plane
The X-40A vehicle has successfully performed a seventh, and final, free flight test at Dryden Flight Research Centre at Edwards, Calif. The X-40A was lifted by an Army Chinook helicopter to an altitude of 15,005 feet (4,574 meters) and released, reaching a speed of 304 mph (486 kilometres per hour), to complete the test when the wheels rolled to a stop at 6:17 a.m. PDT.

The X-40A test objectives repeated vehicle manoeuvres from an earlier free flight test, monitoring vehicle performance during roll and yaw adjustments - when the vehicle is rotated and moved side to side during flight.

The X-40A's free flight and landing tests are being conducted as part of NASA's X-37 program, intended to reduce the risk of flight testing the X-37 experimental re-entry vehicle. The X-37 will enable NASA to test advanced technologies in the harsh environment of space and in returning through Earth's atmosphere. The X-40A is an 85 percent scale version of the X-37.

The X-40A test vehicle, on loan from the Air Force, was built for the Air Force by The Boeing Company at its Seal Beach, Calif., facility. It was free flight tested once before, in August 1998 at Holloman Air Force Base in southern New Mexico, for the Air Force's Space Manoeuvre Vehicle program.

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