Daily News
by Gail Helmer

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Thursday, June 07, 2001

PC News

Falcon 4.0 Balkan Theater Announced
On June 18th, 2001, the F4Terrain Team will release the first all new and complete add-on theater for Falcon 4.0, The Balkan 'Powderkeg' Theater. The Balkan Theater v1.0 release additions includes a completely tiled and populated terrain, an all new and fully dynamic air and ground campaign, proper ATC calls for all the new airbases, and many more exciting additions. This theater has been released with the consent and support of Force 12 and G2 Interactive. G2 Interactive has encouraged the completion of this theater and will permit continued support and development.

Aura Interactor Vests
Back in March 1999 we reviewed the "Aura Systems Interactor Vest" that provides sensory feedback through a vest. Because of other business involvements at the time of their release Aura didn't receive the attention needed. As a result, sales were slow and the company dropped the products after a year or so. Since this review we have received hundreds of emails from readers asking us where they could buy the Aura Systems Interactor Vest---until today we had no idea.

We have now learned that O'Shea Ltd, purveyors of manufacturers' closeouts, has over 6,000 of the vests for only $20.00 US + Shipping. Original retail was $139.00! Click here if your interested.

NVIDIA 12.41 Drivers Released
NVIDIA has released new "Detonator3 v12.41" drivers, which provide unified support for all of the company's graphics products, from the TNT2 to the GeForce3. Until today, the most recent official update had been version 6.50. The 12.41 drivers fully support DirectX 8, including the special effects introduced by the GeForce3. The drivers are ready to work with Windows XP, Microsoft's next operating system expected late this year, and also provide performance enhancements for Nvidia's Quadro workstation graphics chips. Click here to download from NVIDIA.

Athlon Hits 1.4GHz
AMD announced the 1.4 GHz AMD Athlon processor and a 950MHz Duron. While AMD has already shipped mobile and multiprocessor versions of Athlon 4, also known as Palomino, the new desktop Athlon still uses the Thunderbird core. The new Athlon is available in both 200MHz and 266MHz front-side bus (FSB) varieties, while the Duron is 200MHz FSB only. Official wholesale prices on the processors are $253 for the 1.4GHz Athlon and $122 for the 950MHz.

Military News

Global Hawk On Way Back To U.S.
The Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is due to return to the United States today after a six week deployment in Australia. Global Hawk, renamed Southern Cross 11 for its Australian trip, left Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Edinburgh near Adelaide at 1545 7 June (Adelaide time) for its flight to the United States.

Global Hawk undertook 11 missions during its deployment to Australia. RAAF and United States Air Force (USAF) crews operated the aircraft in a range of new scenarios including participation in the joint military exercise Tandem Thrust and surveillance along Australia's coastline.

Australian Global Hawk Deployment Commander, Wing Commander Brett Newell, said this was the first time the United States had operated the Global Hawk system jointly with another country.

Wing Commander Newell said "Global Hawk flew over eastern, northern and north western Australia and its maritime approaches covering a total of 1.54 million kilometres in over 250 hours of flight time.

Information gathered during the missions will allow the RAAF, Australia's Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), and the USAF to jointly assess the military utility of high altitude endurance UAVs to conduct maritime, littoral and land surveillance.

DSTO assisted in developing new maritime and littoral surveillance capabilities that allowed Global Hawk to search large areas more efficiently to detect and classify maritime targets. Global Hawk has exercised these new capabilities during its Australian missions, and has undertaken specific activities representative of surveillance operations that could be undertaken in a future mature system.

Global Hawk is scheduled to land at Edwards Air Force Base in California about 2330 on Thursday 7 June (California time).

Joint Strike Fighter Engine Agreement Signed
Officials from Pratt & Whitney (P&W) and GE Aircraft Engines (GEAE) today signed an agreement to work together on the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program, to assure that both companies' engines will be physically and functionally interchangeable across all three variants of the JSF aircraft.

Pratt &Whitney's JSF119 engine was selected by both JSF weapons system contractors, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, to power their competing demonstrator aircraft designs. The engine, a derivative of the F119 engine powering the F-22 Raptor, currently has accrued approximately 150 hours of flight test performance in all JSF candidate aircraft variants. GE's JSF F120 engine is a derivative of the F120 engine originally developed for the YF-22 and YF-23, and is being further developed to power the JSF aircraft in the future. It has been the plan of the U.S. Department of Defense to compete the P&W and GEAE engines starting in approximately 2011 during the production phase of the JSF Program.

The JSF Program Office's (JPO) acquisition strategy calls for interchangeability between the P&W and GEAE engines across all three JSF aircraft variants. The engines are required to be physically and functionally interchangeable. According to Maj. Gen. Mike Hough, JSF program director, "All JSF aircraft will be able to use either the P&W or GEAE engine."

A JPO/P&W/GEAE Engine Interchangeability Team has been established to integrate the management structure and technical processes necessary to assure implementation of the JPO's vision. This includes participation by GEAE on P&W-led integrated product teams for those propulsion system components that will be common to the JSF119 and JSF F120 engines. The maximization of these common components is a key element of JSF program affordability.

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